Twinkle Twinkle Superstar

Let me begin by stating that I am a big admirer of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for a number of reasons, not the least being that he is so good at what he does .

He is, by far, the biggest superstar the Hindi cinema has had. Not only did he deliver a long string of timeless hits in his heyday about three decades back, he is actually still giving the present crop of actors a run for their money. His perfectionism and passion for his work are the stuff of legends.

I admire the way he conveys much more by a mere raising of an eyebrow than what a lesser actor might by delivering a heavy-duty monologue.

He is reasonably well-educated– a rarity in a showbiz populated mostly with people who never finished college.

He speaks beautiful flawless Hindi, which is an even bigger rarity. And I just love his booming baritone (who doesn’t!!)

So how will I react if I, by some fortuitous coincidence, find myself facing the superstar at a public place? Provided he is not being mobbed at that moment– in which case I would run away as fast as I can owing to my fear of crowds– I would probably run up to him and say hello, and how glad I am to see him in person.I would tell him how I have loved so many of his movies. I would also try to get myself photographed with him (and would later upload the pic on Facebook, and conclude that anyone not ‘liking’ it is just plain jealous!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I would then thank him and get out of his way. That is about all. And I am sure most people I know would react along similar lines.

If I were to meet Mr. Bachchan on a show which I know will be on television, my reaction on meeting him would be, if anything, a lot more subdued.

Which is why the conduct of the contestants on KBC leaves me befuddled. What possesses these people to make such spectacles of themselves on national television? Sir, you are great. Sir, please pinch me so I’ll know I am not dreaming. Sir, please look into the camera and say hi to my friend xyz –he is crazy about you. Sir I never watched this show when SRK was hosting it.(Yes, I’ve actually heard a contestant say this.)

AB sports his signature part indulgent, part amused and part embarassed look through all of this.

There’s more. A woman said she’d like to change the colour of her eyesย  to blue, just like Aishwarya Rai’s. She’d always loved Aishwarya Rai’s eyes, you see, and she just had to tell AB about this. And one contestant wanted to speak to Aishwarya Rai–AB, of course, had to oblige–how can he not oblige people who are diehard fans not just of him but his whole family!

And then you have contestants falling– literally falling, as in prostrating before a deity–at the superstar’s feet. Some contestants unabashedly tell him,”Aapko maine Bhagwan ki tarah pooja hai”.

I realize that I am only just an admirer, and that is a whole lot different from being a fan. What I find bewildering is, how come EVERY contestant turns out to be a diehard fan, one crazier than the other? Is the whole thing scripted? Are the contestants required by the show-producers to act like bumbling, star-struck idiots–maybe as part of the producers’ ‘scaling down’ strategy–or is it just the contestants trying to outdo each other on their own?

A friend I was talking to said that it might notย  be scripted, because AB looks genuinely embarassed all the time he is being fawned upon. Well, he is sure to be embarassed by all that fawning, whether or not it is scripted, so his embarassment can only be genuine. Or wait, for all we know,ย  maybe even that is scripted? It must be easy peasy for an actor of AB’s calibre to make it look genuine, no? Okay, that was a bit too cynical ๐Ÿ˜‰

Guess we’ll never know for sure unless somebody known to us gets to be on the show. If you’ve known anyone who has been on the show, pray do enlighten me on this issue!

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10 Responses to Twinkle Twinkle Superstar

  1. Heh.

    Seems scripted to me, SH.
    I mean, think about it. How come EVERY person who’s on the show is the biggest Bachchan ever?

    Okay, he’s a popular guy. So I could accept ten die-hard fans. Or twenty. Or Fifty. Not EVERY second person who gets into the hot seat. It’s like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan and Tom Cruise don’t even exist. There have been contestants on the show who claim to be long-time fans of his and then (on a tough question), go on to admit that they don’t even watch too many movies.

    But I definitely enjoy his flawless, beautiful Hindi. As an anchor, he’s a pleasure to watch, and I wish I could gain a fraction of his command over the language. Mine is just pitiful, by comparison, define strenuous efforts to improve it. :/

  2. Am I the first to comment?
    I sure hope so.
    There is a strange satisfaction some readers enjoy in seeing their name first and I am no exception.
    Not seeing any comment so far makes my hope that I will bag this distinction for the first time.
    You tried recently at IHM’s blog to be the first and ended up being second runner up.
    Let’s see how fast I am.

    Like you I too am a fan of Big B.
    It’s easy for me to look up to him. He is at least a head taller!

    I love his baritone voice and dialogue delivery.
    You commented on his flawless Hindi. What about his English? isn’t it equally flawless?

    His pedigree is simply impeccable.
    I fancy him as the President of India some day.
    He would truly grace that post with his quiet dignity.
    And, who better than Ash for hosting the grand parties for world leaders at Rashtrapati Bhavan?

    Yes, I agree, that KBC participants go overboard. It is acutely embarrassing for me to watch all that.
    But I have seen worse.
    In Tamilnadu, you should see how Rajnikanth is adored.
    MGR was literally worshiped. If you said a word against him in public, you would be thrashed.
    Fans tattoo the names of their idols.
    They built a temple with a statue of Khusboo as the deity.
    MLAs prostrated in public at Jayalalithaa’s feet.
    Deification comes easy to the Tamil people.
    I think they have the largest number of statues.
    (Oops! Now I am not so sure. May be we should wait for the census report in UP. Mayawati has been on a statue erecting spree)

    What would I do if I happened to run into Big B?
    I once fantasized about being lucky to be seated next to him in an aircraft while traveling.
    I wondered how I should behave. Should I pretend not to recognise him?
    No, that would be silly. His face is just too well known.
    Should I do what KBC participants do?
    No, he might snub me. Who knows. Besides why make a nuisance of myself. May be he just wants to be left alone and is tired of all the media attention.

    In my fantasy I then did the following:
    Since the plane had not yet taken off, I called up my wife on my cell phone and said in a voice loud enough for BIg B to hear.

    “Guess what? You know who is sitting next to me? No, you better give up. It’s a guy who looks exactly like Amitabh Bachan”


    • GV,
      It is true that Amitabh Bachchan speaks perfect English too but then a fair number of Hindi movie actors speak English reasonably well. A growing breed of actors, Katrina Kaif notable amongst them, speak ONLY English–I wonder if they can speak two full sentences in Hindi to save their lives! Even those who do speak Hindi tend to lapse into English off and on when asked a question in Hindi. It is in this light that I admire AB’s Hindi–one just does not get to hear good Hindi being spoken!

      You are right, deification does come easy to us Indians. The funny thing is, one wrong move and the very same worshippers knock you off the pedestal real quick! Khushboo’s is a case in point –for all the temples built in her glory, all it took her fans to go baying for her blood was an innocuous interview in which she said that Tamil men should no longer expect their brides to be virgins, or something to that effect. She was forced to apologize for ‘offending the sentiments’ of her admirers–celebrityhood apparently comes with a price-tag attached.

  3. Oh no!
    CE beat me to it.
    Never mind.
    There’s always a next time

  4. I think sometimes hero worship goes beyond admiration and turns to idealization of the adored object. Now no matter how much you adore the acting skills of Amitabh Bacchan or SRK, or Hugh Jackman or whoever, one knows nothing about how they are in their personal life.

    They could be real jerks in private, men could be wife beaters, women could be truly horrifying to live with. Their nice smiles and kind countenances on TV are not things one really must go by.

    All of India seems to adore the Bacchan family. As if they’re these perfect beings living a life in heaven and nectar. But can they really be all that different from every other? Is Aishwarya Rai’s married life going to be so very unique than that of every other married woman in India.

    We care so much about appearances. What will the neighbors say? We have to think of our image etc etc. Very often we just look at the image and stay there only!

  5. Scribby says:

    count me in-yes I’m a beeeeg Big B fan too…for all that you’ve mentioned I adore him and respect him. Flawless Hindi? of course of course and like you replied to GV jee English speaking janta is easily found in cinebiz but no one talks fluent Hindi!

    About the show..sometimes we have felt that some contestants over do it…but then imagine we being on the show…I don’t know what I will do then…it’s easy to probably imagine that I will not do this or that but when actually put in such situation I might as well go overboard, who knows? ๐Ÿ™‚

    so no I’m not saying it might not be scripted and all that..just that you never know ๐Ÿ™‚ Big B ka magic hai hi aisa ๐Ÿ˜€

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