DAY 265 Amitabh Bachchan Blog
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DAY 265 Amitabh Bachchan Blog

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paris-train-21 A couple of hours, a few damp smelling minutes of those under the English Channel, self mobile operated pictures, early morning French countryside and PARIS..!!

The Salon du Cinema team meets me at the entrance to Paris-Nord station and after an exchange of greetings and flowers and video and stills, out into the wet and cold Paris streets, chased by a huge group of women, who scream and shout and clap, making you wonder what it is that I may have done to receive such an enthusiastic welcome in a country that hardly knows who I am. But, Fouad my driver and sincere personal guide during all my recent visits to the city, gathers me quickly into his car and drives off. They are migrants or asylum seekers from nearby or distant country and are begging he informs me. My ego brought into place I am saddened by their plight. Conditions the world over are so similar. Perceptions differ, but the reality of life and existence, unchanged.

On blog, comments for the film ‘SlumDog Millionaire’ and the anger by some on its contents, prompt me to say the above. If SM projects India as Third World dirty under belly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky under belly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations. Its just that the SM idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not.

The commercial escapist world of Indian Cinema had vociferously battled for years , on the attention paid and the adulation given to the legendary Satyajit Ray at all the prestigious Film Festivals of the West, and not a word of appreciation for the entertaining mass oriented box office block busters that were being churned out from Mumbai. The argument. Ray portrayed reality. The other escapism, fantasy and incredulous posturing. Unimpressive for Cannes and Berlin and Venice. But look how rapidly all that is changing. Retrospectives in Paris and New York. Dedicated TV channels running Hindi cinema on prime timings. Premiers at Leiscester Square, the home of all Hollywood royalty, thronged by hundreds on the street in cold biting weather. Affable recognition at most corners of the universe… And a dear friend from Los Angeles wires in that Hollywood is abuzz with India and the phenomenal talent that exists there. We’re talking cinema still !

DAY 264, response 156, Pooja Srivastava Bannerjee, writes a long exhaustive capital led piece, dripping with sarcasm, undiluted cynicism, pride and arrogance on how their group of fans who visited the outdoor shooting of Abhishek in Orcha wilderness in Madhya Pradesh were denied a ’smile’ and a ‘wave’ from him ! They, who were the wives of Army personnel; personnel that laid down their lives for the nation. They, who bought tickets to our films so we could become who we are. They, that were the contributor to our riches and wealth. How dare, they, who have made us and who if they did not patronize us where we would be, be treated in this manner from Abhishek who, their commander informed was not the typical star but a well behaved individual.

I have given my response to said lady. Apologized on his behalf. Given a background to the lives of artistes and actors on set. Tried to explain the possible circumstances of the situation and left her with a pertinent query.

My endeavor in treating said incident with fairness and a semblance of democratic understanding, coerces me to put the matter up for the extended family to react, reject, advise, comment on it. Would you ?? Thank you.

‘Tis late now ! ‘Tis not so sweet as it was before..

Good Night and Namaskar

Amitabh Bachchan