The band of people behind Big B's magic
Behind Amitabh Bachchan's iconic looks are a band of people who work their magic fingers on the star. But it's not just his appearance but also his aura that makes him a superstar and an absolute delight to work with
'Mr Bachchan shocked me instead'
Leepakshi Ellawadi, stylist for Bbuddah - Hoga Terra Baap, talks about her experience of going shopping with Big B
“I thought Bachchan Sir would be shocked by my styling but he shocked me instead. I was asked by the film’s director Puri Jagannath to make a mental picture of the man after hearing his lingo in the film, and then style him. It was decided to make Big B look peculiar, a bit outlandish. He accompanied me on a shopping trip in London. We picked up a lot of stuff including several high-end labels. He’d keep asking if he’d be able to carry them off and if it would look good on him. I would tell him “You are Amitabh Bachchan, you can carry off anything!”
‘Mr Bachchan doesn't need styling’
Fashion designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, who’ve known Bachchan for over two decades, tell us how the superstar manages to make every look his very own:
“The man is a tour de force, not a mannequin. He is a chameleon; an adventurous and a consummate professional. He is a delight to work with when it comes to designing his wardrobe or shoots. Always ready to experiment, he’s equally at home in a kurta pyjama or in a smoking jacket. And manages to make it ‘his’ look. He is a connoisseur and really knows his stuff. From clothes to accessories, he’s passionate about beautiful things. Like all stylish people he’s always bigger than anything he wears.”
He is the ultimate dude’
A self-proclaimed Bachchan fan, Balki has directed the actor twice
“The only memories of my movie making are with Amitabh Bachchan. I first met him when I was doing an ad with him. I read my script to him in his own voice as that’s the only way I can speak Hindi. Suddenly I looked up at him and he was looking at me with that trademark blank expression of his. Suddenly I had these 100 million thoughts in my mind and I ran from there. However, I haven’t learned from my mistake and I have made that mistake every time I’ve narrated anything to him. I can say his poker-faced wit, humour and his patience are three things about him that I cannot forget. For me, he is the ultimate dude.”
‘Bachchanji is the only No. 1 hero’
Make-up artiste Deepak Sawant has been working with Big B since the past 40 years, almost becoming the superstar’s shadow.
The only thing that matters to Amitabh is his work. His best assets are his hard work and his concentration.
As soon as Amitabhji reaches on the sets, he does not waste a single minute and starts reading the scene or his dialogues. He does several rehearsals and then goes for a take.
I enjoyed working most on Black. Even if he has to sit for five hours of make-up, he does not get tired at all. In Black, it was tough to hide his original beard and show extra wrinkles. In the Bhojpuri film I produced, I gave him three looks; he managed to pull off all of them!
‘India is lucky to have him’
Karan Johar grew up watching Bachchan and even today, the 40-year-old filmmaker sounds like a child in awe of his superhero.
“Given the time span and the extent of his achievements, I believe the word legend doesn’t do justice to Amitji. When he enters the room, he just overawes everyone! Even today, I touch his feet whenever we meet, be it in Mumbai, London or New York. That’s part of my body language and I don’t have to pretend. The respect just flows naturally. That’s just the kind of the man he is. He manages to command such respect just with his humility. India is lucky to have him. Nobody could fill his shoes. In fact, nobody should even try.”
‘He donated '10 lakh’
Big B’s junior at Nainital’s Sherwood College, Dalip Tahil also later shared screen space with the veteran actor
“My very first scene for Shaan that was also my first commercial Hindi film, was shot with Bachchansaab at Pali Naka in Bandra. Then again in 1986, I invited him to my marriage in Allahabad. At that time he was a MP from there. To my great surprise he made it a point to attend the wedding. About a decade ago, some students from Sherwood were keen to stage the play One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in Mumbai to raise funds for a squash court. He readily agreed to be chief guest. He not only came on time but also sat through the whole play. He even donated '10 lakh for the cause.”