Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
His popularity is unprecedented, his charisma is unquestioned. He is one of Hindi cinema’s most beloved icon, enduring megastar and every aspirant's dream to work with or opposite.
Call him Vijay, Shahenshah or Big B, Amitabh Bachchan, like Shakespeare’s analogical rose, by any other name, is still Amitabh Bachchan.
Speaking of the bard, can the stage be far behind? Bachchan’s taken the stage by storm for decades now. Whether it’s a concert, awards ceremony or film song, keeping the audience glued to their seats comes naturally to the superstar.
On his 71st birthday, we celebrate Bollywood’s grandest entertainer and his most musical silver screen moments on stage.
After liberally referencing his stardom in Bbuddah... Hoga Terra Baap, AB rattles off his lines in breathless speed, a la Anthony Gonsalves, for the title track of Bol Bachchan.
Though only a star cameo, he delivers the ‘Bol’ with such infectious merriment in the company of his son, Abhishek and son-like Ajay Devgn for Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal-inspired farce, you’re likely to overlook the sequined wardrobe.
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Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom
The grand climax of Shaad Ali’s glossy but lacking musical, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom features an elaborate dance competition between two couples (Abhishek Bachchan-Lara Dutta and Bobby Deol-Preity Zinta).
Lending some genuine ‘jhoom’ to the contest is our man Bachchan, bizarre costume notwithstanding.
Na na na na na re, Mrityudaata
Though his 1997 comeback film sank without trace, Amitabh rocked the podium with his energetic jig alongside Daler Mehendi against Mrityudaata’s best-known song.
This was the Bhangra pop singer’s first attempt at playback singing. He’s sung hit tracks for films like Rang De Basanti, Maqbool and Singh is Kinng since.
Mohammed Rafi tu bahut yaad aaya, Kroadh
Sanjay Dutt and Sunny Deol signed up for Shashilal K Nair’s long-forgotten action drama, Kroadh.
But that’s not significant.
What’s worth the price of admission is Big B’s starry persona in a special appearance (as self) where he pays tribute to the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi in Mohammed Aziz’s booming voice.
Main Jaadugar, Jaadugar
Prakash Mehra and AB failed to create any magic with their final film together, Jaadugar.
Incidentally, the actor plays a magician named Goga and this song, high on tricks and razzmatazz, marks his glorious introduction to the audience.
Log Kehte Hain, Sharaabi
The Prakash Mehra-Amitabh Bachchan pairing proved much more fruitful in Sharabi.
Here, his character, modeled around Dudley Moore’s Arthur, is habitually drunk and buys an entire auditorium to watch Jaya Prada’s dance.
In his excitement, he subsequently joins her on stage and overwrites her upbeat Mujhe naulakha dila de with his brooding Log kehte hai ke main sharabi hoon.
Saara zamana, Yaarana
Besides the classic tongue twister, Kacha papad pakka papad, the film is remembered for his LED loaded bodysuit in the chartbuster, Saara zamana.
Amitabh Bachchan plays a singer in the ever-delightful Yaarana, which offers him ample opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.
Dostana humara, Dostana
At a school function for ex-students, BFFs AB and Shatrughan Sinha get together and pay ode to their unbreakable bond in true filmi fashion.
Needless to say, the sentiments of the song are tested when Zeenat Aman catches their collective fancy in the remainder of the movie.
Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon, Kabhi Kabhie
As the eloquent poet of Kabhi Kabhie, Bachchan has a lot to articulate about through Sahir Ludhianvi’s throbbing lyrics.
And he does that with understated charm even as his clearly captivated audience, an ethereal Raakhee in particular, looks on.
O saathi re, Muqaddar Ka Sikander
Charity events in movies usually amount to a song recital by the hero or dance performance by the heroine.
And that’s precisely the backdrop of Big B’s heartrending nostalgia; as he wields the microphone and pours out his heart, in once again, a Prakash Mehra film.
Meet na mila, Abhimaan
Ego amidst marriage and music is the premise of Hrishikesh Mukerjee’s delicate marital drama, Abhimaan.
Playing a successful singer is Bachchan, who both -- opens (Meet na mila) and ends (Tere mere milan) -- the film with a song on stage
Kya jaanu mein, Bandhe Haath
Before achieving phenomenal success, Amitabh Bachchan played a crook masquerading as a poet in O P Ralhan's tale of lookalikes, Bandhe Haath.
The tall star looks every bit at home regaling the crowd with a lilting RD Burman melody.