With producer Anand Pandit’s Chehre directed by Rumi Jaffrey on release, here’s looking at 5 of the mighty Bachchan’s finest suspense thrillers from the past.
1. Parwana(1971): In this pre-Zanjeer suspense thriller the Big B was cast as an obsessive lover who decides to eliminate his object of adoration’s father when the old man refuses to let his daughter marry the stalker. The elaborate murder-alibi plan was to die for. Directed by Jyoti Swaroop who made one of Indian cinema’s most successful comedies Padosan, Parwana features Big B in one of his most underrated performances.
2. Majboor(1974): Salim-Javed’s clever adaptation of the Charles Bronson thriller Cold Sweat featured the Big B as a man who owns up to a murder he did not commit. The film directed by Ravi Tandon(ravishing Raveena’s dad) has many twists and turns that keep us glued to the end.Released during the same year as Manoj Kumar’s Roti Kapada Aur Makaan where the Big B shone in the third lead, Majboor was one of Salim-Javed’s most finely scripted plots with twists that gave the suspense thriller a push upwards.
3. Benaam(1974): Based On Alfred Hithcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much this underrated thriller directed by the highly underrated Narendra Bedi had the Big B and Moushumi Chatterjee as a workingclass couple whose only child is kidnapped after they witness a murder. The film had a terrific theme song composed by R D Burman and sung by Narendra Chanchal.
4. Wazir(2016): Written by producer Vinod Chopra, along with Abhijat(Munnabhai) Joshi,Supriya Kelkar and Suketu Mehta this is quite comfortably the best Bachchan thriller in years.Our heart never stops leaping into our mouths at the twists and turns that the characters encounter in their journey towards an apocalyptic finale. The narrative displays the kind of fluent unpredictable and original writing that we would like to see more often in Hindi cinema.If only!....In its 1 hour and 40 minutes of playing-time Wazir gives us no time to stop and ruminate. The pace, though frenetic, never lacks in grace. Director Bejoy Nambiar whose two films so far Shaitaan and David are among my favourites in recent years, is a master of the craft. His visual aesthetics are completely affiliated to the characters’ innerspace. Since neither Mr Bachchan nor Farhan’s characters have much to celebrate or feel happy about, the film is shot, by cinematographer Sanu Verghese in dark brooding shades that suggest a tragic malfunction in the way God and politics work in our country.
5. Badlaa(2018): Amitabh Bachchan plays Badal Gupta, a hotshot lawyer on the verge of retirement who has never lost a case. Badal goes for the kill when he is invited to look into a case of a murder accused, a nonchalant imperturbable married woman named Naina Sethi (Taapsee Pannu) whose morals are so reprehensible they make Indrani Mukerjea seem excusably misguided in comparison. Most of the time there are just Mr Bachchan and his accused (far from a victim) talking, exchanging barbed words and slanted glances that give nothing away. As we know the Big B is adept at using words to express more than just what they want to say.There is a third crucial character, played by the powerful Amrita Singh who makes even an offer for a cup of tea seem like a stern rebuke. It’s a pity that there isn’t much of Ms Singh with Mr Bachchan together. What I wouldn’t give to see that Mard-slinging!
Image source: IMDb