The different shades of Big B, Amitabh Bachchan turns 80

“Thobda dekha hai kabhi aaine mein?” This was the answer Amitabh Bachchan got from one of the hundreds of producers he tried to talk to in Mumbai more than 50 years ago. It’s interesting that this thobda is still shining on the big screen, putting his much younger successors, who are superstars, almost in the position of also-rans.

The late filmmaker Mrinal Sen once said that he met this tall, skinny young man with a golden honey voice at the home of filmmaker and writer K.A. Abbas when Abbas was looking for young actors for Saat Hindustani (1969), in which Bachchan had a small part as one of the seven Hindustanis.

Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan
Photo: Collected

Today, this biggest star is being honored for all he has done by having a retrospective of his 11 films shown all over India. This is being done by PVR Cinemas, a huge chain of movie theaters with locations all over the subcontinent. But PVR isn’t the only one.

The Film Heritage Foundation, which Shivraj Singh Dungarpur started in 2014, also helped make this one-of-a-kind tribute to Bachchan. This foundation is a non-profit group that works to support the conservation, preservation, and restoration of moving images and to create cross-disciplinary programs that teach people about the language of cinema. The FIAF, as it is commonly known, has made Amitabh Bachchan its ambassador and given him the 2021 FIAF award in a virtual ceremony that was attended by Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan.

Don, Kaala Patthar, Kaalia, Kabhi Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Namak Halaal, Abhimaan, Deewar, Mili, Satte Pe Satta, and Chupke Chupke are among the movies that will be shown.

An Exhibition of Bachchan’s rare and Unseen Photographs, Posters, and Memorabilia

Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan
Photo: Collected

Along with the festival, the Film Heritage Foundation has set up an exhibition that shows important moments and parts of the superstar’s career through ephemera, such as rare and never-before-seen photographs, artworks, and other memorabilia. Film historian and author S.M.M. Ausaja did a lot of research and planning for this show. He had previously put on shows for Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th and 75th birthdays.

The film festival, which was called “Bachchan: Back to the Beginning,” took place in 17 cities and 22 theaters across the country over four days. Diungarpur says, “We expect people to go back to the movies, which could change the common but wrong belief that film heritage and classic movies should only be shown at film festivals and retrospectives.” “Bachchan: Back to the Beginning” is a people’s festival that will bring fans of all ages and backgrounds back to theaters all over the country to see the biggest superstar back on the big screen, the way these movies were meant to be seen. We also hope that this will encourage producers and people who own the rights to films to keep them safe and fix them up.

Happy Birthday Amitabh Bachchan
Photo: Collected

Along with showings of Bachchan’s movies, a poster exhibition of the star’s most well-known movies has been set up. This is thanks to S.M.M Ausaja, a well-known film poster collector who already has more than 20,000 posters in his collection. “When I was 11 years old, I was obsessed with Amitabh Bachchan. I had a home in Lucknow. He was interested in everything about the Big B, not just his movies. He liked his clothes, the way he walked and talked, and even his hairstyle. I would try to walk, dress, and style my hair like him as much as my young age would let me. Then, one day, something happened that made me question what my life was all about. Slowly, I became interested in movie posters, and for many years, I’ve been collecting not only posters of Bachchan but also anything related to Indian movies in general, he says.

In 2018, Ausaja put together a one-of-a-kind show about Amitabh Bachchan’s life at the St. Regis in Mumbai. Bachchan himself opened the exhibition. Ausaja was a consultant on the prestigious Oral History Project about Amitabh Bachchan, which was done by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences and the Film Heritage Foundation in 2019. He has also put together a full coffee table book called The Bachchans. It follows the careers of five famous people from the same family through rare photos and a lot of research. The exhibition will be held in Mumbai at PVR, Juhu.

A Journey to Remember

Bachchan’s career has had many milestones, low points, and high points that can teach young men and women what hard work, determination, focus, and discipline can do over a 50-year period. He said that his career was shaped by “luck,” but it was really shaped by his ability to break out of one image after another, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes when he fell. In the 1970s, a famous actor rose to prominence who defined, shaped, and set the rules for the characters he played. He’s still alive and kicking.

But the organizers have announced that a gate pass will cost Rs 400.

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