Two new Bollywood films starring Amitabh Bachchan that were released simultaneously last month, have become big hits, proving once again that even at the age of 64 years Big B remains the darling of the Indian box office.
Interestingly, the two hits are contrasting stories. One is a romantic comedy in which Amitabh Bachchan woos a woman young enough to be his daughter, while the other a gangster flick called "Shootout At Lokhandwala", where he plays a lawyer who saves trigger-happy policemen from the law. The two films opened on May 25 to rave reviews and an impressive box office response, once again proving Amitabh's versatility and reaffirming his status as an industry legend, critics said.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]Cheeni Kum (Less Sugar), the romantic comedy, succeeded because of humour, whereas a similar, bold Lolita-like story also starring Bachchan and released this year, failed because conservative Indians rejected its sexual undertone. According to trade pundits, a film -like Cheeni Kum signifies the winds of change in Bollywood!
There is little doubt that Amitabh Bachchan proves his supremacy yet again. Playing an arrogant chef, the actor is natural all through. Not only is Cheeni Kum doing very well with urban audiences, as expected, but it is also slowly picking up in small towns. Amitabh's has had a powerful hold over Indian audiences for over three decades, and even now, roles are written exclusively to suit his age. He has had four releases so far this year and three more are due to open around the end of the year.
Big B's popularity is not limited to the big screen though. He is also among the most sought-after celebrities by the advertising industry and endorses an array of products, from cars to chocolates. In Cheeni Kum, Amitabh is a confirmed bachelor living with his 85-year-old mother and his only friend and confidante is a nine-year-old girl with cancer. An arrogant, egoistic and pompous man with a singular passion in life - cooking - Amitabh's first encounters with the 34-year-old heroine are fraught with tension. But against all odds they fall in love and go to the girl's father - who is six years younger than the prospective groom - for consent to marry.