Amitabh Bachchan goes rural - it's been a while since those 'Sholay' days

Could it be that Big B is finally playing a character from the heartlands of India?

 |  3-minute read |   09-01-2019
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So, Thugs Of Hindostan bombed big time. Aamir Khan apologised for the massive disappointment — but Amitabh Bachchan did no such thing. He clearly needed some ‘alone-time’ to get over the whole fiasco. And the only place he could have found some respite was in a place the dynamic duo hadn’t been to promote Thugs — rural India!

Big B has been sharing a series of pictures on Twitter — from lazing on a ‘khatiya’ to trudging in a ‘bael-gadi’ to popping his head out of the window of a rickety blue state transport bus — of him living the ‘simple life’, so to speak. These, as he puts it in his tweets, reminds him of the good old days of his youth — just out of college, hunting for jobs and scaling through the breadth of the city in a bus or a tram.

 

Before we escape into a dream sequence, let’s just say that we are glad to see him this way.

Let us explain.

The perpetually-angry, perpetually-young man of Bollywood has seldom slipped out of his urban persona and into a rural setting — with the only exception of Saudagar (1973) — where he essayed the role of a concentrated sugarcane juice trader from a marginalised community. The closest Amitabh Bachchan has ever been to playing the role of a ‘gaon ka chhora’ is with films like Sholay or Mr Natwarlal, or others like it, where he’s just a city-bred young man who — due to a complicated scheme of events — finds himself in a village.

sholay-story_647_081_010919053050.jpgThe urban man has to save the village. Someone has to. (Source: YouTube screengrab)

Of course, he then has to go on to save the village from the bad guy, save his romantic interest from the prying eyes of the village creep whilst he makes her fall in love with him, fight a tiger or a crocodile if you will, and sing a few Holi songs for good measure — but that’s a commentary on Hindi cinema and the '70s ka macho hero.

Even as Vijay — chhora Ganga kinare wala — in Don, we witness Amitabh Bachchan’s shenanigans in Mumbai. Although we are made aware of his small-town roots, we never see him in the moment.

As Vijay Dinanath Chauhan in Agneepath, we know he is driven by a rage to avenge the murder of his father, and reclaim Mandwa, but we see him operate suavely, dressed in a suit. Except for a few flashbacks, that too as a young boy, we never actually see Big B in Mandwa.

amitabh-bachchan-in-_010919053719.jpgThe angry, suited young man. (Source: YouTube screengrab)

Then there were the angry young working-class men — Coolie, Deewar — where, though he represented the low-income strata of society, part of his problems were essentially urban, and more particularly, due to urbanisation.

So, when we see Amitabh Bachchan share glimpses of a rural sojourn, we are hopeful.

Perhaps for the first time in a long time we will see the man at the heart of Hindi cinema play a character from the heartlands.

It is about time. At least now that those farmer loans have been waived off.

Also read: Remembering Kader Khan: The first Khan who made a difference

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