Of Amitabh Bachchan, watermelons and feeding frenzies
The versatility of Amitabh Bachchan is what makes him such a pleasure to watch. His impeccable comic timing – the drunken scene facing a mirror in Amar Akbar Anthony is a classic. The interactions with ‘Basanti’ in Sholay have me doubled up with laughter every single time. His angry young man personna was a sea change from the Rajesh Khanna loving Bollywood in Zanjeer. The ‘Fist of fury’ beating up baddies while being proactively accompanied by an ambulance in Trishul is yet another classic. The romancing of a widow with just a harmonica in Sholay! A star singer and his inability to deal with his wife’s increasing success in the same field in Abhiman. I could go on and on and so could millions of his fans I am sure!
The blockbuster Raj Sippy remake of ‘7 brides for 7 brothers’ immediately brings to mind the angry young man staring intensely at the camera with scary, grey contact lenses. Amitabh Bachchan in a double role as Babu, the killer. It also invokes some classic food memories. The hilarious scene where the rustic bumpkin Amitabh mistakenly assumes Hema Malini to be the lady who ditched his friend. He gives her a totally undeserved scolding and she of course scolds him right back. He tries to apologize by presenting her with a watermelon which she throws down at his feet from high above, only narrowly missing his head. Or the scene where the brothers are being coached to dance in order to impress ladies by Hema and use vegetables as dancing partners.
My favourite scene that triumphs all others though is the one where the food has been cooked and is arrayed on the table. All the brothers gather around for the meal. Big brother Ravi (Amitabh Bachchan) takes a plate and ladles out a small portion of the food on it. His brothers are concerend about his health – how can he eat so little? AB clarifies that the small plate with the food is for the rest of the 6 brothers! He passes the plate on to them and proceeds to eat straight out of the giant bowl!
Amitabh Bachchan was a trendsetter who kept proving the point in every film that he did (and does). The one thing required to succeed in the film industry is not conventional good looks but acting chops accompanied by loads and loads of attitude!