Happy Birthday Mr. Bachchan…

Wishing Mr. Amitabh Bachchan a glorious happy 69th birthday. At this time, I would like to quote Shakespeare in trying to sum up the tiger traits that I more than often see in the immaculate Actor. A tiger ( or a Lion as I refer to him most times ) who remains modest and humble, and yet there remains those flashes of the Angry Young man when provoked. I also share a poem ” Amitabha” that I had written sometime back.In the last 42 years of the Actor’s career, many stars have burned out into the nadirs of their own kismet, while Mr. Bachchan continues to shine, 42 years on…

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there ’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood.
King Henry V Quote Act iii. Scene 1.

Amitabha….

Boundless light, eternal flame
…
Where is your source ?
Where do you begin?
Raging the heart’s desire is your name..

Blazing, burning all that sin
,
Braving gales of dust and storms …

Settling at times, leaping tempestuously..
Infinite, with no shape or form

Warming the bare,
Scorching passionately
..
Inferno, may you always burn

While love patiently waits its turn..

Happy birthday…

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66 Responses to “Happy Birthday Mr. Bachchan…”

  1. Aishwarya Says:

    Happy Birthday Amitji!

    Beautiful poem, Sharmila. Love the pic!

    The blog is perfect!

  2. Believe Me, this would be the best way to celebrate BigB’s Birthday….Grately written Sharmila ji….Thank you for this wonderful birthday wishes for him..

  3. Lily D'Penha-Frankfurt-Germany Says:

    Kudos to you Shamz for yet another fantastic anrticle, You are a brain girl. Keep the good work going. Did you post this beautiful poem on the blog? Please do, if you haven’t already. Let’s meet in Bombay for his 70th birthday next year, what say?

  4. Lily D'Penha-Frankfurt-Germany Says:

    Oops..I meant article obviously.

  5. This is cool.

    Need a brand new theme for this one.

    How about The Amitabh Bachchan, I imagine I know… ?

    Hmmm.. no… may be not.. most of what I imagine I know doesn’t conform to the rules of idol worship… so I’ll keep that to myself…

    There was a time when I wanted to know as much as I could about everything so that I could form opinions.

    Now I am sure its neither necessary to know nor have an opinion.

  6. Okay.

    First a few cautionary bullets:

    1. These entries are spontaneous and not drafted before submission. I always type directly into this text box here.

    2. Do not be disappointed if there is no reference to Hindi films or Amitabh Bachchan’s acting prowess.

    3. I have no reason to believe that what I write is true and authentic.

    4. It is only stuff that has accumulated over the years and occupied significant space in my memory. I am not good at house keeping.

    5. Read it only for pleasure. I urge you please do not use it as reference material. It is not researched.

    6. Opinions, if expressed by mistake, are purely mine and not intended to make AB seem better than what he is.

    Fine, now that that is clear, let me begin in a new window…

    • Milind says I should write in first person. Okay. This guy is going to get me trouble one day. He loves to live on the edge.

      No problem. So do I.

  7. The Amitabh Bachchan I Imagine I know

    August 8, 1942.

    The All India Congress Commitee meeting was held at what is now famously called the ‘August Kranti Maidan’. Its a walking distance from Nana Chowk at Tardeo in the heart of Mumbai. The streets of Mumbai were charged that day and overflowing with national sentiments.

    The leaders of the congress were smart enough to assess the weak state of the British rule.

    The world war was nearing its last phase. Europe was lost, first to the Nazi and then to Stalin. Suez Canal was cut off. All the trade routes were blocked. Shipments from Asia were commercially unviable. Besides, the british coffers were drained of any investment value. The empire was in a dire state.

    The time was perfect. At the AICC meeting in Mumbai that day Gandhi unleashed his mantra for the independence movement. “Do or Die” “Karo ya Maro”

    Since, the last mutiny of 1857, the british crown had introduced radical reforms in governance. A whole class of Indians were educated in clerical professions, and british law to represent the local population in courts.

    Indian traders and merchants had been patronised and empowered to streamline the economy.

    The Maharajahs, Nawabs and Princes indulged in philanthropy, sponsoring schools, colleges and public services.

    Gandhi’s call fired their imaginations. All of them joined the movement finding a rightful place for themselves in the history of a new country.

    Somewhere in Allahabad, a Hindi teacher, who had translated the works of English poets for teaching Indian students in Hindi, was hoping that this movement would not fizzle out like the Salt Satyagrah some years back. Gandhi had this queer style of withdrawing movements when they became violent.

    Even if the college closed and his income stopped, he could rough it out for a while. His only concern was the health of his wife who was pregnant. He had to tread cautiously.

    Gandhi and the Indian National Congress could not always be trusted to deliver results. Most congressmen were actually silent admirers of the british ethos.

    August 9, 1942. Mumbai erupted. Gandhi and a whole lot of anti-government crusaders were arrested. The news spread across the region right upto the borders of Afghanistan. The nation came to a stand still.

    For the first time in a hundred years of freedom struggle, the entire country realized that the moment of reckoning was here. The brits realized it perhaps more clearly than the Indians did. This was the end game for the empire’s occupation of Asia.

    October 11, 1942.

    Mumbai was ravaged by a hurricane. 40,000 people died in the worst storm of the season that ripped the coast along the Arabian Sea.

    In a small Anglo-Indian clinic in Allahabad, a son was born to a poet who taught English poems in hindi to Indian students.

    (To be conitinued…)

  8. The Amitabh Bachchan I imagine I know

    For the next five years, till the day of Independence, while the common man was engaged in different forms of civil disobedience, a small coterie of residual intellectuals of the colonial era, went into a huddle in Anand Bhavan, Nehru’s residence in Allahabad and Trimurti Bhavan, his house in Delhi.

    There were two classes among them regardless of their occupations. Those who were educated in UK and those who were home grown sons of the soil.

    The building contractor’s lobby and barristers were among the most influential, mainly because most of the Kings and Princes remained in their domains and did not quite realize the power centers budding in Allahabad and Delhi. Industrialists like Ghanshyamdas Birla and Tata had their own places already along with the rich parsis from Mumbai and Gujarat.

    For instance, the contractor who built majority of the government structures in Delhi got his son to become the first ambassador to UK. He later retired and became the editor of the Times of India. We know him as Khushwant Singh.

    Our poet, who was close to the Nehru family in Allahabad and also had a house in central Delhi, where he had access to Nehru’s house there, for some strange reason, missed the boat.

    He was probably not to keen on representing the people. He had little or no reason to appreciate the deep roots of casteism and ritualism that prevailed in the society. His reformist fervor remained on paper in his poetry.

    In those days, there were three types of schools and colleges in India.

    One that were designed for the less affluent sections who could not meet the high profile of the public schools affiliated to their parent institutions in England. But they could still afford local christian mission schools that were run by the diocese or methodists. The poorest sections trained in basic skills in government municipal schools.

    The poet admitted his son to a resident public school run by a protestant mission in Nainital, and later to a rich private college in Delhi.

    There are a few circumstantial conditions that need to be mentioned in perspective at this point. In 1947, India had the same territorial expanse as we see today if you don’t count Tibet. But the population was just around 400 million as compared to 1.2 billion today who occupy the same space. Also, over 95% of them were engaged in farming. Pagan. The only strangers in town were those who spoke English.

    The irony is that the Constitution, Laws and Administration was in English. It still is, with trashy translations in local dialects. So, the ‘learned’ people had their places secured in the goverment offices.

    The poet hoped to see his son successful some day. The definition of success gets a bit vague in this period. Becoming an ICS (Todays IAS) officer was every father’s dream for his sons.

    Another feature was, the wave of nationalism was so strong, anyone who gave the impression that he was working for profits was a ‘looter’ by definition.

    So the Birla’s set-up chemical factories, Tata’s started mining in Bihar and Bengal, Chowgules started mining in Goa and so on, all in the interest of the nation. The word ‘Profit’ was anathema.

    A whole generation of children and citizens were caught in the tsunami of nationalism.

    Children of upper middle class families, those who knew how to wear a three piece suit and speak fluent English were offered the privilege to work with the elite.

    It broke the hearts of some of them, specially those who were disciplined by patriotic parents, to find that the brits were replaced by a set of local pretenders and snobs.

    But they could not bring themselves to disappoint their parents. They knew this was not the India that they parents imagined.

    They hoped to break free from this new nuisance if they could. Some did. Some did not.

    Our poet’s son did. He found a field that was scorned by the gentiles – the field of cinema.

    His childhood, spent in the presence of his father’s passion for mixed literature, synched with the creativity that cinema offered.

    However, no cultured parent in his right mind appreciated his child joining the entertainment industry. It was reserved for the poor and the rootless.

    “Joker ka kaam bhi koi kaam hai?”

    As the son was soon to discover, his type of reformist literature had no market. Pure socialism was low budget, the producers themselves were starving to death. He struggled.

    (To be continued…)

    • Oops.. Khushwant Singh was ediotr of the Illustrated Weekly and Hindustan Times, not TOI – the paper. The weekly was a TOI publication. I would send letters to the editor and keep the cuttings in a scrap book. I have cut Khushwant’s singh face on that page so many times I can never forget the smug bearded caricature.

    • Intriguing as always.

  9. I am sorry I have to can this theme for the moment.. going out for a midnight beach party with friends… the Kojagiri full moon is smiling over a shimmering ocean… I can see the beach from my roof top… already dotted with a small romantic crowd and the beach patrol with roving lights scanning the waves….

    The birthday is over and I couldn’t even begin my imaginary portrait of Amitabh Bachchan…

    Well.. some things are just not ordained… some other time… if the occassion calls… and time permits

    Good Night.. Shubh Ratri….

  10. Hi sharmila,
    Lovely poem.
    Gorgeous pic!
    Su.

  11. Last entry from this PC. I’m returning this one after submitting this comment and moving into my office in the Corporate HQ. There is another station there but too restricted.

    There are some very strict rules in the HQ. Internet facilities must be used strictly for company matters. Law is law even for son-in-law.

    Cool. I’ll find some other way. Perhaps get my HP Wi-Fi Tablet to the office. Howzzat? See, there’s always a way, if you know what you want. 🙂

    • Aishwarya Says:

      We are company. We matter. Use the internet facilities strictly, for company matters. Samjhe ke nahi?

      Stay connected.

      🙂

      • Yes, Doctor. I’ll submit your prescription to the IT Manager.

        He is almost sure that I need some kind of therapy. I think this should remove all his doubts.

        BTW, have you noticed, this the third consecutive time that I have abandoned a theme half way in this space. Something is yet to fire since I came back from the sabbatical…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Yes. I noticed the hat-trick. What’s up? Whatever it is, don’t let it hold your words back…let it flow…

        And when you submit the prescription, please throw in the bill as well. That should take care of any future phone bills…:P

      • Aishwarya Says:

        *a teeny-tiny fraction of any future phone bills…

        🙂

      • Well, not to worry at the moment. Nothing and no one is working today though every one is around..

        The central AC system broke down this morning. The IT servers in the control room have blown a fuse. God’s in his heaven and all is well with world.

        The weekend begins tomorrow after lunch. That gives enough time for the techies to get their act together.

        About the phone bills… errrmm… I’m not sure how to get around that. I don’t want to get into legal tangles. Voice over internet is categorically banned here. I know many who use an IP address mask. I can do it from my laptop. But its unethical and unlawful.

        I will go with what the law permits. It can’t last long. The technology is way too advanced for stone-age commandments. They’ll give up sooner than later.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Yeah…and I don’t do voice over internet…hmmm…well, that’s that then…

        I like that…’legal tangles’…nice… Who’s the legal advisor? Rapunzel?

        Just kidding. Hope the AC is fixed and the weekend is cool and relaxed.

        Tc.

      • The weekend will be cool and relaxed on the home front.

        The HVAC in the office was not working all day. So every one was out in the open walking around cubicles and generally having longish coffee breaks.

        Luckily its not been warm today. On the contrary, quite cloudy and a few scattered showers.

      • Rapunzel sounds like Lucifer’s sister. Must google that before ogling.

        No, the company lawyer is not a woman. He is a balding bengali who could make Pritish Nandy proud of his coverage.

        His name is Chatterjee but he is sober, sensitive and silent – as any father of four daughters is. He is not leading a life. Life is leading him everywhere.

      • A catch 22. Suppose you spot a Rapunzel during a longish coffee break, ogling and tangling would be a no-no because you need googling to make sure it’s not Sir Lucifer’s baby sister, which you cannot because internet facilities can be used only for company matters!:)

        From unexpected showers to a non-functioning A/C, its usually life that is leading us…but that elelment of surprise is always fun…

        How was the beach party?

      • *element

      • I wouldn’t catch even 1… 22 is not ogling… it’d be mind boggling…

        cooking..back in a moment…

        I mean cooking dinner… brinjal, baingan… these guys here call it eggplant… I wonder why… I have never heard of an honest hen laying purple eggs…

      • Back…

        The beach party was wonderful… there was a faint lining of clouds where the deep navy blue water merged with the night sky…

        I didn’t realize then that they were leading a large rally of rain clouds… they rolled over Muscat today and showered on Mumbai…

      • Aishwarya Says:

        The hens that were made honest by their roosters lay white eggs. The other hens lay baingans.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        It is so hot here, I am blabbering nonsense. Not that I don’t otherwise, the heat is just a convenient excuse.
        Hope it rains here too…damn hot…off to bed…
        Good Night…

      • Good Night… its a rather dark clouded night here… but I guess one should feel safer… too many stars of any kind can make one feel insignificant…

      • the sun is out here!

      • Aish,

        Oops.. I missed that gem about blabbering… I believe the difference between youth and old age is what you said after the blabbering part… When it’s damn hot, the young go to bed… the old go to the terrace and stare at stars…

        🙂

      • Reader,

        All end up seeing stars their own way… The terrace is good.

        “Yaa garmeeyon ki raat jo purwaiyaan chale
        thhande safed chhadaro pe jaage der tak
        taaron ko dekhte rahe chhat par pade huye…”

      • In the huge expanse, even the Sun looks insignificant, leave alone the earthly beings that we label stars…

      • Sharmila, Aish,

        Metaphorical Suns… could be sons as far as I know… this is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s language… You are beginning to read between my lines… Hmm…

        Okay, let me keep this interesting… I’ll switch over to Victor Hugo’s style for a change on the next page.. lets see if you get that one… 😛

    • Yes, always a way, one way or the other..

      • The laptop on wireless modem is safer than the company net. Too many routers in my office. It’s found that 82% of all frauds are done by the staff/employees. (To me that means 18% are done by the shareholders! But I’ll lose my job if I say that.)

        Every single key stroke is recorded by the backup servers. I am better off on my own modem without having to be politically correct all the time.

        Not that I am not usually even otherwise, but there are some moments in a day, when one wants to free of onerous behavioural regulations.

        I could have adopted my mother-in-law if I wanted to be a battery operated soldier.

  12. Dear Sharmila,

    Very well written poem! The picture is too good ; his eyes are just awesome!!

    Good Luck for more poems on AB,

    Best Regards,
    Vidya S.

  13. The IT Manager in my office is a jolly good fellow… something like this…

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Lol…keep a ‘pisthol’ handy…kya pata kab kaam aaye…

      • ‘pistawl?… humaari jayl mein pistawl?.. yaaani bagaaawat… khooon ki nadiyaan… ha haa…’

        Asrani researched and perfected Adolf Hitler’s style of saying ‘ha haa…’ for this role…

        AB’s marching orders at the end are out of this world!… “P’raide.. stryte tuhrn… leyft… rite… leyft… rite”

      • I loved this part. Asrani was a riot. BTW, Zee international showed 11 days of AB’s movies. It was great fun.

      • BTW, if by chance AB had got the role of Gabbar Singh that Amjad Khan did eventually, he would have done it the way he says his line at 0810 on the timeline in the link.

        “Angrezon ke zamaane ke jailor, aur itni ghabraahat? Tch, tch, tch…”

        Amjad Khan ofcourse did it better, changed the accent of the dialogues. “Bahut yaraana lagta hai, aiyn? Deykho cchamiyya…”

      • “Bas do-chaar din mein hi jailor aur uske jaasooson ko…”

        “Dijkiyaaooon dijkiyaaoon!”, AB at 5:50 on the timeline is mindblowing…

        =

        Asrani’s expressions are priceless when he shrinks himself down to size for one qaidi and then stretches himself up to full height for AB, still not quite reaching anywhere near!

        =

        Each actor, every dialogue is perfect…also the hot rugged ranges where it has been shot.

      • This particular cameo was one of Asrani’s finest ever.

        Note, he never gets that last step right as he comes to a halt with his troopers behind him.

        Watch it a hundred times, we know he is going to miss it and still its funny every time. Absolutely brilliant!

        Amitabh Bachchan’s on Asrani, in a film glossy:

        “Asrani is the most spontaneous actor I have ever seen!”

        Asrani produced and directed a movie titled, ‘Chala Murari hero banne’. He starred in it as the protagonist. I saw that movie 5-6 times in the theater. He was simply amazing.

  14. This is clip is from Asrani’s best movie. I coudn’t get over it for a long time. The song is sung by Kishore Kumar and composed by RD Burman.

    The story is simple. A junior artist in films struggles his way to the glamorous big league, and suddenly finds himself separated from his loved ones. Eventually, he gives up the stardom and the grease paint, and returns to his base.

    I wasn’t able to understand the film at first. But kept going back till I got the idea.

  15. i know my comments are late..but truly sharmila, an amazing blog ! The pic is amazing. I think it actually captures the true Amitji.

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