Thursday, November 02, 2006



It starts with the eyes. Eyes that hold a soul unto themselves… ones marked with a depth that seems to reach all the way to the apogee of the ambit of emotions. Then, there’s the voice. The kinds that shake the cliché of ‘melt-your-knees’ back to its feet. And then there’s everything else that sets apart the legends from the legions; so much apart from the rest that their own paths inevitably had to cross. Coursing pretty ‘dangerously close’ to each other in portions, the paths of Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha were, however, such that only the one looking over their shoulders – the incorrigible Fate – could’ve known that they weren’t destined to meet. Turning 65 this October 11, Amitabh Bachchan was born to noted Hindi litterateur Harivansh Rai Bachchan and his second wife Teji in Allahabad. Ungainly height, spindly legs... Amitabh was simply not the ‘hero-types’ in the industry when the pink-lipped-chocolate- dipped heroes reigned.

Though Saat Hindustani marked his official debut in 1969, it was the zeitgeistic Zanjeer of ’73 that launched the ‘angry young man’ whose tacit tempestuousness revolutionized the concept of the hero in Indian films for ever. And then followed Deewar, Trishul, Sholay, Shakti… everything he touched turned to gold, including Rekha. For the gauche and gaudily-attired 13- year old debutant of Sawan Bhadon (1970), the make-over was nothing short of an alchemical wonder. Born on October 10, 1954, the younger days of the daughter of Tamil cinema’s stalwart Gemini Ganesan and one of his many wives, Pushpavalli, were a blur before she surfaced in Mumbai, her childhood fast forwarded .

Lots of forgettable movies later, her association with Amitabh as lead co-star led to the rise of the revelation called Rekha, rumoured to have been chaperoned by the Big B himself. In the process were produced some supersuccessful films that set the screen afire with more than just their sizzling chemistry – oft en grist for the media mills. From the days of her poor Hindi to ones when she even dubbed her voice for other actresses, Rekha’s flawless inflection was just another case in point to her transformation. Her rendition of ‘Qaida todke…’ in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Khoobsurat’ was just as consummate as any of Amitabh’s popular songs in Mr. Natwarlal, Sharaabi or Silsila.

With a voice that nearly every mimicry artist begins his show with, his baritone was, ironically, rejected at an All India Radio audition! Dejections, though, weren’t things that went away with their initial days of struggle. As age began to show, the press was quick to write off Amitabh with his films flopping one after the other in the early 90s. To add to Bachchan’s bag of woes, his company Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) ran into huge debts following their efforts of hosting the Miss World Pageant in Bangalore in 1996. Rekha, however, was more hit on the personal front as two of her marriages met fatal failure, with the death of her husbands – actor Vinod Mehra and businessman Mukesh Aggarwal – each time. But then almost in evidence of their deified dimensions, they rose to subsume success and sanity once again.

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Source:- IIPM-Business and Economy, 2006
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