Amitabh Bachchan was chosen for the annually held lecture by the Penguin books much to the joy of the cinema-loving Indians.In the past, prominent people like journalist Thomas Friedman, writer Chris Patten, economist Amartya Sen, historian Ramachandra Guha, Dalai Lama and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam have all given the lecture. A handsome looking Amitabh Bachchan clad in a black formal suit took over the Penguin Annual Lecture 2013 podium and got the audiences deeply engaged in nice and long speech by him.
Amitabh spoke mostly of his deceased father, the poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and all the precious conversations that he has had with him. He said that when he was invited, he was really happy how Indian Cinema has managed to get the respect that it did not have in the past. “Cinema was looked down as something infra dig 50 to 60 years ago” he said and how getting invited to this event of “prestigious and of novel importance” meant a lot to him.
Talking about the low literacy rates of the state, he said “Everyone can watch a Hindi film, but they cannot read a book.” Being the UN ambassador for the girl child, he said he would like to build a school meant only for girls. “I’ll try again to build a girl’s school.True equality will only emerge when the whole culture embraces the importance of girl child education” he said, speaking on the issue.
Amitabh Bachchan at the Penguin annual lecture 2013 also addressed some pressing issues of the country like trafficking, prostitution, acid attacks, dowry deaths and bride burning.