Sukanya Verma toasts the man, the movies and the many, many, MANY memories he’s made on big screen through 80 Amitabh Bachchan moments.
- Amitabh Magic: Adventures of Mr Natwarlal
- More Magic: The Big B’s Ande Ka Funda
41. Jee Jaan Se, Main Azaad Hoon
Amitabh Bachchan gathering a crowd of activists on the strength of sheer charisma, everyman appeal and catchy cries of Itne baazu itne sarr ginle dushman dhyaan se haarega woh har baazi jab khelein hum jee jaan se is stuff of Socialist dreams.
42. Kacha Paapad Pukka Paapad, Yaarana
The actor’s fun tongue twister throws his diction teacher and everyone else in a tizzy. Not me.
As the game’s self-proclaimed Paapad Queen, I am ever up for a challenge having spent a lifetime parroting Kacha Paapad Pakka Pappad in full speed.
43. Shot in the dark, Eklavya: The Royal Guard
Eklavya is a stunning watch, but its most brilliant moment arrives when a majestic Eklavya enters a mini theatre and stands strategically between Parinda’s pigeon scene on the projector and his mark. Cut to a pitch dark screen and all we hear are bullets and that Bachchan baritone.
44. Lag Gaya Nishana, Sholay
Bachchan’s Jai is a man of few words.
When he chooses to talk though, zingers simply fly out of his mouth and, more often than not, Veeru has to bear the brunt of it.
Moral of the story: Never flirt before your smart alec best friend.
45. Legend of Mukhtar Singh, Kaalia
‘Haan toh bachchon, Mukhtar Singh ka naam suna hai tumne?’
Yep, all the way to Shahenshah.
Bachchan’s comedic conquests and tall tales fed to a bunch of gullible kids at the beginning of Tinnu Anand’s swashbuckling masala make his metamorphosis from Kaloo to Kaalia all the more thrilling.
46. Will he? Won’t he?, Black
Actors, especially of a certain era, can be a squeamish lot.
Often too terrified of stepping out of their exalted image, which is why Bachchan gets extra brownie points for throwing occasional surprises in our direction.
There’s a fleeting image of intimacy in Black when his student (Rani Mukerji) who can neither hear, see or speak compels him for a kiss.
What follows is just a peck, but the question of will he or won’t he plays on the mind until he yields.
47. Shirt style swag, Khuddaar
Knotted shirts, half sweaters, pointed collars, fur lined coats, tinted glasses, bow ties, printed vests, Bachchan’s sartorial supremacy is undeniable. But this groovy cross sling shirt/jacket tie-up is a style I purely associate with him.
48. Haing, Agneepath
A trademark Bachchan touch colours Agneepath‘s shootout-at-sunset ambush, where all his enemies try to gun him down while hiding inside their respective cars.
Endless rounds are fired, until a still unscathed AB steps out of his Cadillac, refusing to conceal his disgust at their cowardly actions.
Haing (huh in Bachchan) is written all over him.
49. Main Amitabh Ban Gaya, Golmaal
In his own special way, Amitabh Bachchan has contributed to middle-of-the-road films of Hrishikesh Mukerjee, Basu Chatterjee and Sai Paranjpye, sportingly pitching in ingenious cameos that required him to play various versions of himself through the eyes (or envy) of aam aadmi.
50. Main aur meri tanhayi, Silsila
Take all the sensationalism of Silsila and its casting coups aside, the romantic existentialism sought in lovelorn solitude finds impressive depth in Bachchan’s poignant voice transporting us to places far beyond the tulip gardens of Holland.
51. Main Hoon Don, Don
That opening scene.
That introduction scene.
That double role angle.
That sneaky little twist.
The hip quotient.
There’s only one real Don — Don zakhmi hai toh kya, phir bhi Don hai.
Uff, uff, uff.
52. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Mard
Even the cheesiest Manmohan Desai caper will not hold back on one-of-its-kind chutzpah. From bullies inking ‘Mera baap chor hai‘ in Deewaar to daddy etching ‘Mard‘ on chest, what a comeuppance.
53. The greatest storyteller in town, Mr Natwarlal
For most kids from back then, Mere paas aao mere doston ek kissa suno, about a dangerous sher and Hanuman Chalisa-chanting AB, is more than a playful story-in-song.
It’s an exclusive invite to a club that exists only in our imagination that turned his knee-high followers into fans for life or future film-makers who’ll give their right arm to direct him.
54. Moochein ho toh Nathulal jaisi, Sharaabi
Drunk Bachchan, droll Bachchan.
His sloshed state on screen has inspired many laugh out gems, among which his wealthy alcoholic in Sharaabi fixated on employee Mukri’s XL moustache has the final word —Moochein ho toh Nathulal jaisi warn naa ho.
Mukri’s sense of humour is equally on point. He gifts his boss an XL bottle of whiskey with a mooch in place of bow.
55. The curse of the Nazarbattu, Chupke Chupke
As if by hearting Botany lessons in the night isn’t woeful enough, AB’s Professor Sukumar posing as Professor Pyaremohan must also balance an unwieldy pair of spectacles, one he irritatingly refers to as Nazarbattu (credit goes to master of word play, Gulzar), on his nose.
56. No Means No, Pink
Amitabh Bachchan puts across a strong message on consent like only he can and must.
57. One Man Army, Trishul
Yash Chopra’s Trishul is an ode to electrifying face-offs.
There are all kinds in the drama. And yet this is its most glorious frame — a visual summary of how we perceive Bachchan’s one-against-the-entire-world, angry young man phenomenon.
58. Pain pooja, Kaala Patthar
Refusing anesthesia from the physician treating his wounds, a small mining town’s worker exclaims, ‘My pain is my destiny and I can’t avoid it.’
She’s taken aback by his fluent English. As is the audience. It’s only when we learn the context to the scene, amazement makes way for empathy.
59. Parampara, prathistha, anushasan, Mohabbatein
Truth is, I slept through most of Mohabbatein and woke up only when AB growled something about the three irreversible pillars of Gurukul.
Too bad the meme culture didn’t exist back then. This is stuff of viral video gold.
60. Poet for all seasons, Kabhi Kabhie
Bundled up in warm woollies Bachchan paints a serene picture of love and longing against Kashmir’s winter wonderland.
Yet, all the romance in his ink cannot grant him a happily-ever-after.
There’s much to discover and savour about his emotional journey from pal do pal ka shaayar to har ek pal ka shayar in Yash Chopra’s generation-spanning relationship story.
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