Trade Tutor: Five decades and counting, Amitabh Bachchan continues to be a leading hero and a box office draw
Trade Tutor Vishek Chauhan discusses the phenomenon called Amitabh Bachchan and how he continues to be a leading man in movies
Jhund released this Friday in Cinemas to unanimous praise across the board. Praises were heaped at its leading man Amitabh Bachchan that he has given a terrific performance. He continues to impress us at the age of 79 and after being in the business for 53 years. What makes this feat even more impressive is the fact that he is still a leading man at the age of 79. He can still sell a film on his nearly 80 year shoulders. Producers and financiers still feel Mr. Bachchan is a viable bet at the box office and can draw audiences inside theatres.
Mr. Bachchan made his debut as an actor in Saat Hindustani in 1969 but his career didn’t really take off till Zanjeer. Released in May 1973, Zanjeer established Mr. Bachchan as the angry young man and India got one of its greatest stars. The year 1975 was the year he shifted gears and moved towards superstardom. That year Deewar and Sholay released and both these films firmly established him. Then onwards he became a darling of the audiences and people lapped up his every outing and he did not disappoint.
Mr. Bachchan has been the leading man for five decades and continues to be a sought after leading man even as he approaches 80. His just released Jhund has him in the lead and his upcoming Runway 34 has him in a parallel role with Ajay Devgn. Big directors still find him worthy of delivering and most importantly roles are still written for Mr. Bachchan.
He continues to deliver hits theatrically as a leading man. His last hit was Badla (Rs 87 cr) that did terrific numbers at the box-office. In 2018, he played Rishi Kapoor’s father in 102 Not Out (Rs 51 cr) and that film did good numbers. In 2018, he had an equally important role alongside Aamir Khan in Thugs of Hindostan. Then in 2016, there was Pink (Rs 65 cr), which was a master class in acting by the maestro.
He has made himself relevant and saleable for the last 50 years and is still a leading man is a testament to his popularity across the audience base. The kind of acceptance of Mr Bachchan has received as an actor is unprecedented. To have the ability to make three generations of a family your fan is next to impossible.
We live in an age of hyper consumption. We have 200 TV channels, 15+ OTT platforms, Social Media and thousands of youtube channels. Even the theatrical space has become super competitive as films from across the globe compete for the audiences dollar. Stars are daily created and daily forgotten but he has stood tall for the last 50 years is a testament to only his talent but his dedication and sheer passion for his craft. He has reached a stage where he has proved himself so many times but to still dig deep within and bring out a trait or nuance that the audience hasn’t seen before is simply magical.
I have been a fan since childhood and have watched some of his films so many times that can recite the dialogues. His growth as an actor has been phenomenal and he continues to surprise us even today. The other aspect we fans love is the way Mr Bachchan conducts himself so gracefully off screen and his terrific command over Hindi and English. This makes him so aspirational and really increases the stickiness of his brand.
As I watched Jhund couldn’t help but marvel at the fact that this man that I have been watching since I was a kid managed to surprise me again. The gamut of emotions he takes you through in Jhund is simply remarkable. I left the theatre in awe of him and thought to myself, maybe the best is still to come.