April 18, 2014

Amitabh Bachchan could once have been India's PM! Will Namo make him India's next President?

Last Friday, I saw what some people are calling Bhoothnath Returns: The Election Special! Whatever you call it, this Bhoothnath has grossed an unbelievable Rs.18 crore in the first three days at the box office! Unbelievable, because it was a small budget film with no heroine or young hero; and to top it all, the film was good, but not really a masala entertainer! Well, that’s the power of the stellar Big B at 72! What a man nonpareil! Having made a film with him – The Last Lear, which went on to win the National Award – many beautiful memories of sublime moments spent with and around the matchless personality during the shoot and the promotions zipped past my mind... And similar to the film Boothnath Returns, which ended with the reel Big B – Bhoothnath – winning the elections, I believe that if he wanted to, the peerless Big B was also a man who could have been our Prime Minister, and perhaps been a good one at that. I will give you five reasons.

The first reason stems from my memories of how the inimitable legend (then about 65) would be there on the film sets without a fuss early in the morning, before time, and would mostly wait patiently for other lesser ranked stars to arrive, who mostly used to arrive a couple of hours late! Not just that. While everyone else would be wasting time frivolously between shots, the superlative Mr Bachchan would be sitting in one corner actually practising his lines, and therefore, most often would give shots in one take while all others would waste valuable film rolls with retakes aplenty. Be it this, or getting up early morning and finishing his gym session before we all could even reach the gym (I remember how, after getting down at the Toronto airport, he was the one walking fastest on the long route to the exit – and to imagine we were all almost half his age), it showed why he reached such heights of success – non negotiable discipline and sustained sincerity! Qualities we need in our leaders!

The second reason is his kind heart. I remember when we were having this press conference in Kolkata, I saw a man entering and showing his gratitude to Mr Bachchan for saving his daughter Mita Mondol’s life. The poor tea stall owner’s daughter had been detected with a rare heart disease and it was the preeminent Big B’s generous gift of Rs. 2.5 lakh rupees that made a complicated operation possible and helped save her life. That showed that Mr Bachchan’s heart was that of an altruistically benevolent man, something that people across India have felt time and again from his bounteously loving, fatherly/grandfatherly handling of his participants in Kaun Banega Crorepati – a reason why every time that I see him speak on the show, I feel like touching his feet! You know that it’s a nice and beneficent human being out there. How often have we felt the same way about any of our politicians?

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