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The many lives of Amitabh Bachchan (Comment)

Posted by bollywoodcinemagallery on April 3, 2010

n the film “Dev” Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of an upright police officer who is horrified by the collusion between ruling politicians and a section of the police during a communal outbreak. The film provides a mirror image of the scene in Gujarat at the time of the 2002 riots. While it was being made, Amitabh might not have thought that he would become the state’s brand ambassador after a few years.
It is possible that he sees no connection between the two. After all, film stars play many roles, not all of which reflect their views and personalities. Problems can arise, however, as they have now for Amitabh, when a matinee idol is perceived as playing two roles — one in the tinsel world and the other in real life.
What is more, if the two performances tend to clash — for instance, if a hero on the silver screen turns out to be a villain in real life — they can have a jarring effect on his fans.
It is worth noting that such crossing of lines has been a feature of Amitabh’s life. A friend of the Nehru-Gandhi family — he gave an impromptu singing performance during Sanjay Gandhi’s wedding — Amitabh had even joined politics for a while before finding the profession to be a ‘cesspool’.
Inevitably, his proximity to India’s foremost political dynasty also meant that the Bachchan family would be involved in one of the major scandals which affected the Nehru-Gandhis — the Bofors deal.
It is not surprising that Amitabh’s less than pleasant experiences at the time made him distance himself from politics for some time and focus on doing what he does best, acting. But the glamour of the film world was evidently not enough for a larger-than-personality like him. Notwithstanding his unflattering perception of politics, he has never totally shunned politicians, presumably on the basis of the adage: hate the sin, not the sinner.


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