The one and only Big B
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The one and only Big B

His towering screen presence puts him above all, says Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2005 13:45 IST

What does call a man on whom reams have been written and whose popularity crosses all age barriers, communities and even nations?

A demi-god for sure.

Watching the Big B in every conceivable role in the past few years makes his fans wonder- and with good reason too- why he chose to stick to a certain kind of performance for years together, never allowing his potential as an actor to be explored save perhaps in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Alaap, Namak Haraam Bemisaal, Jurmana and Anand, Tinu Anand's Main Azad Hoon and as a murderer in Jyoti Swaroop-directed Parwana.

His illness has led to prayers being offered by the young and the old alike for his speedy recovery. Stories abound in every city- small or big - how VCDs of many of his films are disappearing from the shelves as fans across the length and breadth of country, eager to refresh their memories, lap up his movies. That does not surprise us. After all, he is the greatest icon that we have ever had.

Bachchan has always risen to the occasion – be it in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black as Debraj Sahai, Subhash Nagare in Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar, as the law-abiding DCP Dashrath Singh or as Vidhyadhar Patwardhan in Mahesh Manrekar’s Viruddh, who is forced to search for lost faith in human values and society after the death of his only child. The challenges have been many, and all have been met with dexterous ease.

In his newest avatar as Suryavir Singh in Apurva Lakhia'sEk Ajnabee, Bachchan attempts to bring peace in a multi-millionaire family and finds solace in the smile of a little girl when he is assigned the job of protecting her in an alien city. As he stands alone fighting the kidnappers, his resilience and lone battle against the evil helps him exhibit his silent wrath and his ineffective challenge to fight them off. In their pre-planned attempt he is felled by their bullets and falls critically injured. The helpless parents hope that their prayers will somehow be answered. With tenacity and wisdom, he pieces together random clues and penetrates to the very heart of the conspiracy. Bloodied but unbowed, his resolve remains unchanged and he is determined to fight till the end.

The story has nothing new to offer, neither is the treatment any spectacularly different from other run of the mill thrillers. What makes the film watchable is Big B’s controlled emotional histrionics as also his flamboyance pitted against the bicep-flexing Arjun Rampal. And does he steal the thunder? You bet. His towering screen presence and urbane chutzpah is head and shoulders above all the characters in the film.

A must see for all

First Published: Dec 18, 2005 19:00 IST