Sarkar 3 writer pays his tribute to Amitabh Bachchan on megastar's 75th birthday

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Over the last four decades Amitabh Bachchan has delivered some of the most memorable performances in the history of Indian cinema. This includes his turns in films like Zanjeer, Deewaar, Sholay, Coolie, Main Azad Hoon, Agnipath, Black, Mohabbatein, Sarkar, Sarkar Raj, Piku, and Pink. Some of the greatest screenwriters of Hindi cinema have heaped praise on his remarkable screen presence and dialog delivery. Renowned screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar said: "Talented people like Amitabh Bachchan are very rare. The kind of work he has done and the example he has set through his work in all these years is a paradigm to all.” Salim Khan, who co-wrote classics like Zanjeer and Deewar with Akhtar, too has always maintained that it was Bachchan’s talent and personality that made all those characters so effective.  Other writers who have written screenplays or dialogues for Bachchan too have praised Bachchan’s ability to deliver an ordinary line in an extraordinary manner. 

One young screenwriter named P Jaya Kumar who wrote the screenplay of Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar 3 sees Bachchan not as a man but a phenomenon. On the occasion of Bachchan’s 75th birthday, P Jaya Kumar shares his views about what the legendary actor means to Hindi cinema while touching upon his experience of working with him on Sarkar 3.


Q. We all are aware of Amitabh Bachchan's strong work ethics. Tell us about your experience of working with Amitabh Bachchan.

Books could be written about his personality which can fill the up the entire space of the biggest library in the world. As a performer he is the personification of all the superlative qualities of a professional actor. One observation that I find worth mentioning is that he comprehends his character so precisely that he actually directs the character. And he does that with an absolute sense of reassurance, so much artfully superior to any other cast and crew including the director.

I remember an incident from the very first photo shoot for Sarkar 3. It started and everything was so unorganized that someone from the costume department gave Mr. Bachhan a saffron shawl to go with the black kurta. I was the one to point it out as contrived. He was very much responsive as he immediately looked at me, smiled and said, "May the force be with you." I was left star struck.   

Such is the intensity of his presence that there's a godlike might in his behavior, silence, and fetishistic portraits out of which I’m supremely lucky of having the opportunity of writing and creating one—Sarkar, for its second sequel.

Q. Subhash Nagre is an iconic character. How challenging was it to do justice to it while writing the screenplay for Sarkar 3?

What motivated me to write Sarkar 3 was the temptation to see Mr. Amitabh Bachhan undo and then outdo what that has been done by the heroes of his previous films. Subhash Nagre for me doesn't exist anymore. He's transcended to Sarkar, the legend. The mythological mystique, the physical audacity, the grace, and the instinct he possesses have inspired precisely the right amount of awe in me in creating the legendary Sarkar character.

Q. Did you have any differences with Mr. Bachchan or Ram Gopal RGV in the manner you interpreted the Subhash Nagre character?

Before the work started I had a lot of disagreements as in every other synopsis RGV worked out for Sarkar 3 we had Sarkar dying in the end. I hated them all for that reason. RGV told me even Mr. Bachhan had the same issue. That's when I heard for the first time what Bachhan had in mind. The mutual agreement gave me a lot of inspiration. After giving the first narration I left the place without asking for his opinion, thus leaving it up to him and RGV to take the decision. I didn't want to hear it from him in case he didn't like it. Then he called me up to the office again and told me that my screenplay is undoubtedly the most superior, the most dynamic so far in the series, and that most importantly it is closest to what he has been able to relate to as the actor who in Sarkar trilogy.

Q. Tell us about how Amitabh Bachchan has influenced you in your artistic journey thus far?

Each time I think of him, I am more and more swept away by the power of his close ups and eyes as opposed to traditionally showing off the abs, his nuanced gestures which highly heighten the dramatic reality of fiction, his minimal yet highly powerful dialogue and lines which outline the legendary characterizations, his explosive persona harnessed with a subtle yet simmering energy. Such is the power of his gripping and compulsively watchable presence. 

But his heroism as I understood is not just about the physical aspects, it is about his inherent intensity in demonstrating it. That's why he is still standing rock solid even after all these years. In that way he is art.

Q. What was your first reaction when you learnt that you would be writing for Mr. Bachchan

I was working on the interior design of RGV's office Company when RGV told that he needs me on Sarkar 3. I was so arrested by the thought. It was much like matchmaking for me with the only difference being that my thoughts were going to be presented in front of the legend Mr. Bachchan. With this in my head, I started working.

Q. How involved was Mr. Bachchan in Sarkar 3 at a creative level?

He directed his character Sarkar way better than the director did it himself. For instance, if he felt something was going wrong, he was very quick to say in the middle of the shoot, "Ramu, this is not right." It's not strange for a person who has lived some 200 odd lives of characters through the movies he did over time.

Q. How do you see Mr. Bachchan's contribution to Hindi cinema?

Millions of us all over of this country including me as an audience feel the impact of this man's phenomenon, power, presence and persona which has now completed 75 surprising years.

He has never been afraid of the travails and tribulations of playing unconventional parts; he illustrated with the sort of stupefying brilliance, magnetism and charisma beneath the charming front, his febrile and ferocious ability to play off every character with a ruthless premeditation. The startling roles emanated strong currents that came to the surface of Indian cinema with unlimited yet self tempered force and daring which enlarged the scope and deepened the meaning of the canvas of Indian cinema.

Q. What message would you like to give Mr. Bachchan on the occasion of his 75th birthday?


Your presence whether it's physical or emotional moves me so profoundly that for me you are the only hero who speaks with his actions, whose performances take me on never before emotionally charged and exhilarating rides, whose characters excel far beyond the films.

Your hero is always an enigmatic and a reserved individual who lives by his very distinctive code with a core that is the ultimate testimony to the power, the will to fight, and the courage to stand against evil with a sense of justice and a sense of danger of a character only an Amitabh Bachchan can bring. This understanding of mine is not limited to your hero's power, dynamism, aggression, charisma, larger than life emotions, aura, but it is also aimed at the ultimate showcasing of your quiet, volcanic power which gave me goosebumps when I was a kid watching your movies.

It goes without saying that the true value of any piece of art can only be from an individual's perception, and in my perception, you are not an artist but art in its uniqueness.

We as audience over the years have watched all transformations of Amitabh Bachchan—it was sometimes a burning unexpected mutation, sometimes a metamorphosis, and the passage from one state to another.

Many writers and directors have tried to harness the charm of your intensity with a highly classical approach and present you in a form that no one has ever seen or heard. As you lent your energy of unparalleled intensity, many directors refined the crudities of their artistry and many writers salvaged their narrative dignity. I wish every filmmaker to take your acceptance to be a part of their work as the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity of their life to redeem themselves so as to achieve the ultimate creative superiority.

Having said that, on the whole as in a visual narrative, the story is relevant only as much as it is by design a tool for the express purpose of vastly magnifying the characters. But over the years you transcended the division between the character and the storyline and proved that both are one and have the same meaning because the central story is nothing but the central character's vision. That's why you are the true definition and redefinition of hero and you will continue to be so.

Many many happy returns of the day.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.