FOR A moment, when Abhishek Bachchan stepped forward to receive the Yash Bharti award here on Monday, he managed to overshadow his illustrious father.
It was purely by accident though.
For when, he came up to receive the award, junior B stood right in front of Big B, who was sitting, thereby making the latter invisible to the audience for a while.
But, the spell didn’t last long. For as soon as the Big B was visible again, junior B took a backseat.
When Abhishek waved to the crowd, they cheered. But when Amitabh waved, they went berserk. When the star son stood up to deliver his acceptance speech, they appreciated. But, when AB spoke in his famous baritone, they went crazy. “Me and Jaya are baratis for Abhishek is wearing the sehra today,” the legend said. After a pregnant pause, having sensed the mood of his audience, he added, “Yeh woh sehra nahi hain jo aap samajh rahe hain!”
Deft touches like these were enough to bowl the audience who already were eating out of his hands. When Udai Pratap Singh, who had taught Mulayam Singh Yadav, recited a couplet in Yadav’s praise, “Kya fakhra hain aaj us ped ke saaye main khada hoon, jis ped se kal maine kaha tha main bada hoon” a spontaneous “wah wah” touched AB’s lips.
Such was the man’s charisma that even people like Gopal Das Neeraj, a contemporary of AB’s equally illustrious father Harivansh Rai, couldn’t resist reciting couplets in his praise.
However, used to such adulation, the man carried himself with grace right through. He stood up in respect when those elder to him were invited to speak.
And when a song was sung in his praise, the millennium star thanked the singers before adding, “Thanks for the lovely song. I do not deserve such praise though.” When lensmen urged AB to hug his son so that they could click them together, AB happily obliged.
All through, Abhishek played second fiddle to his father. But, then the junior B too conducted himself gracefully. Soon after receiving the award, he touched the feet of his parents, the Chief Minister and Amar Singh. And when some of his female fans insisted that he pose with them, he did. When the CM announced the setting up of an award in the Hindi Sansthan in the name of his grandfather, Abhishek’s eyes lit up.
His proud father looked adoringly at him apparently in the hope that one day the junior B too would be able to emerge from his towering shadow and carve a niche for himself.
He seems to be on course.