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When Amitabh Bachchan talks, you only lis­ten! As the su­per­star turns a year older, here’s 75 times his words made an im­pact and got us think­ing

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As su­per­star Amitabh Bachchan turns 75, we bring 75 of his most pop­u­lar quotes and di­a­logues that have left au­di­ences speech­less and made an im­pact over the years.

01I am not in the least elo­quent or flu­ent with lan­guages. My writ­ing on so­cial me­dia is quite pedes­trian. But even if it was near any ac­cept­abil­ity, I would not be in a po­si­tion to pen a script or a book. 02I’m

very for­tu­nate to have spent so much time in the in­dus­try and to have lived through sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of film-mak­ers, ac­tors and tech­ni­cians. There’s a huge vol­ume of ex­pe­ri­ence see­ing peo­ple change and see­ing con­tent change. 03I DON’T USE ANY TECH­NIQUES; I’M NOT TRAINED TO BE AN AC­TOR. I JUST EN­JOY WORK­ING IN FILMS.

04No one is per­fect, and crit­i­cism is al­ways wel­come and ex­pected. 05I don’t know how oth­ers think about me, but if I have to walk the streets, I will, and if I need to stand in a queue at the air­port, that’s OK. 06Per­fec­tion needs ef­fort to get it right. I need to re­hearse for it. Many oth­ers who are greatly more ef­fi­cient than me, do not. To each his craft! And I am no leg­end!. 07I

like to feel the but­ter­flies in the stom­ach, I like to go home and have a rest­less night and won­der how I’m go­ing to be able to ac­com­plish this feat, get jit­tery. That hunger and those but­ter­flies in the stom­ach are very es­sen­tial for all cre­ative peo­ple.

08It’s

a huge change from when I started in the 1960s, but what is re­ally im­pres­sive is that the num­ber of ladies on set, the women work­ing on set is a huge per­cent­age. There used to be no women. It was just the lead­ing lady’s mother, per­haps the hair­dresser and the makeup per­son. 09Every­body wants to live. But some­times the body just gives up. 10I GET UP IN THE MORN­ING, HAVE A JOB TO DO, GO THERE, COME HOME, BE WITH THE FAM­ILY, THAT’S IT. 11Our sto­ries are very so­cial-based, very hu­man-based. We are a very emo­tional na­tion. 12The body is an amaz­ing sys­tem. It’s a war zone, my body, and one which has been through a great deal. 13I some­times feel that I have been born to at­tract con­tro­versy. 14Ba­si­cally I am just an­other ac­tor who loves his work and this thing about age only ex­ists in the me­dia. 15I have never been a su­per­star and never be­lieved in it. 16Every­one must ac­cept that we will age and age is not al­ways flat­ter­ing. 17We must have song and dance in our lives; we’ve had it ever since the in­cep­tion of cinema in In­dia. 18The film in­dus­try is large enough and has many suc­cess­ful icons that have taken In­dian cinema to shores be­yond In­dia. I think that In­dian cinema it­self needs to be ap­plauded be­yond one in­di­vid­ual. 19I would like to be­lieve that I still am a shy per­son; I am very in­tro­verted. I have a prob­lem com­mu­ni­cat­ing. 20I had two surg­eries dur­ing the early part of 2012, and I was ad­vised to re­strict my work load. 21If

you rep­re­sent a fan­tasy for the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally go to the cinema, they grab that and go with it; there­fore, for the rest of their lives, they ac­tu­ally iden­tify you with a cer­tain think­ing — a cer­tain phi­los­o­phy. 22I ENDED UP IN PAR­LIA­MENT AND SOON DIS­COV­ERED THAT EMO­TION RE­ALLY DOESN’T HAVE ANY PLACE IN POL­I­TICS. IT’S A MUCH MORE IN­TRI­CATE AND COM­PLI­CATED GAME, AND I JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO PLAY IT. 23If the modes are chang­ing, one goes along with it, I guess. 24I

feel that par­tic­u­larly be­cause of lan­guage we are hand­i­capped in get­ting a large world au­di­ence. But Hindi cinema has the same in­gre­di­ents that ap­peal to the whole world. 25You

don’t get time to meet your peers such as Dhar­men­dra and Hema Malini very of­ten. Award func­tions or other events are the only places you meet them, un­less there is an emer­gency. Then we all come to­gether. 26I

re­ally felt good af­ter work­ing in a film like Piku, as many peo­ple could re­late to my char­ac­ter. I got let­ters from my fans telling me how my char­ac­ter re­sem­bles their grand­par­ents. 27I

was born in fame. I was al­ways recog­nised and known. Per­son­ally, I feel nor­mal about it. 28In­dian films are like our food or our sense of dress or our lan­guages: there’s a great va­ri­ety, and it changes ev­ery 100 miles, but there is some­thing in com­mon, a na­tional In­dian essence, that binds them all to­gether. 29I

think no ac­tor should be ever sat­is­fied be­cause there is al­ways some­thing new to do, some­thing fresh to get chal­lenged by. 30In­dia

as a film-mak­ing na­tion has gained recog­ni­tion, at last, at most im­por­tant Western and Far Eastern fo­rums. 31I

ask you, as a ci­ti­zen, is it a crime to go to the tem­ple? And if I am prop­a­gat­ing su­per­sti­tion by go­ing to the tem­ple, then the whole coun­try is prop­a­gat­ing su­per­sti­tion. 32I

felt that for 20 years, I was woo­ing the peo­ple of my coun­try and ask­ing them to like me as an ac­tor, and when they liked me as an ac­tor, I told them, ‘Now, you like my pol­i­tics.’ 33Peo­ple

ask me why it is that when I por­tray the ‘an­gry young man’ on screen, I re­ally look an­gry. They rea­son that it is due to some sup­pres­sion in my child­hood. But, it’s just that I can’t help it; it’s in my genes. 34I

don’t agree that I have a lot of con­fi­dence. 35 I feel a bur­den if I don’t write. 36Per­son­ally,

when a con­tro­versy erupts, we de­cide first whether it re­quires clar­i­fi­ca­tion and, sec­ondly, if it re­ceives notice from author­i­ties and the estab­lish­ment, we sub­mit re­sponses to their queries. 37Th­ese

are rare mo­ments in an ac­tor’s life, where you’re put in an en­vi­ron­ment which is so nat­u­ral, and you get nat­u­ral per­for­mances. 38’ What will peo­ple say?’ is a feel­ing ev­ery In­dian girl grows up with. 39My

mother came from a very af­flu­ent back­ground, very Western­ised, while my fa­ther was more Eastern. So I’ve had a very good blend of the East and the West. I guess this has been ex­tremely help­ful in mak­ing my ca­reer and the way I func­tion. 40I

think that it’s im­por­tant that ac­tors keep get­ting chal­lenged ev­ery day. For ev­ery cre­ative per­son, it’s a ter­ri­ble mo­ment when they say they have done all they want to do. 41Act­ing

is a pro­fes­sion con­nected to phys­i­cal­ity. Like sports. Ath­letes can’t per­form be­yond a cer­tain age. Look at Usain Bolt, at 30 he knows he can’t com­pete in the next Olympic Games, if he does – he won’t win. 42I DON’T THINK THAT EI­THER JAYA OR ME HAVE GONE OUT OF OUR WAY TO REC­OM­MEND HIM (AB­HISHEK BACHCHAN; SON) OR CAN­VAS FOR HIM. WHAT­EVER HE HAS GOT AND WHAT­EVER HE HAS DONE, HAS BEEN ON HIS OWN MERIT. 43I would rather be an aware ci­ti­zen, and if an op­por­tu­nity were to arise where I would have to make a state­ment, I would hap­pily do that. 44As a pro­fes­sional, I can­not af­ford to be com­pla­cent. 45FRANKLY

I’VE NEVER RE­ALLY SUBSCRIBED TO THESE AD­JEC­TIVES TAG­GING ME AS AN ‘ICON’, ‘SU­PER­STAR’, ETC. I’VE AL­WAYS THOUGHT OF MY­SELF AS AN AC­TOR DO­ING HIS JOB TO THE BEST OF HIS ABIL­ITY. 46We play many emo­tions in our ca­reers, emo­tions that in real life we would per­form just once. For ex­am­ple, my char­ac­ter has died in about 10 films, so you have to keep search­ing for dif­fer­ent ways to do it! 47There are many things that I feel I have missed out on. 48I

don’t have any­thing in par­tic­u­lar to achieve; I don’t want to go any par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion. I just want to take up the chal­lenges of life as we go along. 49Back

in time, there was no cel­lu­loid, no film, which was the most ex­pen­sive com­mod­ity of that time. We could not af­ford re­takes. But now, with ev­ery­thing dig­i­tal, you can shoot for hours and keep cor­rect­ing your­self. 50Yes,

ev­ery ven­ture is al­ways filled with ap­pre­hen­sions. But if we were to con­duct our­selves con­tin­u­ously oon that as­pect, then we would lose the most im­por­tant rea­son tto be in this pro­fes­sion: to ccha­l­lenge the art of and be part of what is com­monly known as our cre­ative in­stincts. 51There

are large num­bers of peo­ple in In­dia be­low the poverty line; there are large num­bers of peo­ple who lead a mea­gre ex­is­tence. They want to find a lit­tle es­cape from the hhard­ships of life and come and watch some­thing colour­ful and ex­cit­ing and mu­si­cal. In­dian cinema pro­vides that. 52I

think in the world of cre­ativ­ity there will al­ways be risk. What­ever you do. Be­cause cre­ativ­ity is some­thing that is veryv per­sonal, very in­di­vid­ual. I may think that I am do­ing some­thing great, you may not think that or the pub­lic out­side may not think that, and you have an opin­ion. 53I

FIND THAT TO­DAY’S GEN­ER­A­TION RE­LIES A LOT MORE ON ENGLISH. EVEN THE HINDI DI­A­LOGUES ARE GIVEN TO ME IN RO­MAN ENGLISH. I CAN’T READ THAT, I DON’T LIKE THAT. 54I don’t spend much time look­ing back at what hap­pened. I do re­mem­ber it, but I don’t see any pur­pose of want­ing to look back. 55Life is a blur when one is es­say­ing dif­fer­ent roles; it is so ful­fill­ing. 56I’d like to be­lieve that to­mor­row is an­other chal­lenge for me. I’m sure there is lots more for me to do, be­cause there is lots and lots of stuff still to be ex­plored. 57I am in­se­cure about to­mor­row. Will I get an­other job? Will it be ap­pre­ci­ated? I will pur­sue act­ing for as long as I have a face and body that is ac­cept­able to the peo­ple, but I still worry that if I don’t do bet­ter to­mor­row, it will all go away. 58Danc­ing is not some­thing I look for­ward to. It’s a pain for a 66-year-old man to shake his waist and dance. 59Hav­ing no work would be ter­ri­ble. 60I want the vi­brant en­ergy of the younger gen­er­a­tion of directors and ac­tors to rub off on me. 61I

did not re­sign from pol­i­tics be­cause of Bo­fors. I re­signed be­cause I do not know how to play petty pol­i­tics. I did not know back then and I don’t know now ei­ther. 62Creativ­ity

is not a 9 to 5 job, it comes from en­thu­si­asm. I en­joy be­ing alive, I look for a new strug­gle, a new ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery day. An artist has no right to say he’s sat­is­fied. 63I

still can­not be­lieve that peo­ple all over the world love me and Bol­ly­wood so much. 64I’ve

ac­cepted that I was a fail­ure in pol­i­tics. I was not qual­i­fied for the job. 65I

some­times lament the fact that I do not have the ben­e­fit of a com­plete and ail­ment-free body struc­ture. 66I

have the ut­most ad­mi­ra­tion, re­spect and praise for the younger gen­er­a­tion. They are all truly mag­nif­i­cent. I have been for­tu­nate to have worked with them and find their as­so­ci­a­tion, in­vig­o­rat­ing and a learn­ing for me. 67The se­lect group of peo­ple who do make re­al­is­tic cinema, who do make cinema per­haps a lit­tle more ac­cept­able to the Western au­di­ence, is a very small per­cent­age. 68I like to rate my­self as a per­former up­front, both in films as well as in tele­vi­sion. 69I’m very thank­ful to directors and film-mak­ers who con­sider me in their films, and I hope I’m able to do jus­tice to their films. 70Whether the work that I do shall suc­ceed or achieve crit­i­cal ac­claim is for the au­di­ence to de­cide. 71Very rarely have I had the op­por­tu­nity to say lines which I would have said even if I wasn’t work­ing in a film. 72My open­ing words to any­body I hire are, ‘I’m an ex­tremely vul­ner­a­ble per­son.’ 73PLEASE

EX­PLAIN TO ME WHAT BE­ING AN ICON IS. HOW DO YOU DE­FINE IT? I HAVEN’T BEEN GIVEN A SCRIPT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE DI­A­LOGUES OF AN ICON ARE. 74Ob­vi­ously,

you look for some­thing that is com­men­su­rate with your age. You know that you can’t be play­ing the young hero any­more, and you have to be rel­e­gated to some­thing smaller and some­thing el­derly, and you just try and do your best. 75I think, in any pro­fes­sion, what you fear most is not be­ing able to per­form, about not be­ing able to meet new chal­lenges. The fear of nonac­cep­tance, par­tic­u­larly if in cre­ative art. What hap­pens if the au­di­ences do not like you any­more!

PHOTO: SATISH BATE/HT

Amitabha Bachchanac­can withw wifewe Jayaaya Bachchanac c an

Amitabh with a new­born Ab­hishek Bachchan

PHOTOS: IN­STA­GRAM/AMITABHBACHCHAN

Amitabh re­ceiv­ing the Golden Ju­bilee Mu­sic tro­phy for Sholay (1975)

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