Monday, June 1, 2009

A True Hero, if There Ever Was One.

I have never really been an over-the-top fan of Mr. Bachchan although I have always admired him for the person he is. There is a yawning difference, I believe. To be a fan would be to appreciate his acting skills, which, I believe, are just fine by-the-way. But not as great as Aamir Khan, maybe, or Johnny Depp, or Woody Allen, or Irrfan Khan – people who are complete naturals in front of the camera, people with whom acting just flows. So side-stepping on the acting front and coming to what is most important, I am suddenly completely enamoured by the suave gentleman’s humane qualities, his immense capability for hard-work, his thoughts and his life-style.

When he lashed out at Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the entire world criticized him. People called him annoying, arrogant, even sour! Like somebody of the likes of Mr. Bachchan would ever be sour at somebody else’s success. Here’s what he had to say:

 

"if SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations."

 

I think his views on the over-hyped movie were spot on! All Boyle did was pick up every little defect that India has – from slums, prostitution, traffic congestions, poverty to begging, corruption, misappropriation, robbing tourists and kidnapping – put it through the grinder and serve it to the world on a platter. There have been umpteen movies that have worked on these issues before but at least they have worked on one issue at a time! The underflowing current throughout the movie suggested that that is all India is – a nest of dirt and grime where people behave like animals and thrive on bribes. And really, would the movie have created such a furor had it been directed by an Indian director? Did a movie like Rang De Basanti not deserve a chance when it is one of the best-edited movies of the recent past, with a near-perfect storyline, great acting and music, and the perfect amounts of fun, romance and action? Or maybe a movie like Taare Zameen Par that had an underlying message loud and screaming?

Coming back to Mr. Bachchan, the reason I am writing about him today is because he portrayed another example of his love and loyalty to the country by declining to accept an honorary doctorate from an Australian University following an attack on an Indian student in Australia. His reply was a polite but firm, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. He claims that his conscience does not allow him to accept a decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity on our fellow countrymen.

One would think that reaching the pinnacle of success is, in itself, a job and a half, but staying put is what is harder, is what separates success from reigning success, mediocrity from greatness. And that is what this great man has constantly proved over time, and keeps doing still.

13 comments:

Baljinder Singh said...

Frankly speaking, earlier I was standing opposite to Mr. Bachchan's remarks over slumdog Millionaire. But it was when my thoughts were aligned with the crowd. With The time when I paid my conscious to it, I found he is saying exactly what I think. Even most of the Indian educated class think the same but they are keep flowing with the crowd. I am happy that you have put it at blog and made your thinking public...
Hats of to u...

Mohit said...

any thoughts on this:
http://www.filmyfair.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/image3.png

Baljinder Singh said...

An ambiguous pic....
People do have power thats why Danny Boyle has got away with it. If such movie wud hv been made on some developed country then one could have seen the difference in the perception of Oscar team.

Golden Vulture said...

Danny Boyle is a white .. so to speak in their words :).. so rang de basanti cant stand a chance :)...

moreover .. media may have criticized what AB said .. but yes there was certainly a time when the whole country prayed for his wellness :).. he is still the fav one .. and people love him .. which jonny depp can never achieve he he :D


yooo India Rocks :)

Adisha said...

Everything you've written is so true ... He's a wonderful person that I admire in more ways than one. Even the fact that they jumped right back up after ABCL's downfall...

Outstanding Willpower displayed.

Cheers,
adisha

Appy said...

@ Baljinder - Thanks for the appreciation. Yes, people do tend to go with the flow and anybody who does not is criticised, looked down upon. But sometimes thinking outside the box helps.

Appy said...

@ Mohit - He voted and was proud of it! :D
There was a message there, really!

J said...

I totally hear what you have to say but for the sake of argument, let me add....

Yes, such "dirty underbellies" exist even in developed nations....but then there are a lot of movies which show them as well...so, why all this furore if someone showed it in Indian context...and srsly I find the entire argument that Boyle is a firang too ridiculous...it shows a mere bias against the director more than the content of the movie itself.....And just to remind you, this "true hero" succumbed to public pressure and took back his statement after a few days....
As for denying the Australian honour, again I feel we (and especially he) are over-reacting....Isolated cases here and there (I know there have been a dozen or so) do not mean that we brand an entire nation as racist. Its not that the Australian government is promoting such activities, it is on the other hand looking into it with great concern. Ironically, a lot of foreigners are treated badly in our 'Incredible' India.....rapes, murders, thefts....he incidentally is a Padma bhushan recepient.

I totally agree that his step would make Australian govt. take action all the more promptly, but it has also blown up the issue making the students feel all the more vulnerable.....
In short, the Amitabh Bachchans of ours are as hungry for limelight as our politicians....

Baljinder Singh said...

Well...I ll just say don't moderate ur views in respect of any personality...m not here admiring Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, instead I hv acknowledged his opinion although everyone has his own perception n I really respect that...
so keep giving ur thoughts...

Apoorv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Apoorv said...

Amitabh Bachchan is, indeed, incredibly overshadowed by Amitabh Bachchan. An adequately talented actor at best, the guy's out there today, 40 years in the industry, living the life of a 'legend' not cos of the Sholays or the Zanjeers, there were/are better actors with bigger hits. He's survived cos he's gutsy, resilient and crafty.

And is there really a logic in judging him as an attention seeking mass-manipulator, when it's us, who play the central role in the mass-manipulation phenomenon by following/analysing/autopsy-ing his rather (deliberately) vague and open-to-interpretation opinions.

These guys, the Bachchans and the Khans, they dread not being THE ones. They live off it. It's an absolute must for their sanity, and would you really blame them for having such a desperate mindset, being a public figure most of their adult life? It consumes you, much like narcotics. The manner in which they go fishing for it, ranges in sophistication from the Rakhi Sawant stuff to the dignified honorary doctrate refusals.

Ask me, and I'd much rather read the honest and genuinely evoked wackier-than-thee stuff over a carefully worded public statement.

As for Slumdog, guys, Danny Boyle is a professional film maker. He does it for a living. He's hired by and accountable to production houses that are in the business to make a buck. He comes across a book,
he see's potential and he uses his directing skills to make something that sells!

That's all there is to it, really.

Sure he'll focus on slums, prostitution, traffic congestions, corruption, misappropriation (whatever that means), poverty, begging, corruption and what not!

He'll do that! It's good for him, it's good for his god damn movie, it's good for his oscar prospects, it's fantastic stuff to move the western crowds with, it's good to roll the box office!

Would you really blame him for not caring about how the Indians feel, while going about his treatment of a HOLLYWOOD project?

Us feeling threatened by the image the movie portrays of India is called for, but should we really care about the likes who only a take movie to form an image of a far away country.

Chimu said...

yeah, i agree he has set a good example for others

Archana said...

Yeahhh Big B. :) I think he's awesome. And not in a crazy fan kind of way, but as in I respect the man. I definitely agree on his viewpoint with Slumdog. I walked out of the theatre feeling sick to my stomach. Like you said, it was a total overload on the senses & a complete exploitation of poverty to catch the eyes of critics, etc.

And yes, there is 'devastation' in all countries. Some just hide it "better".