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By Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Mr Bachchan is humming a new tune in Baabul.
"It's a tune from my past that kept playing in my mind. I just thought I'd use it here because it fitted in so well. I played around with the notes and came up with this song for Baabul. In fact I recorded the song just a couple of days ago. In Ravi Chopra's Baghban I had sung four numbers. In Baabul I've recorded two. Earlier I had recorded a happy number. But the pensive somber number which I've just recorded is actually composed by me."
The Big B still insists he isn't much of a singer. "What I like is to meet up with Aadesh Shrivastava , sit around in his music room and fool around with the notes. In Baabul for the first time I've contributed to a tune. Obviously the orchestral arrangements are Aadesh's. But the theme song Kehta hoon babul o mere bitiya in Baabul is tuned and sung by me. Earlier in Baghban two of the songs the Holi song and also parts of Meri makhna were mine. But in Baabul the full theme song (written by Sameer) is mine."
Last week, the Big B walked the ramp with his Baabul co-star Hema Malini. He explains, "The promotion and marketing of a film is today is as critical as its making. The competition is grueling. Look at how films have been marketed in recent times. For Baabul we wanted to do something novel. So we devised a fashion show along with the designers of the film...not necessarily the clothes Hema and I wore in Baabul but clothes designed by the film's designers. That evening was extremely emotional and heartwarming, and the turn-out was impressive."
The mega-star is glad that a film stressing Indian values has been made. "Television is so full of family dramas that this genre is hardly attempted in today's cinema. Baabul is very traditional and close to our hearts. It addresses the sensitive issue of a widow remarriage. Why does a young widow become a victim of ridiculous customs, almost an outcast? Like all the films from B.R Films it addresses itself to a burning social issue."
Speaking of his on-screen rapport with Hema Malini, AB says, "We did some films in our earlier days, but not as many as we're doing now. In Baabul she's very much part of the drama. In Sholay there was the effort to rehabilitate the widow. That sentiment continues in Baabul. It was initially tried in Dharamji and Meena Kumariji 's starrer Phool Aur Patthar. Now widow remarriage is the theme in films like Water and Baabul. Good cinema needs to raise the collective conscience -level of the audience."
The Bhojpuri market in UP and Bihar has gone ballistic over The Big B's guest appearance in Ganga . "I'm glad to know it's a success. If my presence in a film helps someone then I'm very glad to do it. Good for my makeup man Deepak Sawant who has been with me for thirty years. He came up with the idea of a Bhojpuri film. Just when we were to start the schedule I fell ill. The moment I recovered his was one of the first projects I completed."
Audiences in the cow belt are clapping AB's Bhojpuri dialogues. "I had done the Awadhi dialect in Ganga Ki Saugandh and Adaalat. Ganga is the first time that I did Bhojpuri which is very similar in tone and sound to Awadhi. But some of the words and expressions are different."
Last year AB made a guest appearance in a Kannada film Amrithvarsham . Ganga and Amrithvarsham, Big B's only two stints in regional Indian languages. "Both guest appearances and both done because two dear friends asked me to. Otherwise I don't recall doing any other regional films. Yes, I was asked to do a guest appearance in Rajnikanth's next Tamil project. But I declined. I don't have the time. Also learning a South Indian language is a huge Tamil responsibility (in the Kannada film AB spoke in English). I truly admire our artistes from Mumbai who go and do South Indian films and also speak the language . Rajnikanth and I are close friends. We've done films together in the past. We share a great rapport. I'd love to be in his film. But unfortunately I can't."
AB is thrilled by the spectrum of films this year. "Everyone from the young to the old has had an opportunity to have a say. And varied films have received acceptance this year. It's an exceptional year for Hindi cinema. There's Guru, Dhoom 2, Umrao Jaan and Vivah (which propagates family values , like Baabul) still to come...."
About the return of KBC he says, "Star and I have to reach some understanding. There're around 25 episodes that couldn't be done due to my illness. I haven't been formally approached for any more episodes."