Amitabh Bachchan recently joined the league of global luminaries like Dalai Lama, Amartya Sen, Abdul Kalam, etc; when he gave this year’s Annual Penguin Lecture. The Penguin Lecture is organised by Penguin Publications and the luminaries invited to speak; speak on a topic of their choice. Amitabh Bachchan spoke about cinema; specifically, Indian Cinema.
He went on to say that feature films are the great popular passion of India, cutting across all social divides of caste, class, gender, region, religion and language. They absorbed all other performing arts from here and abroad, and churned. Commenting on how intensely passionate Indians are about films, he said “This filmi nectar is an ambrosia so intoxicating, that it has achieved what no Indian politician has ever done, could ever dream of. In our cinema, the bad guys always come to no good.”
He also said Indian films have no borders and boundaries; they extend beyond all lines and unite people. “Our post-independence cinema played centre-stage creating Nehru’s vision of India, where both cinema, elitism and populism produced a new sense of distinction and a collective imagination. What it does… is that it unites an entire people. And it goes beyond that – our cinema respects no national borders. It unites peoples,” said Bachchan, in his captivating baritone.
“Indian cinema doesn’t have a nuclear bomb, it never suffers a recession. How easily it is dismissed as – and here’s a word I just hate using – ‘Bollywood’. Degenerate, trivial, trashy, flashy hocus-pocus. Because, ‘you see the whole country of this system is juxtaposition by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity’. Trashy hocus-pocus!” added Big B.