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Bachchan power in <i>KANK</i>

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 

New Delhi (UNI): His portrayal of the 'sexy' and 'young-at-heart' sexagenarian Sam in Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida na Kehna, who believes in living life to the fullest and wears his heart on his sleeves has endeared him to the audiences across the country and abroad. At a time, when most of his contemporaries in the film industry like Dharmender, Shatrughan Sinha or Vinod Khanna have either gone into semi-retirement or seen largely in grandfatherly roles in films, it seems life on celluloid has just begun for Amitabh Bachchan. His portrayal of Sam in Kabhi Alvida na Kehna has been hailed by critics as unique in the history of Indian cinema with the youthful fervour and vibrancy infused into the character by the Bollywood superstar. Trade analysts say audiences have fallen in love with the character of Sam played by Mr Bachchan who on the one hand, comes across as an incorrigible flirt while on the other he is also seen as an intensely emotional father whose heart bleeds when he sees his son's marriage breaking apart.

Critics feel the beautiful combination of joviality and frivolity with pathos in Big B's portrayal of Sam's character puts him in the league of the best of Hollywood actors. His 'below-the-belt' comments in the film in presence of his son kept audiences, specially in the cities, laughing in the ailes, providing the much-needed comic relief in the otherwise serious film. At the same time, his emotional scenes like the one where he feels crestfallen seeing his son's marriage break apart and the scene after the 'Rock and Rock Soniye' song where he suddenly gets emotional on watching his son and daughter-in-law (Rani Mukherjee) fighting make the audience's relate with character.

Observers say Amitabh's portrayal of the character of Sam in Kabhi Alvida na Kehna is first of its kind in the history of Bollywood. In fact, Shahrukh Khan is said to have commented recently that he wished he would also get to play a character like Sam when he is 60. In fact, they say that of all the characters in the film, Amitabh's is the most endearing, apart from that of Abhishek Bachchan.

"Carrying on the tradition" from where his father took off is Abshishek Bachchan. From being the 'jinxed actor' to being the heartthrob of millions of cinegoers; the wheel seems to have turned full circle for Abhishek Bachchan! He may modestly claim to be just a supporting actor in the recently-released Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna but Abhishek's has been the most endearing presence in the film along with his father, Superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Cinegoers in many parts of India, especially those hailing from the small towns and villages, may have given a lukewarm response to Karan Johar's take on marriage and relationships but Abhishek's portrayal of the 'happy-go-lucky' Rishi Talwar, who is an ideal husband-one who loves his wife unconditionally so much so that even after she betrays him-he forgives her and embraces her as a friend, has been loved by the average cinegoeing audience.

Observers say audiences all over the country have, more than Shahrukh Khan, empathised with Abhishek's character who they feel is the victim in the failure of his marriage with Rani Mukherjee. The audience's heart breaks when his marriage goes through a bad phase. In fact, they point out that Abhishek's is the only white character in the film along with Amitabh Bachchan unlike the characters played by Shahrukh, Rani and Preity all of which have grey shades. As such, the sympathies of a large section of the audience, especially the kids and family audiences, who form a major proportion of the cinegoers, have gone to the character played by Abhishek.

Trade sources said that even those who had not liked the film had come out impressed by junior Bachchan's endearing portrayal which in many ways reflects Abhishek's real-life persona. In a recent interview to a TV channel, Abhishek, when asked whether it was easy to forgive someone who had broken your his, he said, ''I think it is. It seems logical to me because forgiveness is in the very grain of humanity.'' Trade analysts say that the maturity with which Abhishek has portrayed the character of the fun loving Rishi Talwar displays junior Bachchan's tremendous growth as an actor since his debut in J P Dutta's 'Refugee' several years ago.

Adding to Abhishek's appeal are the film's two songs 'Rock N Roll Soniye' and 'Where's the Party Tonight' featuring him, which are a huge rage among all sections, especially the youth and the children, as well as among the party circuit. Both songs have been steadily climbing popularity charts ever since they started airing on TV channels and FM stations over a month ago.

While the song 'Where's the Party Tonight' features Abhishek Bachchan with Preity Zinta in the film, the 'Rock and Roll Soniye' song has been picturised on Amitabh, Abhishek and Preity.

His endearing portrayal in the film, coupled with the tremendous popularity of the above songs, has definitely added to Abhishek's fan following, sspecially in the Indian heartland.

It is junior Bachchan's rising popularity among the masses that has in recent years made many a filmmaker cast him in 'walk-on' appearances like those in Salaam Namaste and Ek Ajnabee or guest appearances like in Hum Tum.

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