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Tracing Bachchan’s Bollywood journey

india Updated: Jan 04, 2009 01:40 IST
Purva Mehra
Purva Mehra
Hindustan Times
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For zealots of Indian cinema, the B in Bollywood could well stand for Bachchan (Amitabh). This perhaps explains why India’s art auction house of repute, Osian’s, is unabashed about publishing yet another biography of the actor.

“The difference is that we’ve introduced the subject so that the public falls in love once again on renewed terms of joy and respect,” said Neville Tuli, founder-chairman, Osian’s. “Amitabh Bachchan is one of those rare human beings who has truly received love and respect for over four decades with grace and humility; few can ever claim such distinctions let alone the status of a great actor-star.”

Bachchanalia: The Films and Memorabilia of Amitabh Bachchan is also the first tome to establish the identity of the Osian’s Publishing and Design House, conceived as a platform to compliment the Osian’s Centre of Archiving, Research and Development (CARD).

“Bhawana Somaaya approached us with a book she had written in 2001, which she requested we could transform using the vast archive and knowledge base at our disposal. We intended to inaugurate our launch with our archival collection book, The Passionate-Detachment, but that was a five-volume magnum opus. The name Bachchanalia best represents the unique merger of his iconic energy, with the neglected publicity material and memorabilia, all structured in a clear historical context,” said Tuli.

The biography highlights the actor’s productive and progressive four decades in the industry. And boasts of a unique design element that twists the image text relationship. “We have to acknowledge that he has set the pace and trends in showbiz. He is the sole survivor of his contemporaries, and that out of 100 plus years of cinema, 40 belong to him. This is why Hindi cinema cannot be separated from the Bachchan phenomena,” said Somaaya, who has authored another book on the megastar, The Legend.

The book launch will be accompanied by an exhibition featuring 700 plus actual publicity material and memorabilia from the Osian’s archive and library collection which constitutes Bachchanalia. More cinematic marvels are also expected from this nascent Publishing House.

“One key publication is Filmistan-Hindustan: A History of Modern India as told by Bombay Cinema by Virchand Dharamsey and Kaushik Bhowmick. However, we started with Bachchan because if one great actor was to represent Indian cinema in the last 40 years, who would you choose?” asks Tuli.