|An Amitabh Bachchan fanboy picks his 19 favourite BIG B film moments, and hopes that his hero will read it!|
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s costume drama was quite a slow trudge through the sands but the scene where AB kills Jimmy Shergill was quite a moment. Jimmy is watching Parinda on the big projector screen all by himself when Bachchan’s Eklavya enters and switches the lights off. And then India’s most famous baritone almost suffocates Jimmy to death in the dark before the dagger finds its target.
This is as much Rajesh Khanna’s scene as it is Bachchan’s. Yes, that moment when Dr Bhaskar Banerjee wants to wake his friend from the dead but all that plays is Anand’s recorded voice: “Babumoshai...” AB’s intensity — from his body language to his eyes to the pain in his voice — as he says “Baatein karo mujhse” still rings true so many decades later.
In a film about guns and dacoits, laughter and tears, a man sitting and playing his harmonica became one of the most serene moments in cinema. As the lonely white figure of Jaya Bachchan lurks in the background and puts out the lights one by one, AB feels her presence and stares at her. Gooseflesh. All over again.
Billed as the angry young man so early that AB the comic actor and AB the romantic hero were hardly used. But it was Yash Chopra himself, who had contributed to the hot-blooded persona in Deewaar, who directed Bachchan in some unforgettable love stories. The timeless title song by Khayyam — composed back in 1950 for a Chetan Anand film — is so beautifully lip-synced by AB that you don’t look at either Raakhee in his arms or Kashmir behind them.
There are so many of them. The appearance scene of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in the police station is, of course, ceetee-worthy. But nothing quite beats AB running through fire in the climax to get to Danny. He blinks once, he blinks twice and then just sprints his way through balls of fire before launching himself at Kancha Cheena. The electronic background music by French composer Jean Michel Jarre raised the moment to another league altogether.
Another film punctuated with brilliant moments of Bachchan magic. Over the top but out of the park. Every scene. The one image which keeps coming back is from the last scene where Teacher in an advanced stage of Alzheimer’s starts dancing with Michelle in the hospital. In those few slow, laboured moves, the emotional catharsis reaches its crescendo and the heart reaches the throat.
He plays with the old man throughout the film and then lets him know how he has destroyed him in instalments. Taking revenge on the man who wronged his Ma, Bachchan lets it rip in the scene where he reveals his real identity. “Aur aap, Mr RK Gupta, mere najayaz baap.... Aaj aapke paas aapki saari daulat sahi, sab kuch sahi, lekin maine aap se zyaada gareeb aaj tak nahin dekha.”
Yes, yes that tear-jerking temple scene where he begs for his mother’s life is legendary and the debates with the brother oft-quoted but the cool quotient is highest in the scene in the warehouse where Vijay waits for the gundas. “Tum log mujhe wahaan dhoondh rahe thhe aur main tumhara yahaan intezaar kar raha tha.” Every hero ever seen has tried this moment in some form but no one has come remotely close. No one ever will.
Amitabh Bachchan as a cop has always been like an invincible superhero but what Rajkumar Santoshi did was make him a little human, bringing in an irresistible blend of super stardom and superior acting. That scene where AB chases Ajay Devgn’s bad man and suddenly has an asthma attack bears testimony to the range of the craft that this legend possesses. You don’t want your man down yet you can’t stop raving about his performance. Our top cop on screen. Forever.
The film that turned it around for AB had quite a few crackling moments but that scene in the police station where he kicks the chair before Pran’s Sher Khan can sit down actually gave birth to the Vijay we came to know, love and cheer for. “Jab tak baithne ko naa kahaa jaaye sharafat se khade raho...” Still packs a wallop!
THE LAST LEAR
Director Rituparno Ghosh himself was quite dismissive about his own film later but when AB stands up and acts out Shakespeare, it’s a fanboy’s delight. His own living room turns into a stage and Harry delivers Prospero’s speech from The Tempest with the kind of fervour and fury that the Bard would have been proud of. Memories of all that English theatre on the Calcutta stage must have come back in a hurry.
Ram Gopal Varma’s official take on The Godfather had a lot of Don Corleone moments for AB but the scene where his elder son (Kay Kay Menon) comes to kill him in the night is something else. When he looks at the gun lying on the floor, the horror on his face mixed with the pain of realisation, is, Bachchan at his sublime best. More often that not it’s that stare which has done the job for him. And for us.
Parampara. Pratishtha. Anushashan. And he was back. As you sat back and watched this Aditya Chopra film you could sniff a comeback from early on. As Narayan Shankar stood in the prayer hall in Gurukul and gave the inspiring speech, Amitabh Bachchan got his groove back. And even Raj Aryan couldn’t hold a violin to that.
Amitabh Bachchan has never looked as sexy as he did in this Rakeysh Mehra directorial debut. Especially in that one song Aaja gufaaon mein aa. The sexy Raveena Tandon post a popcorn-only diet, careening all around him and AB in a black cape moving around like an evil magician. And who can ever forget that last shot of the song — Bachchan sitting on an Aztec throne and tilting his head ever so slightly and air-doodling with two fingers. Orgasm alert!
THE GREAT GATSBY
Maybe he was never interested in Hollywood or maybe they never thought he would be interested but when the tryst finally happened, it was such a proud moment. Baz Luhrmann made it happen casting AB as Meyer Wolfsheim, Gatsby’s Jewish friend and mentor. With that trimmed white beard, thick handlebar moustache and a sexy wave of white in the hair, Big B chewed up the DiCaprios and the Maguires in the one scene he got.
SATTE PE SATTA
When you type Satte Pe Satta on YouTube, “Babu entry” shows up as a search option. That’s how popular the scene is where Amjad Khan’s much-hyped tool of destruction emerges from behind the prison walls. And lo and behold! he looks like the film’s hero Ravi, just that his eyes are coloured different and he looks evil from every angle. A fanboy’s delight to have his man play both the good and the bad. And how!
The son is dead but life has to go on. So the old father goes to the neighbourhood park and tries to join the laughter club but ends up crying alone. A brief but unforgettable moment of what an incredible actor Bachchan has always been under the garb of superstardom.
Double AB. Double impact. And of all his double roles, this father-and-son duo on two sides of the law packed the most powerful punch. Especially that scene in the graveyard where the father seeking revenge for the dead mother explains his perspective with the your-6-is-my-9 philosophy on That Palm. A star and an actor... from every perspective.
The chair swivels, he fires two bullets, smokes a cigarette, pours himself a drink and delivers dialogues like no other. “Cheers gentlemen!” AB as Don was so stylish, writers Salim-Javed put two appearance scenes in the movie. One at the start and this one five minutes into the film. “Mujhe iske jootein achhe nahin lage.” Play it again, sweetheart!
Text: Pratim D. Gupta
Watched Happy New Year and wondered where @juniorbachchan gets his funny bone from? t2 picks nine comic acts OF @srbachchan
“Oooooh.... corolla!” After spotlighting his serious side in Anand, Abhimaan and Namak Haraam, Hrishikesh Mukherjee brought Bachchan the comic actor to the fore in this 1975 film in which his Sukumar Sinha, a professor of English, is blindsided by Vasudha (Jaya Bachchan) when she requests him to help her out with her botany lessons.
We love: Sukumar trying to pass off “corolla” (a flower part) as “karela” (bitter gourd), followed by that awkward hyena-like laugh.
AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY
A bruised and battered Bachchan’s drunk moment in front of the mirror — “Kitni baar bola hai daaru mat pee, mat pee, mat pee,” Anthony berates his reflection — is a classic, copied in many films and by many leading men since. The drunk scene in Kasme Vaade — an inebriated Bachchan “talking” to a cockroach — comes close.
We love: When Anthony reaches out for a first-aid box, scolds the man in the mirror for “moving”, dabs the tincture-coated cotton wool on the mirror, blows on it to ease the burn, and puts a Band-Aid in place.
KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA
‘Sexy Sam’ in this Karan Johar film is probably the most colourful character Bachchan has ever played — and we just don’t mean the red jacket. Almost every moment — save the heart-wrenching scenes at the end — that featured Bachchan were KANK’s biggest winners, but we pick that one scene in which Rani Mukerji’s Maya turns up blindfolded and in leather gear, whip in hand to seduce husband Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan), but the one who opens the door is pa-in-law Sam!
We love: When Maya lashes her whip and calls out “Where are you? Where are you?” to Rishi, it is Sam who taps her on her shoulder and says: “We are ALL here.” Yes, the room is full of a bunch of gaping men!
“I can talk English... I can walk English... I can laugh English because English is a very ‘phunny’ language”. Bachchan’s Arjun Singh, an honest village bumpkin, brought the house down in this English-vinglish moment from the Prakash Mehra film.
We love: Arjun Singh’s breathless cricket commentary — about Vijay Hazare and Vijay Merchant and Wasim Raja and Wasim Bari. Yes, all in English. The scorecard? Ranjeet stumped Arjun bowled Amitabh!
SATTE PE SATTA
“Daaru peene se liver kharab ho jata hai... aadat nahin hai”. Yet another drunk scene from the Sharaabi man, but one that deserves a mention. Badman Ranjit (Amjad Khan) plies Ravi (Bachchan) with alcohol so that he can replace him with his lookalike, Babu. The scene has Ranjit trying to get information about his family out of Ravi, but a drunk Ravi keeps harping on the dangerous connection between daaru and liver.
We love: When Ravi tells Ranjit, “Tumko kiss karne ka mann karta hai” and plants a wet one on his cheek!
Special mention: Bachchan’s drunk scene in Hum — “Iss duniye mein do tarah ke keedey hote hain....”
BADE MIYAN CHOTE MIYAN
Bachchan and Govinda in a David Dhawan film spells comedy gold. We pick that scene in which Chote (Govinda) pretends to be hit by a car. As he lies “injured” on the road, Bade (Bachchan) rushes to his rescue, blackmailing the passengers — led by Paresh Rawal’s Zorawar Bhai — into first giving up cash, then their watches, their clothes and then their car — as compensation.
We love: When Chote, writhing in pain, tells Bade that he has a headache and needs Zorawar’s hat and Bade promptly plucks it off ‘the victim’s’ head.
Despite the grim demeanour, Bachchan’s Jai in this Ramesh Sippy cult classic had a wry sense of humour that surfaced every now and then. Nowhere better than in the “Mausi” scene where Jai, sent by pal Veeru (Dharmendra) to talk marriage with Basanti’s (Hema Malini) mausi, lays bare all of Veeru’s vices, but sugar-coats it in a way that makes for one of the most hilarious comic scenes ever in Bollywood.
We love: When Jai paints Veeru as a gambler, drunk and thug, but maintains that he is a “seedha-saadha nek ladka”. Top line: “Bas mausi, khaandaan ka pata chalte hi aapko khabar kar denge!”
His brooding vigilante by night may be better remembered, but we also loved Bachchan’s comic act by day. The man was top-notch as the paan-chewing, bribe-taking cop, particularly in that one scene at the police station where he takes a bribe from a goon, but gives his subordinates the impression that he isn’t a man to tolerate dishonesty.
We love: The moment when Mukhtar the goon tells Bachchan’s Vijay: “Aapke yahaan hamara aana jaana laga rehta hai” and Vijay jumps up to draw the curtains over the “most-wanted” board!
This Balki film — about finding love late in life — is peppered with memorable comic moments — Buddhadev’s (Bachchan) cheeky conversations with his mom (Zohra Sehgal) and the one in the loo where he tells Paresh Rawal’s Omprakash that he wants to marry his daughter, deserve special mention — but we pick the moment in a London park when Buddhadev reveals his age “6-4, 64” to Nina’s (Tabu) “3-4, 34”.
We love: Nina tells Buddhadev to run and touch a tree and come back to the bench. He does her bidding and, breathless, asks why she made him do this. She quips: “Dekhna chahti thi ki haath pakadne ke aagey kuch karne ki stamina hai ki nahin tum mein!” The expression on his bearded face: priceless.
Add a 10th AB comic moment to the list at firstname.lastname@example.org
With the man parked in Calcutta for Piku, team tolly picks its Bachchan favourites