Variety

‘He Never Belonged to One Era'

R Balki | Updated on March 23, 2011

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Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) has been synonymous with Hindi cinema since the 1970s and 1980s. I think that's when Hindi cinema met him. What he has done since is prove to be eternally contemporary. That's one thing that sets him apart.

Even in his bellbottoms from films of another era, he looks and feels contemporary even today. Amitji is not just about the box office and the fame that comes with it. He has never overplayed something to be restricted to an era; he never belonged to one era. What he did successfully was to transcend fashion, ways of cinema, and trends, over time. And he's been around for a long time.

He's done great things like the KBC and his comeback, which are all part of the history of Indian cinema. Beyond all that, I feel that we like him so much that we want him to succeed.

He could have easily made a mark with Hollywood or other foreign cinema. He still can. So far, he has chosen not to.

Amitji comes with a clear understanding that there is no such thing as international cinema and Indian cinema, and more so, one being bigger than the other. It's all cinema, and our cinema is unique — we don't have to show off to the world. We need to preserve the identity of our cinema, and Amitji has put his actions behind that belief.

Working with him… He is one of those lethal combinations — a very real person, who is a star. He understands the meaning of stardom. He understands the reality of both - the unreal and the real. That balance is very important and very few people have that. It comes from having been there, and being up there, for many, many years.

(Mr R Balki is is Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas, and director of two movies starring Mr Amitabh Bachchan - Cheeni Kum and Paa. As told to Gokul Krishnamurthy.)

Published on March 23, 2011

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