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The Bachchans- Indians under spotlight

The Bachchans- Indians under spotlight

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The Bachchans are a recognisable name in the world of cinema and one of the flag bearers of Indian cinema worldwide. This fame has stemmed from the undimmed popularity of Amitabh Bachchan whose name literally means 'the one whose aura does not vanish'. Indeed !

Amitabh Bachchan


Bachchan was a pen name adopted by Amitabh's father, poet Harivansh Rai, born in a Srivastava family. This name was adopted by all the family and this is how the clan is now known.


Having a son who is the most recognised face of Indian cinema worldwide does not dim the light of Harivansh Rai Bachchan himself- an eminent poet and Hindi lover. The love of Hindi at the Bachchans is evident even though Harivansh Rai Bachchan had a doctorate in English literature from the Cambridge University- a distinction not held by many Indians from the British Raj era. Harivansh Rai worked as an English teacher at University and later with the Government of India at the External Affairs Ministry where he was instrumental in the evolution of Hindi as the official language of India.


Harivash Rai Bachchan is often quoted in his introduction « A body of clay, a mind full of play, a moment’s life – that is me. ». His most prominent work is 'Madhushala' (1935). It was later followed by 'Madhubala' (1936) and 'MadhuKalash' (1937) in a trilogy revolving around the eternal quest of happiness that ends in an illusion. 'Madhu' or wine was used as an allegory. His other works include 'Nisha Nimantran' (1938), 'Ekant Sangeet' (1939), Akul Antara' (1943), 'Satrangini' (1945), 'Bangal ka Kal' (1946), Halahal (1946), 'Khadi Ke Phool' (1948), 'Milan Yamini' (1950), 'Do Chattanen' (1963), etc.


Bachchan's poetry is characterised by a deep, empathetic understanding of human nature and chagrin that somehow seem to convey a spiritual message in the tradition of Oman Khayyam's poetry which seems to have influenced Harivansh Rai. Harivash Rai Bachchan remained prolific for better part of his life. His last work is said to be 'Ek November 1984' (1984) written in the memory of family friend Indira Gandhi after her assassination in the same year.


 Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Harivansh Rai Bachchan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1966- a recognition of his contribution to the nation and an invitation to be at the helm of it- shared many years later by his daughter-in-law actress Jaya Bachchan for her own abilities and contribution. Many other honours and awards that decorated the poet were Sahitya Academy Award (1969), Indian civilian honour Padma Bhushan (1976), Saraswati Samman (1976) etc. His poems have been translated in various languages and have been recited at various occasions.


With fame and adulation that surpasses the dreams of many others from the Indian film industry. Amitabh Bachchan, Harivansh Rai's elder son with his wife Teji, is a household name today in India and one of most prominent brand ambassadors of the Indian cinema the world over. In addition to his illustrious film career that later translated to an exemplary successful transition back and forth with television for an actor of his stature, brand endorsements etc. Amitabh Bachchan's love of Hindi poetry and recital runs through his genes. His famous baritone voice is perfectly suited to convey emotions and takes the listener to a far away realm beyond mundane chagrin. Western viewers may recollect that his voice was used in the narration in India's entry 'Lagaan' (2001) that made it to the finalists at the Academy Awards 2003. My personal favourite is 'Kabhi Kabhi' though !


Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan was decorated by France in 2006 to the grade of 'Officer in the National Order of the Legion of Honour' (Officier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur). The decoration was presented by the Dominique Girard, French ambassador to India, in Delhi on February 3rd, 2007. Like his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai- married to his son, actor Abhishek- who is a regular at the Cannes film festival, Amitabh Bachchan is not new to Paris or the French audience. More recently, in January 2009, he was in Paris as the special guest of honour at the 3rd Edition of Salon du Cinéma of Paris where India was the country of honour and a special retrospective of Bachchan films was held.


More than 150 films in his career and with all the possible awards in his repertory, one may wonder what more could Amitabh Bachchan need today ? Like in his father's poetry, happiness is an illusion and the journey to search for happiness can only lead inside. A savvy person in touch with his times, Amitabh Bachchan shares his thoughts with his fans through a blog that he has been maintaining for quite some time.


We wish the Bachchans the success in their endeavours and hope to keep seeing them in Paris !


Related links

Amitabh Bachchan's Blog

Amitabh Bachchan- Homage to Poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan


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