Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Udham Singh Show

In the plethora of effortlessly mediocre and conformantly non-comformat programming that MTV and Channel V habitually assails the bubble-gummer generation, probably the most forgettable must have been the Udham Singh Show, featuring a man in a shawl and with a stick spewing incoherence. This was the 90s and there can be no sane reason for me to remember that show except for the fact one episode featured Amitabh Bachchan.

Growing up as part of a generation that worshipped Amitabh Bachchan (and still does) I have seen hall full of people being elated by his performance across the country, convulsed by his comedy, mellowed by his voice or reduced to tears by his heart-rending performances in movies such as Abhiman (my favourite), Shakti or Mukkadar ke Sikandar.

But never have I cried so hard, so long and with so much agony in my heart as I did after seeing him in the Udham Singh show. Here was the greatest star ever in the entire world of moviedom and of all times; unsure and uncharacteristically hesitant trying to engage in a nonsensical banter with someone (Munish Makhija, who played Udham Singh) who probably had no idea what or who he was dealing with. The wise-cracks of Udham Singh were abysmal contrasting Amitabh's dignity that silently stood witness to the star that he is.

This show happened at a time when a short-sighted media and know-all movie pundits had virtually written him off as yesterday's news. His political career had collapsed like a pack of cards, all his recent movies had flopped and it appeared as though the Bachchan juggernaut was about to topple over. And the show was probably the lowest point where even his most loyal admirers became fearful that it might indeed happen. Little did we know, that it was a Gaint's struggle to get back on his feet again.

The fighter Amitabh Bachchan, unmindful of his baiters, quietly but with unwavering determination forged ahead. He is a human and made several mistakes in his way, the first avatar of ABCL and the Miss World Show were decided disasters, but the legend that he is he made the best of every situation and soared higher still. Then one fine day KBC happened, Amitabh Bachchan was back again with the sound of hundred trumpets and drums to reclaim his rightful place at the head of table and dazzle the world anew and afresh.

I think Udham Singh Shows happen in everybody's life at some point of time or other, maybe even more than once sometimes. But the sign of one's true mettle is to have the courage to live through it during the time that one has to and then turn that show off to move on to things bigger and better. After all we have the example of Star of the Millennium showing us how to do that with dignity and elan.For me Amitabh Bachchan truely personifies the ideal protagonist of the Agnipath that we call Life.

Vruksh ho bhale khade,
Ho ghane, ho bade,
Ek patra chaa bhi,
Mag maat, mag maat, mag maat
Agnipath, Agnipath, Agnipath

Tu na thakega kabhi,
Tu na thamega kabhi,
Tu na mudega kabhi,
Kar shapath, kar shapath, kar shapath
Agnipath, Agnipath, Agnipath

Yeh maahan drushya hai,
Chal raha manushya hai,
Ashru, shwet, rakth se,
Lathpat, lathpat, lathpat
Agnipath, Agnipath, Agnipath

- Harivansh Rai Bachchan