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Last Updated 17.10.2019 | 9:47 PM IST
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Reflections: Creative bankruptcy or a brilliant idea?

Amitabh Bachchan“>

Promos of Bbuddah…Hoga Terra Baap have created frenzy. Arriving practically out of nowhere, the film has suddenly turned out to be one of the hottest of the season. Frankly, speaking, I am intrigued. I want to check out what it is all about. I know for sure that it would be one fun affair but somewhere at the back of mind, the thought that looms large is – ‘Will it be a gimmicky affair?’ Of course there are two school of thoughts around it.

The first one is that it is of course going to be a gimmicky affair. After all that’s the entire idea behind putting together this film which relies on Amitabh Bachchan of yore. Yeah, a brilliant idea this one. But then the second thought here is – ‘Does the film actually mark an end to whatever creativity that Bollywood could have hoped for in a disastrous year so far that has seen just one straight forward hit (Yamla Pagla Deewana)?’ May be. Or may not. Let’s explore in this week’s ‘Reflections’.

‘Duniya Mein Do Kisam Ke Kide Hote Hai’ (Hum)

When Amitabh Bachchan mouthed this iconic dialogue two decades back, even he wouldn’t have imagined the metaphorical relevance it would gain over a period of time. No wonder, there are ‘do kisam ke kide’ today.

One is the kind that would forever have a reason to complain. ‘Yeh theek nahi hai, woh theek nahi hai’. ‘Saare ideas khatam ho chuke hain’, ‘This is just a ploy to resurrect Big B’s career’, ‘The film is just the way to reinstate Bachchan’s lost glory’, ‘This is an ego massage of the highest degree’, etc. etc.

And then there is the other ‘kida’, the quintessential Bollywood fan, who would find numerous reasons to cheer about in an enterprise like this. ‘Sab sahi hai boss’, ‘Kya faadu idea hai, how come no one thought of it?’, ‘This is what I wanted to see of Big B’, ‘The film is just the way I would be able to see on screen what I lost out on’, ‘This is Bachchan’s gift of the highest degree to us’, etc. etc.

‘Vijay Deenanath Chauhan….Poora Naam’ (Agneepath)

Amitabh Bachchan

By naming Bachchan as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in the film, the makers have won more than just the half the battle here. The most popular name ever that Big B donned in the classic which was, surprisingly, a box office failure two decades back, Vijay is what a Bollywood lover has sorely missed in last decade at the least. The marketing ploy of bringing this name back on screen and that too for an older Bachchan (who is playing his age) is yet another brilliant stroke.

It may sound plain, simple and easy but I am sure it wouldn’t have been easy. That’s because when you name your character as someone who is so mighty popular, expectations too rise to the highest degree. It doesn’t seem like a plain and sudden imagination that has come into play here; I am rest assured that it would have been a well thought of decision. And Big B would have been a party to that.

‘Rishte Mein Toh Hum Tumhare Baap Lagte Hai’ (Shahenshah)

Lost glory? Resurrection? Ego massage? Such phrases not just seem silly, they also sound childish. Ok, so it has been quite some time since Big B actually had a box office winner to his name. However, the glory is certainly not lost, what with Paa pretty much proving that Big B is truly the ‘paa’ of Bollywood. ‘Rishte Mein To Hum Tumhare Baap Lagte Hai’ is pretty much the statement that he made then when his brilliant act made many from the current times stand up and notice what they had missed while being a part of the Facebook and Blackberry generation. So yes, I am all geared up to pick up that bucket of popcorn and listen carefully to that hissing sound even as Big B makes his arrival in the Shahenshah costume. I was enthralled 23 years back as a kid, I am happy to relive the times as an adult.

‘Main Aaj Bhi Pheke Hue Paise Nahi Uthata’ (Deewar)

Amitabh Bachchan

My two ‘paise’ on this? If Bachchan is actually standing up all over again to have a film made around his work from the past, it is welcome gift that one should be lapping up with both hands rather than challenging the very thought behind that. He isn’t someone who had to look at someone doing a ‘favour’ and make a film around him. In fact the very fact that he is producing the film himself is a testimony of that. ‘What an idea Sirjee’, his son could well have exclaimed when he commissioned this film and now it is audience’s turn to say that as well, provided it sees the film with an open mind. In fact I would go to the extent of saying that a film like this could possibly have been reserved as his swan song. It’s different matter though that Aarakshan would be following soon after.

Demons of RGV Ki Aag

There is another school of thought that has started floating around as well. And this one too carries an accusation of ‘creative bankruptcy’. The logic here is – ‘Bachchan tried to relive the past by stepping into the shoes of Gabbar for RGV Ki Aag. The experiment failed and now it is professional Hara Kiri’ to attempt at Bbuddah. Well, my point here is – ‘Lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice’.

Yes, RGV Ki Aag did go horribly wrong and that’s something that would forever play in Bachchan’s mind as well. Now that’s something to be taken positively because he knows that while he took Aag way too seriously, Bbuddah is the kind of film which actually takes it way too lightly, so much so that one wonders whether the film would be a cross between being a parody or a tribute. Though one does truly hope that it strikes the right balance, it would be too early to start building speculations of any kind before the film hits the screens. As for the early indications, let the fact be stated that while Aag came with everything that was possibly negative, the situation so far is far more positive for Bbuddah.

Amitabh Bachchan

Creativity or the lack of it – The final word

Is Bbuddha a risk? Oh definitely yes, and that’s because the makers are actually putting the entire past glory of Bachchan at stake. Now when a man on the street is cognisant about this, it can be rest assured that the Bachchan family would certainly be aware about that as well. It is one thing to actually crack a brilliant idea, come up with a smart promotional and marketing campaign, create posters that read his famous dialogues and then design a promo that presents to audience what Bachchan of yore was. Great, so Stage One wins Ten out of Ten here.

However, if someone stands up and claims that this is creative bankruptcy then it indeed leads to a counter argument. Let’s admit it, the game is certainly bigger than just the 60 seconds promo that has been unveiled so far. The challenge is to put together Stage Two i.e. a two hour long film that actually justifies the end result of Stage One. And this is where creativity of the highest degree actually comes into play.

· How to present to audience what they have perhaps already seen before and is yet enticing enough to make him whistle and clap incessantly?

· How to bring on the kind of masala affair that justifies the presence of Big B and yet boasts of a universal appeal that would bring in audience in heaps?

· How to actually come up with something that is a cross between parody and tribute but still turns out to be a classy enough affair for the Bachchan fans and followers to feel satiated?

It isn’t easy by any means. And now it has to be seen whether the makers too took the entire difficulty part seriously in their endeavour to create something that been never done before.

Stage One has been successful. It is the Stage Two that will give all the answers.

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