Amitabh Bachchan's sudden trek to the hospital last week sounded very ominous. Oh God! Not again, was my first thought. Poor guy! Bad health, bad timing! Which person likes spending a birthday undergoing painful medical tests? I watched the news... my heart in my mouth.... familiar images. Different year. What a life it has been for this man. At 66, his insane travel schedule would exhaust a 22 -year- old. Known for his absolute professionalism in a career that has spanned 40 long years, this guy is in serious need of heavy- duty R & R. Perhaps this little health hiccup will serve as a wake up call.... though I doubt it. With one billion bucks riding on his shoulders, he has enormous responsibilities to discharge. What's the bet he'll be back in the studios the second his docs give him the green signal. That's him.
But the visual of the iconic star looking frail, decrepit and helpless , wearing a monkey cap and leaning on his son before getting on to the stretcher, was very, very moving. It reminded us all that time stops for no one. We all have to deal with the changes that are wrought by advancing years. It must be doubly hard for superstars who have an image that refuses to acknowledge the havoc caused by age. We want Amitabh to remain the perennially dapper actor with the world's best baritone. Fans don't want to deal with the sight of an aged man.... powerless to fight the cruel ravages of time.
Quite like Balasaheb at the Dusshera rally. My bank manager was so upset to see him like that, he actually shed a few tears remembering the Tiger who terrorised Mumbai with a single growl, not so long ago.
Well, here's wishing Amitabh a speedy and full recovery. We need him to inspire us through his impeccable craft. My favourite scene from a recent movie is from 'Sarkar'. Uncanny but true. Life does imitate art sometimes. In that scene Amitabh (playing Balasaheb) is waving tiredly to his crowd of supporters. It's a great shot taken from the back. You see him raise his hand.... all the fatigue and sorrow expressed through that single gesture. No words needed. Only an actor with Amitabh's supreme mastery over the cinematic medium could have performed that deceptively simlpe shot as convincingly! Get well soon, Amitabh. Our prayers are with you...