May 3, 2007

Second Best

You were good kid, real good, but as long as I’m around you’ll always be the second best.
-Lancey Howard to the Kid in Cincinnati Kid

Imagine hearing that on a daily basis and putting on a brave front.

That my friends, I feel, is the story of Abhishek Bachchan’s life.

Not long ago the world decided that it was time for Abhishek Bachchan to take over the mantle of Shahenshah of the Hindi film industry from his father. The baton being passed from father to son or daughter is quite common in India with the only unsuccessful example being Rohin Gavaskar! It didn’t matter that Abhishek Bachchan looked as lost as a baby in a topless bar while acting, it didn’t make any difference to anyone that he couldn’t pronounce basic Hindi words- everyone had decided that it’s time the son rose! Perhaps people realized that Big B had aged after all. Even the reddest of the suits or blackest of hair dyes couldn’t pass him off as Shilpa Shetty’s or Soundarya’s lover instead of estranged father that he ended up resembling in films like Lal Badshah and Suryavansham.

So (un)like most filmi fathers Mr. Bachchan handpicked the best possible launch for his son. There were many things that threatened to ruin the party and the fact that Abhishek couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag didn’t feature anywhere on the list. What almost stole the thunder from Bachchan Junior’s launch was a phenomenon called Hrithik Roshan. Beating him to the box office by almost six months Hrithik mania swept the country. The thunder was totally stolen when Refugee, Abhishek’s debut film, finally hit the marquee and flopped. Not that Mr. Bachchan’s script sense had anything to do with choosing Refugee as a launch pad; people couldn’t believe it that Mr. Bachchan decided to unleash his son in such a regressive movie! Coupled with the fact that his, then, would be sister-in-law Kareena (Kareina or Karina- don’t know how she spelling her name this week) walked away with all the accolades and the film sunk before it hit the waters, things couldn’t have been worse for the Prince in waiting.

And then almost six to seven of his films flopped. Did that bother people? No, not at all! As a matter of fact everyone was waiting for the flop #12 for his father’s 13th film changed his life and so would the son’s! As millions of Indians along with Abhishek himself twiddled their thumbs waiting for flop #13, life wasn’t going anywhere for the King in making and his then fiancé (or was it girlfriend?) Karishma or Karizma Kapoor (don’t know how she spelt her name that week) dumped him. Imagine putting up a brave front in such a time and being compared to your father even though your films are failing left, right and center.

Abhishek also refused certain films during those years (Lagaan, Dil Chata Hain, Company to name a few) citing reasons such as his presence would doom the films!

Imagine a scene at the Bachchan dining table at 3am, they don’t sleep as much as we do and many have told me that it’s a family of insomniacs. Wow! It’d have been great only if they weren’t the premier film family! Father scolding the shit out of the son and telling him that he is no good. Imagine Mr. Bachchan in full flow mouthing lines such as- I get you films and you make hash out of them! I ask company’s to include you in the advertisements I do and you screw the brand over! You can’t even maintain a relationship for god’s sakes! I wouldn’t have blamed the father for thinking is there something that this idiot can do right? My father would have told me his stories about his life, his struggles and his success ten times over in a similar situation and my father ain’t no superstar of the millennium and his life story would’ve been like anyone else’s and (sadly) not included people like Rekha and beautiful films like Sholay and Deewar! I’m not saying that Mr. Bachchan didn’t work hard and no, unlike most people I ‘m not propagating that Abhishek got it easy! It’s not easy to maintain a calm demeanor after so many failures and being compared to your father even when you visit the men’s room!

Finally Pa decided to do something about the situation.

Like Yash Chopra had resurrected Amitabh Bachchan’s sagging career by offering him Mohobatein, a role that suited his age, son Aditya decided to take a personal interest in Abhishek’s career. I couldn’t figure out that why Mr. Bachchan had to beg Yash Chopra for a role that suited his age even though it’s common sense to play your age if you are an ageing superstar trying to make a comeback after five years but that’s a different story. So with Aditya Chopra deciding to play mentor to Abhishek things start to look up a bit for him. I don’t blame Aditya for no matter how hard he tries Uday Chopra isn’t hot and thank god for small mercies! With the success of Dhoom, the first Abhishek finally becomes a star. Along comes a stupid film like Dus and lo and behold he’s a superstar. Barring the opening credits and the title song there wasn’t anything in Dus that warrants it to be called a film but it still did the trick. Abhishek is a style icon thanks to dus bahane… that almost sounded like the story of his life up till that point in time! But he’ll still do two bit roles in almost every Yashraj (Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste). Mani Ratnam’s Yuva follows and though Abhishek looks different and almost convincing the film makes sure no one doubts that he’s in fact the rightful heir to Mr. Bachchan’s kursi. Close on the heels is Bunty Aur Babli. Abhishek has now rightfully arrived! The lead in Bluffmaster and he’s become the Rahul Bose of commercial films- #1 in the race of 1!

Now Abhishek’s a superstar who has many big brands to endorse; you can catch him in the new Motorola ad in which he is shaking his head like a chimpanzee!

What’s the moral of the story?

Given enough chances anyone can become a success so much so that my usually quiet musician brother would have become a star had he been given half the chances awarded to Abhishek. But do some people ever change? No. He has every reason to choose films but still ends up doing non-sense stuff like Umrao Jaan and Dhoom, the second. In the latter he ends up looking like a glorified extra whenever Hrithik shares the screen. According to Abhishek he did this film to keep the franchise alive. Yeah right! You lip to lipped your own doom for rumor has it that Aamir or SRK is all set to play villain in Dhoom, the third. What he really meant was perhaps he’ll do anything and everything for Yashraj and maybe the bloke wanted to holiday in Brazil with Ash!

Let’s be fair to the guy, he’s a successful today and is married to the most beautiful looking woman in the world in the year 1994. I’m sure Aishwarya fell for the great charm and exuberance that AB’s baby is famous for. Many believe that with the marriage Abhishek has finally shaken off his father’s looming presence…or has he?

Just when you think that the father’s role was over, finally, look what the old man did! His got his son married just the way he wanted to! Can’t provoke the god’s and Chopra’s! Mr. Bachchan proved it once again that the son is still an idiot! I mean he is still the second best in Aishwarya’s case as well. Didn’t the damsel marry a tree before she finally chose to marry Abhishek and what did Pa do about it? Nothing! Actually Pa must have been pleased as a punch that it happened that way!

The marriage was scripted like a run of the mill Hindi film. The press wasn’t invited but still they stood outside Mr. Bachchan’s house for three full days. Dr. Harivanshrai Bachchan, God bless his soul, was not only a great poet but could foresee the future as well for he was the one who christened his son’s first house Prateeksha! Pa and Ma were accompanied by younger brothers and other family members who ran from pillar to post, I mean from temple to temple to appease the gods so that the manglik girl would be ok for the guy! The Youth Icon for India of the year 2004 and the otherwise usually sensible Mr. Anil Ambani aided them in this noble cause…the list could go on and on but I’m sure you know it all and have already seen the hideous clothes worn by Mr. Bachchan and his wife.

I always wondered people do things that is not only against better judgment and also against the image they want to portray? Why would a poster girl for everything modern be all right with the idea of being treated like a performing animal from some traveling circus? Or why’d an educated guy who, in his films says with pride that he’d rather marry a Manglik girl and risk death than not marry her and die for sure in real life choose to do something polar opposite? Why the superstar of the millennium who cries out loud on television and curses for following superstition and not getting their young ones treated for pulse polio?

Perhaps if Aishwarya had only decided to marry herself for why settle for the second best when you can have the best! I guess I’ll never know the answers…

4 Responses to “Second Best”

  • well i didn't know that he has made any statements on manglik in his films !!!!

    so its all down hill for him from now on or is he going to be the superstar his dad became after marriage???
  • did i tell you big b sent sweets to my office a few days ago? we would like to believe it was meant to celebrate his son's wedding. but we have the hunch it's an act of gandhigiri, given that the magazine has carried two articles that haul him over the coals. the first, on why he has become a samajwadi mouthpiece and the second, how he has taken indian to a regressive low.
  • The film in reference is Munnabhai II. The surprise package of the film, Abhishek is the groom that Boman Irani is trying to get his daughter married off and is worried that if the groom's father learns that she's a manglik the marriage won't take place. And Munnabhai saves the day with a little help from his friends- Circuit and the man himself, Bapu.

    Ironically the same Munnabhai goes along with the ‘real’ life marriage that is clouded by the presence of some unwanted guests such as planets, etc, without saying anything! But then maybe I'm expecting too much when I think someone’s on-screen persona should inspire off-screen antics.

    But hey it's better than the other way around...especially in Sanjay Dutt’s case!!
  • good post. but i do know what the public figures do is every one's business. what any one does is only their business and no one else should interfere nor comment! and any father and mother for that matter will do anything to make their son / dughter happy. if they get mental peace by doing all those SILLY things let them be. - mummy
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