Come 2011, and Amitabh Bachchan plans to tour the country with recitals of his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poems. This literary tour will take place in between shooting for his films and TV shows, writing his blogs that are inching close to the 1,000 mark and recording his VOGs (voice blogs). From his literary oeuvre, Madushala has earlier been recorded on an audio CD, first by Manna Dey with compositions by Jaidev and later by Bachchan himself in his famous baritone on his father’s tunes.
In September 2009, Madhushala reached a non-English speaking Germany, nearly 75 years after its release in India. The book is written in a bilingual form and includes the original Hindi stanzas next to German translation. The 100-page volume also includes information on the poet-author, some thoughts about his work, eight etchings, a glossary and a foreword from Amitabh Bachchan.In August 2007, the superstar had rendered his father’s verses at a literary and cultural festival called Bachchan Sandhya, organised by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at the Lincoln Center in New York. The event was to celebrate 60 years of India’s independence, and Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s 101st anniversary. It included a dance drama titled Jeevan by Kathak dancer-choreographer, Vaswati Mishra, which was inspired by the poet-littérateur’s works.
“The Lincoln Center is a prestigious venue, the Philharmonic Orchestra plays there, and to be asked to recite Hindi poetry there was an unprecedented honour. The hall was packed to capacity. In fact, several people had to be turned back. Those who made it inside, listened to Madhushala with rapt attention,” Bachchan reminisces.
Earlier this year, in June, the actor was invited to Paris for a similar recital at the Theatre de Champs Elysee. “Seventy-five per cent of the audience were French and it was amazing to see them enjoy Hindi poetry. We had a translation available on ticker tape,” informs Bachchan.
This year, in March, Bachchan had over two days, recited his father’s famous poems such as Andhere Ka Deepak, Jugnu and Prateeksha, at the amphitheatre in Pune’s Amonora Park Town. He is now looking forward to taking these verses to other parts of the country.