Amitabh Bachchan says saying South doing better than Bollywood ‘isn’t right’ | Bollywood

Amitabh Bachchan says saying South doing better than Bollywood ‘isn’t right’ | Bollywood

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday said that the film industry is often held responsible for change in nation’s morality, arguing instead that society has always served as an inspiration for cinema. During his address to the students at the Symbiosis Film Festival in Pune, the 81-year-old screen icon spoke about the criticism the film industry receives as well as the advantages and disadvantages of technological advancement in cinema. (Also Read: Amitabh Bachchan shares Ram Lalla pics after returning from Ram Mandir in Ayodhya: ‘Faith doesn’t possess description’)

Amitabh Bachchan recently addressed the Bollywood vs South debate at an event in Pune
Amitabh Bachchan recently addressed the Bollywood vs South debate at an event in Pune

He attended the inauguration ceremony of the festival, organised by Symbiosis International, along with wife Jaya Bachchan.

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“Many times, the film industry comes under a lot of criticism and all kinds of accusations that you are responsible for changing the morals of the country and changing the attitude of the people. I’m sure that you know Jaya, who has studied formally at the Institute (FTII), would endorse the fact that stories and films are made from experiences that we noticed in nature, in the world, in everyday life, and that is what becomes our inspiration,” the actor said.

Bachchan recalled how his late father, noted poet and writer Harivansh Rai Bachchan, would watch the repeat telecast of many Hindi movies. The actor said his father loved the poetic justice aspect of cinema. “Cinema in itself has its own power. During the last years of my father’s life, every evening he would watch a film on television on cassette. Many times, the films that he saw were repeated. I asked him every evening, ‘You have watched the film, don’t you get bored? What do you find in Hindi cinema?’ He said, ‘I’d get to see poetic justice in three hours. You and I will not get to see poetic justice in a lifetime.’ And that is the learning that cinema gives to all.”

Bachchan also lauded Malayalam and Tamil films for their authenticity, but said it is incorrect to say that South cinema is doing better than the Hindi film industry. “Regional cinema has been doing very well. But when we talk to them, they say they are making the same kind of films that we do in Hindi. They just change the dressing so that they look beautiful. A lot of the people I’ve met said, ‘We are remaking your old films, there’s Deewar, Shakti and Sholay somewhere in all our stories.’ Malayalam and some of the Tamil cinema is authentic and aesthetic. This whole idea of pointing fingers at a particular region and saying that unki aachi chal rahi hai, humari nahi (they are better than us) is not right,” he added.

On a query about the technological advancements in the industry, Bachchan recalled the times when actors were compelled to give their best in the first take as filmmakers could not afford to use film celluloid because of budget constraints.

“We were conscious that we have to get it right in our first take because you’re not getting another opportunity as it meant wasting more film, and that the producer and director would never allow. Now with the chip, it is beneficial. You’re doing about 20-30 retakes, today not because you were bad, but x camera did not get it right. Sometimes, it is an advantage to a director. Sometimes I feel and I’m sure the people of my generation feel the same, I can’t keep on repeating the same thing again. Many times, the modern generation says how do you get it right on the first one? I said there’s a long history behind this. You’re getting an opportunity to improve yourself, we never had that,” he said.

Bachchan also expressed his displeasure about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cinema and on film personalities. The cinema veteran said a lot of people have voiced objections to the face-mapping technology, which was also one of the contentious issues during the twin Hollywood strikes by Writer Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

“All of us are now being subjected to face mapping, our entire body is going to be face mapped and going to be kept aside and used at any point of time,” he said, adding, a popular studio in Mumbai gave him a demonstration of face mapping on Hollywood veteran Tom Hanks.

“A lot of objections are being raised and I believe that there’s some kind of a strike in Hollywood by the artist because the producer and the director does your face mapping, laying claim to it, and saying this is our property and we will use it whenever we want. So there will be a time when Symbiosis will call my AI, and not me personally,” he quipped.

Jaya Bachchan, 75, also spoke at the event and urged the students to not “ape the Western world”.

“I have a request to make to all the students who are here from our country, neighbouring countries and outside… This is my observation, please do not ape the Western world, stick to your countries ethos, culture. For heaven’s sake, stop so much music. We want to see the cinema,” she said.

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