Excited? In fact I was really-really excited when I got a thought of doing a feature on the 40 years journey of Amitabh Bachchan as he turns 68 on 11th October. ‘Wow’, I said to myself, ‘For anyone, it is a lifetime opportunity to be doing something truly substantial on the professional life of an actor who doesn’t have any parallel in the industry for last 40 years’.
And just as it would happened to those dozens of actors who would have jumped with joy when given an opportunity to share centre stage with Amitabh Bachchan, I too found myself pretty much frozen. Pen down the film journey? That too of someone like Amitabh Bachchan? THE Amitabh Bachchan?
Nervous? Puzzled? Confused? Worried? – No, I thought for long but I wasn’t feeling any one of these emotions. Also, it wasn’t even the sum of all of these. And now I know why actors just go ahead and make a sweet and simple statement when asked to comment on their working with Amitabh Bachchan – ‘Oh, I was so excited yet nervous about working with Mr. Bachchan. But then he assured me enough so that I could deliver my best.’
Wish he was there with me as well to assure me when I started penning down this feature. After all the fact remains that books have been written on the life and the times of Amitabh Bachchan. He has been a subject for many a thesis writer. And now it was my turn to do something substantial for audience to know about how the living legend has grown with every passing decade and reaffirmed his place in the industry.
Of course there are dozens of anecdotes to be shared. But then hasn’t everything, just about everything about him, already been well documented, preserved and savoured? If we have been reading the dozen odd major books that have been written on him, we know about majority of these anecdotes. ‘So what’s new’, I said to myself. When you have a subject like Amitabh Bachchan, one is bound to end up wearing a fan‘s hat as well and end up going on a few tangents as well.
This is where Google came in handy. I thought, let me browse through the wide world of web and figure out something that I was myself perhaps unaware of. And this is how I came across a startling fact. A fact that in addition to dozen odd guest/special appearances that he has done for known films like Kunwara Baap, Choti Si Baat, Guddi, Chala Murari Hero Banane, Golmaal, Chashme Baddoor, Professar Ki Padosan, Soorma Bhopali, Agni Vasrha, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and many more, there are quite a
few more that have went totally unnoticed.
In fact some of the guest appearances belong to the kind that even went un-credited. Unfortunately, DVDs of most of the films are not available on stands that could have aided in cross checking the validity of the information I gathered. Perhaps the man himself would be able to shed light on whether the snippets below belonging to ‘Did you know’ category really existed and then lost in the pages of history? Is this all true or perhaps just folk fare?
Let’s browse through them and await more inputs from film historians or the man on the Big Seat – Big B!
- Before Akshay Kumar and John Abraham, it was Amitabh Bachchan who had acted in Garam Masala. No, not under the baton of Priyadarshan but a director called Aspi Irani. The film was released in 1972 and Amitabh Bachchan had played the role of Robert Taylor in it. To think about it, this was a film where he was un-credited.
- He had also done a guest appearance in a film called Jaban (1972) which was a zero star cast affair. This time around there was some relief for Bachchan though since he also had Dharmendra and Shatrughan Sinha for company, all of whom were billed as special appearance.
- To add to the trivia, there was also a film titled Bada Kabootar (1973) which was directed by Deven Verma and had featured the actor in a guest appearance.
- Many years down the line, he made a special appearance as a ‘Qawalli’ singer in Charandas (1977).
- It wasn’t as if he went un-credited or made minor appearances only during his initial struggle period in Bollywood. Even when he had managed superstar status for himself, he was ever so willing to help out friends in need. This is why he was willing to go un-credited for his role of a Punjabi truck driver in Amjad Khan starrer Commander (1981).
- In the same year (1981), he also made a special appearance for Mehar Mittal starrer Walayati Babu.
- A few years down the line, he also played a minor role in Sujit Kumar’s Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaar (1984), a film which is hardly remembered by any today.
- Last but certainly not the least, there was a film called Bombay Talkie (1970) where he played the role of a mourner in a funeral? Well, if this is not a bad news by itself, here is some more. His scene from the film was deleted and hence he remained un-credited. Shocked? Well, I too was!