On October 11, fans and cinema lovers celebrated the 80th birthday of acting legend, Amitabh Bachchan. Leading multiplex chain, PVR, in association with Film Heritage Foundation organized a special film festival – Bachchan Back To The Beginning – by re-releasing some of the most iconic Amitabh Bachchan films on the big screen. Over the last week, the association hosted screenings of Bachchan Films at 22 screens and it was a full house for almost every screening in this celebration.
The author on October 11 watched Satte Pe Satta in a jam-packed auditorium in Goregaon. The energy was in the air, as the audience was rooting for every small gesture of the Big B on the Big Screen. Contrary to the generic notion about cinema halls getting filled by 60 plus audience, the auditorium was loaded with the presence of youth, middle-aged couples, and senior citizens. The demographics of the audience indicate that Bachchan is already a humongous pop culture phenomenon, with the youth getting educated about this larger-than-life persona and a megastar called Amitabh Bachchan.
The experience of watching the film was surreal to say the least. It’s like the audience was interacting with Bachchan and Bachchan was interacting with the audience. The atmosphere ensured that one could hear just half of the dialogue in the voice of the big man, as the other half was retold again by the audience. The ambiance during songs like ‘Pyaar Humein’, ‘Satte Pe Satta’, and ‘Dilbar Mere’ was that of a live music concert. Every man in the hall believed, he is Bachchan and every lady in there thought they are Hema Malini – well, that’s the magic of cinema, as it has the potential of transporting us to a world that’s far away from reality.
The jokes and gags, though 40 years old, are as funny and as fresh as if that’s unfolding in front of your eyes for the first time. Kader Khan’s dialogues and Raj Sippy’s direction is as magical today, as they would have been 40 years back on the release of Satte Pe Satta. The idea of Satte Pe Satta on the big screen resulted in the experience of a lifetime. The author wasn’t alive at the peak of Bachchan in the 1970s and 1980s, but this re-release to celebrate his legacy is surely just a small teaser of what might have happened on the ground back in the day. Live long Bachchan… Live long cinema.
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