Friday, July 01, 2011

Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap 

Naam Hai Viju

At the end of his film Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap, Puri Jagannadh states that it is a tribute to Amitabh Bachchan, whose films he grew up watching.  If he had made the declaration earlier, then maybe the film could be seen in a different light-- as one man’s version of what he saw of Bachchan films and retained.

Because what many of us saw and remember, is some of the best of mainstream cinema in which Amitabh Bachchan starred. He had powerful scenes and impressive dialogue—some of Salim-Javed’s finest work. And more importantly in many of  his early films—that helped create the Angry Young Man persona—had him play a man on the right side of the law, the scourge of criminals and wrongdoers, a devoted family man.

In Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap—the title of which somehow reduces his great stardom, Bachchan plays a gangster—his bright wardrobe is somebody’s idea of flamboyant.  He, or rather Viju, the character he plays,  says he was the “founder-member” of Mumbai’s mafia.  And he dances to a medley of Bachchan hits.  The films themselves were tribute to his talent and stardom; he didn’t need to pay tribute to himself.

Having said that, the film works only because he is able to bring his special magic to it.  He can do flirtatious, sarcastic, playful, romantic, angry, without making us squirm—the ‘fan’ of a director does no justice to him, but Bachchan does not let his fans down.

The film has South-style action, Sonu Sood as the cop hero in the best Bachchan tradition, and Prakash Raj as an ineffectual villain. It is entertaining in a way, but Bachchan has done much, much better.

However, what he carries off at nearly 70, many younger stars would not be able to do; that’s why a tribute to him and his films needed to be a superior film. Not some silly piece of fluff in which he has to share screen time with two idiotic girls (Sonal Chauhan, Charmee Kaur) and have Raveena Tandon playing an old lover, drooling all over him. When Hema Malini strides in, we can see how much dignity she brings to the scene—if she started doing a ‘Basanti’, it would hurt. Precisely why a homage film needed more of the Zanjeer Bachchan and less of the Boom one. Not because ‘Bbuddah’ is a derogatory term or aging gracefully a great quality, but because we want to admire a whole genre of films that Bachchan represented, and a generation of filmmakers who made them.  There may be those who haven’t seen the best of Bachchan, they ought not to think this is what he did all through his stupendously successful and influential career.


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