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The Big B complex

By: Molly, IndiaFM
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Big B syndrome seems to have affected some of his contemporaries and even his seniors very seriously. They are taken aback by the grand success of the Big B at his age. They wonder and spend restless days and sleepless nights worrying about why what is happening to him is not happening to them. They are baffled and bewildered by the relentless battering of their minds. They have little or no work which is no reason to feel good about life.

They are spending all their time sending out feelers to film makers that they need work. They are appointing emissaries and secretaries to find filmmakers who can give them any work. Some of them are even going to the extent of approaching film makers personally to ask them for any kind of character or cameo role. They want to find work by hook or crook, literally. Some of them are humble and honest enough to realize that they cannot reach the stage and status that the Big B has reached but they want to be considered at least as some part of the race with him. Some of them have secretly told this writer about their need to find some work just to keep them selves busy and sound important. Some who had accepted the fact that they had gone into retirement but they are now willing to do anything to stage a comeback and find a place 'at least somewhere near Bachchan' as one of them who once looked down on the Big B as a nobody and not even a part of the race with him said.

There is the case of Rajesh Khanna who was the reigning superstar before Amitabh Baachchan, an unknown name came and snatched away the throne from him. He had no work as an actor for years. He went into politics where he found no respectable or responsible place and he now wants to come back to acting 'somehow'. He signed two films as a character actor, one in Jaana-Lets Fall in Love and another in Kaash Aap Hamare Hote. The makers however realized that the man who was king once had not forgotten his days. His attitude and his behaviour during the making of the films gave the makers all the reasons for anxiety and they have spread wild stories about him that could be damaging to any chances of his hoping for a better future.

Shatrughan Sinha, the popular BJP leader who was also a Union Minister also tried to make a comeback with Madhur Bhandarkar's Aan - Men at Work. The role he played was written for the Big B but things did not work out. Sinha took his place but the film with a number of other stars and made on a very heavy budget and on a very lavish scale failed to create any kind of impact at the Box Office and it badly affected the Shotgun's second shot as an actor. No more offers came his way, which he in his own arrogant way saw as an affront to his aan (respect) as an actor.

Dharmendra, the BJP MP from Bikaner talks to friends about how he was trapped in the game of politics and is waiting for some good films. The only film he has on hand is Apne in which he teams up with his sons, Sunny and Bobby for the first time. There are other offers but they are not tempting enough to let the Jat hero fall for them. He too is open to play some strong characters. But where are the offers?

There is Vinod Khanna, another BJP leader and former Union Minister who could have easily taken the Big B's place in the early 80's if he had not made some emotional blunders and left the industry to join Bhagwan Rajneesh as his gardened in Oregon in America. Khanna is still a very popular politician from Punjab but it is the actor in him who wants to emerge as a winner again. And now even the gentleman actor Jeetendra who has been happy in his position as the Chairman of Balaji Telefilms is trying to make an impact, this time as Gabbar Singh in a Bhojpuri film.

These are just some big names struck by the Big B syndrome. There are others trying to stay on in this forever slippery world of Hindi films encouraged or foolish enough to try taking the stride made by the Big B. They keep trying even as the Big B keeps signing more films than some of the most popular stars today. His growing success is a source of painful despair for so many who were popular or more popular than him once upon a time. Why are you troubling all these already tormented souls, Mr. Bachchan?

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