Dashavatar: 10 Avatars of Amitabh Bachchan- Part I

First things First!Happy Birthday Mr.Bachchan. Janamdin ki Haardik Shubhkaamnaye!!

Secondly, this post has no religious inclination whatsoever, and I am not comparing Mr.Bachchan to any religious figure period. So, please don’t send me any hate mails or threats to take this down. This is just one of those fandom posts which have been churned out, out of immense pyaar and bhakti of the onscreen personification of innumerable and yet memorable avatars of Mr. Bachchan [ I'll from here on refer to him as Mr.B]. So what is this post all about? This is about the ten maha-charitra-fication of Mr.B in his long film career in Indian cinema. It is not about the charitra [ the character] in the sense that I will not be focussing on the characterisation i.e. the behavioural and interactive side of the avatars. [ That'll be covered in the 2nd part of this series, so keep watching this space]. This post has got to do more with the outward appearance and somewhat “larger than life” image that Mr.B has brought to celluloid. It’d be unfair to praise Mr.B’s avatars without mentioning the various film-makers, make-up artists and simply put ideators who  originally pre-conceived these images, before they were made into screen legends. I think we are clear with the concept of this post so far, so let’s countdown. [ Disclaimer: This has got more to do with my tastes than anything else ]

#10: Subhash Nagre-Sarkar


RGV’s Sarkar and Sarkar Raj has given us one of the most memorable onscreen image of Mr.B. There is no second thoughts about how much larger than life this character is. The grey hair, the black kurta, the black lungi with the golden border, the red tilak and the rudraksh mala. Add to that the seriousness in the face, and we have a screen scorcher.

#9: Sikandar – Mukaddar ka Sikandar / Baadshah Khan – Khuda Gawah


The number 9 spot is tied with these two characters set more than 10 years apart. Sikandar from MKS is here just because of the uber-cool jacket-wearing and bike-riding macho-image that he exudes. No one was cooler than Sikander who can lip-sync  to Kishore da on “Rote Hue..Aate Hai Sab”, and add to that ‘Ghane Mulayam Kaale Baal’ fluttering to the Mumbai wind[ which had lesser CO then].

Khuda Gawah’s Badshah Khan is a Kabuli Pathan. He plays Buzkashi and eye-liners with turbans and extremely detailed pathanis. He romances onscreen diva Sridevi in an extreme bejeweled avatar. And yes, beards never looked so perfect on Mr.B. Need any more reasons?

#8: Ali -Ajooba


For details on why this is at no.8, see image above.

Leather suit: check
Eye-blinding mask-disguise: check
Shadowfax lookalike White-horse : check
Mr B with all of the above: check

#7. Vijay – Don


More than the uber-cool and daring Don persona portrayed by Mr.B in this movie, I was drawn towards the rustic, paan-chewing and extremely desi Vijay. Vijay’s entry is not advisable in today’s Mumbai as he spits on the streets. And then again, the song was “Eee hai Bambaai Nagariya ..Tu Dekh Babua”. I wonder what Bhope Bhau [ from Kaminey] would like to say about it. But nevertheless, the Kaajal, the Red Shirt, the Paan-Red Honth and the white tilak work. And this is just one of the two double roles of Mr.B featured on this list.

#6. Ravi Anand/Babu – Satte Pe Satta


The second double role feature of Mr.B on this list. One of them – Ravi Anand wears leather boots in true western style, gives a shit about personal hygiene until he meets his lady love, and controls his six brothers with a whistle. One of the best team chants of all time – Chain Khuli ki Main Khuli ki Chain – was originated with this movie. In a word, a complete bloke.

The other – Babu has an awesome criminal record, the looks which match Ravi Anand, and yes, the eyeliners and contacts to give Sridevi’s Nagina a run for her money. Seriously, one of the best make-up transformation that we’ve seen been done on Mr.B

#5. VijayVerma – Deewaar


There is just one scene in which the angry young man persona of Mr.B leaps out of the screen. Of course, it started with Mr.B’s Insp.Vijay Khanna pulling away the chair from Sher Khan in Zanjeer. But the peak of the angry man is in the warehouse scene. Blue Shirt with white stitches, Beedi smoke, White rope on the shoulder, and a 786 Billa on the left arm. Dark stubble and a cocky look saying

“Peter, Tum Log Mujhe dhundh rahe ho,..aur main tumhara yaha intezaar kar raha tha”.

What follows next is shown here.

#4. Arjun Singh – Namak Halaal


The Golden Sherwani and the Pink Pagdhi with the strongest starch that Bollywood has ever seen. Add to that Bappi da’s Pag Ghungroo Bandh, and Mr.B explains the importance of Pani-Sa …Ma-Pani. We’ll not go into the Arjun Singh vald Bheem Singh vald Dasarath Singh dialogues because that’ll span across volumes. Let’s just keep it to Pag Ghungroo avatar. Arjun Singh can dance with disco divas and yet point out ..

“Aapka to Lagta Hai Bas Yahee Sapna, Ram Nam Japna, Paraya Maal Apna”.

Have I got anything left to say? And oh yes, Arjun Singh is absolutely daring enough to express his love for Poonam [Smita Patil] – remember : Dil Cheer ke Dikhladu Main…Dil Mein Yahee Surat Haseen. ROFL. So he’s a fashion guru, a dance diva who can do Robot, explain Raagas and also express love lyrically. Phew! No.4 I say.

#3. Anthony Gonzalves – Amar Akbar Anthony


Utterly mad. That’s how I’ll describe Anthony Gonzalves. His different disguises in this single movie are just beyond my power of comprehension. The church father with the goatee in the climax, or the drunk Anthony ranting in front of the mirror [ one of those legendary moments which broke the rewind button on my remote]. But the one that absolutely stands out is the giant-Easter-egg entry of Anthony Gonzalves announcing his arrival in the song – My Name is Anthony Gonzalves. Trivia: Anthony Gonzalves was the music teacher of the music director duo – Laxmikant Pyarelal. Dressed in a black suit and bell-bottom trousers, he had Kholi No.420 written on his bottom, a monocle with a Golden chain and an umbrella to complement. Hmm….reminds me of the Penguin. He educates us by telling us that..

” You know the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the hemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity.”

Hang on, does he deserve to be here on no.3? Read on.

#2. Kishan Kumar – Yaarana


A story of a Popstar in the making – in the year 1981. Certainly, a movie way ahead of its time. And the costumes agree. I remember my friends wrapping themselves up in Diwali lights not knowing how to keep them intermittently glowing. The song “Sara Zamana” shot in Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata, was a huge rage then, and is still now. Of course, I was born two years after Yaarana was released, but Chitrahaar spread the awesomeness that “Sara Zamana” had. Do you think we could have got a better no.2?

#1. Vijay Kumar Srivastav – Shahenshah


The title that became associated with Mr.B in the later years. He is truly the Shahenshah (emperor) of Bollywood. But coming back to the list, and why Shahenshah features at no.1 of this list. If you don’t know by now, watch this scene from the movie here. [ Time stamp: 1:30 onwards]. The hair, the costume, the grin and the ambience that surrounds him is larger than any form of life. The sound disturbance in between his dialogues as he speaks:

” Risthe main to hum tumhare Baap hote hai…[sound disturbance]..Naam hai..Shahenshah”

..is (for the absence of any other word) immortal. It has been spoofed over and over again and you know what, it really doesn’t matter. The original scene of him stepping out of the darkness, as his face is revealed is one of the biggest screen scorchers of all time. And so, Shahenshah is the no.1 on this list.

There you go. I have toiled a lot and brainstormed a lot as well on this list to churn out the best 10 avatars of Mr.B’s films. Thanks to Beth for the screencaps from AjoobaYaarana and Satte Pe Satta.

What did you think about this list? Was it good, bad, ugly or utterly wrong? Lemme know your thoughts and also, shout aloud in the comments of who else could have been included or excluded from this list. And yes, share the love by sharing this post via facebook, twitter, digg etc. Cheers people and Part 2 will be up soon. And again, to conclude -

Happy Birthday Mr. Amitabh Bachchan

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12 thoughts on “Dashavatar: 10 Avatars of Amitabh Bachchan- Part I

  1. No Sholay? Thank God! My no.1 wud be ‘Baadshah Khan’. (and HUM) Actually i’m not a big fan of Mr.B, but its the childhood memories, for which i like Ajooba, Shehenshah and Mr.Natwarlal..

    Gre8 post! I’m wondering, wht’s left 4 part 2 ?

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Tiger from Hum is a good choice I believe. At least the black loose shirt, and Jumma Chumma of course.

    As for part 2: I’ll be dealing with more on the character side rather than the outward appearances, as done in this post.

    Such as, Shahenshah will not be no.1 in part 2, coz he’s on this list primarily because of the looks. But part 2 will have names like Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. etc.
    And of course, expect Sholay, Zanjeer,..won’t reveal the whole list yet.

    [Reply]

  2. Fine post! Amitabh’s unrivaled, I tell you. Shakti and Sharabi would make my top 10. Liked that you included Sarkar and Deewaar, he’s perfect for those roles! From this decade, have you seen ‘Family — Ties of Blood’ and ‘The Last Lear’?

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    We all love and worship Mr. Bachchan and he’s indeed the ambassador of Indian cinema.
    As for Shakti and Sharabi, I don’t believe that they had striking outward appearances and looks to make it to this list, as part 1 of the top 10 avatars was all about the looks [ as I mentioned in my reply to Darshit ].
    So we have Shahenshah and Kishan from Yaarana making it to the list.

    However part 2 will be all about the charitra chitran rather than the baahari bhesh-bhusha. :) [ My Hindi teacher is gona be so proud of me if she reads this ]

    So, I’ll certainly include Agneepath, Anand, ….wait for the whole list…coming up soon.

    And oh yeah, 10th of Oct was Rekha’s birthday as well, so I am thinking of writing a post on her too.

    And sorry, I haven’t seen either of Last Lear and Family. I’m a bit scared of watching Last Lear frankly. Rituparno Ghosh’s work is a bit too intellectual for my tastes. [The only film of his that I liked was a Bengali film called Dahan].

    [Reply]

  3. NICE POST PAR SEQUEL JALDI LANA.IT WAS VERY INTERESTING N QUITE NEW.ACTUALLY WE ALL BACHCHAN FANS WANT TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH BACHCHAN SAABS MOVIES.ALL IN ALL IT WAS VERY GOOD.
    WHAT ABOUT GANGA KI SAUGANDH OR LAWARIS?
    LOOKING FORWARD FOR THE NEXT PART.

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    Sequel jald hi aayega…Thanks for the appreciative comments.

    Hmm. I totally forgot about Lawaris. Mere Angne Main itself had many avatars. Thanks for reminding me. It could have at least been a tie at no.10 :P

    Cheers, and keep watching this space for the sequel.

    [Reply]

  4. It’s nice Bro !

    Where is Coolie ?! The Red shirt, Beedi holding BIG B !

    Also Mr Sukumar Sinha of Chupke Chupke. Setting his Spects & ‘Aap log to kuchh samjhte hi nai hai na !’ I feel that’s the best comic role played by Mr B.

    The ‘Pony tail’ of Cheeni Kum !

    Must say a Good effort :-)

    Bikram

    [Reply]

    Sujoy Reply:

    I guess Coolie’s Red Shirt and Beedi smoking Big B is over-exceeded by Vijay from Deewar who wears a blue shirt, and also smoke Beedi. But, he becomes a rich gangster. On the other hand, Coolie’s Iqbal took bullets and survived, and ended up singing “Accident Ho Gaya Rabba Rabba in the ending credits”, whereas Vijay takes his brother’s bullets and dies in Maa Nirupa Roy’s arms. Enough reasons to choose Vijay, innit.

    English teacher Sukumar Sinha as the best comic role – well, you are entitled to your opinion. For me, the best comic role was deffo in Amar Akbar Anthony. And Chupke Chupke’s comical moments is majorly contributed by Dharam-jee.

    Pony Tail of Cheeni Kum didn’t work for me. Seriously Ghaas Phoos it was.

    Thanks a lot Bikram for the lovely appreciative comments, and do come back for the sequel of the post soon.

    [Reply]

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