13 May, 2021

The Trouble With Being Reborn

Oh, to return thus! As the papa of the nation.

The Trouble With Being Reborn
It's difficult to conceive but in early 1995, we didn't have Outlook and we didn't have Amitabh Bachchan. The magazine world was fat, smug and fortnightly but Hindi films were doing terribly without Mr B. Then he came back and what a fall there was, my countrymen. The period between 1996 and 2000 made the lean years before his temporary 'retirement' look like the time of plenty. His fans had to watch a hollow carcass of a fifty-something star lug his way through films that would not have succeeded in the 1970s when he commanded the heights of the box office. Do you remember Mrityudaata, where the producers dragged in Daler Mehndi to shore up the sagging story of a drunken doctor on the run? Or Lal Badshah which has Manisha Koirala playing an LIC agent and Bachchan in one of his worst double roles? Or Sooryavansham which has Bachchan in love with Rachna Bannerjee (who?) but when his father (Bachchan) objects, he marries Soundarya (who?).

Which meant four years of hollow films until at four in the morning, Bachchan...

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