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Your Truly, Amitabh!



Your Truly, Amitabh! 12

AB Aani CD (Marathi, Amazon Prime  Video)

Starring  Vikram  Gokhale,  Subodh Bhave, Amitabh Bachchan

Directed by  Milind Lele

Rating: **

Amitabh Bachchan as a concept rather than a  living reality is nothing  new. In  the Kannada film Amritdhare Mr  Bachchan was cast as a dying woman’s  last wish. Nearer  home , there is a brilliant  short  film  called  Yours Truly, Amitabh in which  a retired man (the wonder  Kumud Mishra)   gets his  neglectful family’s attention by  claiming  he  once corresponded with  the iconic mega-star.

 This kind  of  metaphorical iconization is unique  to  Mr Bachchan . His stardom defines acting just as Lata Mangshkar’s  vocals define singing. ‘Who do you think you are, Amitabh Bachchan?’ is  a classic   putdown  for someone  acting too big for his boots.

In this quaint  but alas  insipid and  eventually  uninspired   Marathi  film , the  Big B is ubiquitous  in  the way, say, in  another context Rebecca  was in  the Daphne du Maurier  novel. The actual hero  of AB Aani CD, the  Joan  Fontaine of this  Marathi Rebecca, so to speak , is Vikram Gokhale. He  plays an unhappy retired  gent(have you  seen  any protagonist  being happy after  retirement?)  whose  extended family  begins to  treat him with the  mild contempt that we  have seen  Mr Bachchan and before  him Rajesh Khanna go through in Baghban and Avtar.

There is  nothing new about Vikram  Gokhale’s  projection of   hurt humiliation and muffled anger as he  fights against  his  own swelling  dismay at a family that seems to  respect only his  “connections” with the mega-star  .

The family, I  am sorry to say, is  a  bunch of  broad-stroked  caricatures… you know, the bitchy bahu who  wants to rid the house of the  patriarch’s legacy ,  and the  docile  men who cannot help being bullied by the women  of  the  family into mistreating the  retired patriarch   because otherwise they wouldn’t get  it in the night.

 The  dinner, I mean.What else  did you think?

Ironically while Vikram  Gokhale is in almost every frame(sometimes joined in joyous  singing by Neena  Kulkarni  who plays  his  wife ) it is  Mr Bachchan who presides  over the plot. Does he actually show  up in the  film?  Ah, the  big  mystery question best left unanswered  . This film does enough of that. It says too much and feels too little.

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