Sunday, September 14, 2008


I am stunned, I am speechless and I am totally and completely wonderstruck. I am also deeply troubled and distressed at the same time.The Delhi serial blasts, inspite of weeks and months of warning by intelligence agencies trigger off the last two sentiments and an out an out exceptional performance by that living legend of Indian film industry, Amitabh Bachchan inspires the previous three emotions. It was my day off and I was in the throes of a deeply intellectual and artistic high as I sat watching Rituparno Ghosh's much talked about English film, THE LAST LEAR in one of NCR's plush cineplexes when a friend informed me of the serial blasts that had rocked the national capital. The news was tremendously unsettling, not shocking though, for everyone knew that Delhi was next on target after Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The security agencies had already warned of the notorious Indian Mujahideen's Operation BAD(Bangalore ,Ahmedabad and Delhi) and seeing and knowing the inability of the state machinery to prevent such attacks so far, one feared secretly all this while for Delhi. I wanted to get out of the hall immediately to get the latest brief on the tragedy, but something stopped me from doing so. Was it resilience, stoicism or worse still, plain indifference towards a happening, which has fast become a rule than an exception in this country? Or was it anger and a sense of acute helplessness at the nation being hit again that I was stubbornly trying not to acknowledge? I tried to escape the unease and starkness of the harsh reality of the moment by deciding to carry on with the show. It wasn't long before my troubled thought process began taking refuge in the warmth of another awe inspiring performance by the genius called Amitabh Bachchan..I was now all focus and concentration on Bachchan's exceptional portrayal of the insanely obsessisve and idiosyncratic mannerism of the theatre loving and cinema despising protagonist of the film, Harish Mishra, who as an aging stage actor showed
little respect or tolerance for anyone not acquainted with the literary genius of William Shakespeare. And as I watched with absolute wonder that extremely theatrical moment in the film when Amitabh's character breaks into a Prospero soliloquy from theShakespearean play " The Tempest", I couldn't but stop myself from marvelling at the cinematic genius of the master. There was a stubbornness in his tone and tenor, a resolve not to falter and always be perfect, the best.This incidentally is the same streak of stubbornness that the actor has displayed in his personal life as well by making a conscious and adamant effort to not give in to the temptation of falsely holding on to his superhero onscreen persona in real life. And one can't but empathise and sympathise with the man's need and fierce attempt to lead a normal, ordinary life, outside the arc lights. .After having been constantly and unsparingly dogged and courted by controversy, he now refuses to retaliate or react. He apologises for no fault of his, maintains stoic silence over the meanest of provocations and inspite of the mental trauma and pressure of constant public, political and media censure, consistently and constantly delivers one powerhouse performance after another. His devotion to his art is undying and his mastery over his craft is unquestionable. He lives, breathes and embodies cinema . And that is perhaps where all that strength and resolve to live a common man's life comes from. Tell me how many superstars have the courage to bear criticism for not standing up and giving in to the tomfooleries of a wannabe politician hell bent on using the famous name to further his political interests ? No one but Amitabh Bachchan . And this refusal to stand up against provocation is not because of cowardice. It is a desperate attempt by a man to separate reel from real, to keep the actor and the person apart.He doesn't believe in false proclamations of strength. And that is not to say that he is meek. It is just that like any other citizen of this country, very much like you and me, he seems to have acquired a certain indifference and resilience to circumstantial adversity. Life has given him everything, name, acclaim, money and stupendous success. What it has denied him is the freedom of being an ordinary man.And that is what he desperately and adamantly wants to and attempts to hold on to.His detractors may deny him the liberation of living an ordinary life, but Amitabh Bachchan just like his character of Harish Mishra in THE LAST LEAR is an exceptional man, insanely obsessive and possessive of his conviction, belief and vision. And no amount of provocation or pressurising would deter him from that.
After two hours of the show, I was back once againto the naked reality of death and devastation that had hit the capital.And even as news channels splashed pictures of the blast sites and the victims of the tragedy, there was business as usual on the roads.Was it resilience, stoicism, helplessness or plain indifference, the troubling question invaded my mind again. Only that there was no Last Lear to take refuge in this time.


Eve said...

There is indifference towards everything in this world today. esp for human lives and sadly even in our personal lives. It seems that life has lost it's meaning. Nice and an honest post.

Mukesh hissariya said...

जय माता दी,आपका ब्लॉग देखकर अच्छा लगा .एक बात समझ नही सका की आप एंकर हिन्दी की हो और ब्लॉग इंग्लिश में लीख रंही हैं .ये मेरा पर्सनल व्यू हैं बुरा मत मनेअगा .मुकेश कुमार हिस्सरिया ,पटना 9835093446

Prabuddha said...

Its sad not coz ur post is honest but coz why the hell we keep on fighting with the inner voice and find some reason or the other which in one word is- CONVENIENT. We all do it and increasingly so these days. I was reporting from the hospital that fateful day and found myself a mixed bag of so many emotions. A post on that day on my blog:

Unknown said...

hey mam is it u
m big fan of urs
mam i hav i advice 4 u
that plz keep ur hair short dont grew them long
plz get that short bob cut again if u can
hope u never mind it and follow my advice bcz its a fan request and advice