Nov 7, 2006

The Child In Us

Here is Amitabh Bachchan being - after posing for the group photograph - mobbed by autograph hunters who themselves are none other than fellow honourees. Looking at the photograph one thing is clear - one just don't know when the child in you will show up and that too in public.

Here is the report from the Hindu on the Delhi University special convocation where the Big B and other luminaries like Delhi CM Ms. Dikshit, cartoonist RK Laxman, scientist CNR Rao, etc were honoured.

It was doubtless a big day for Bachchan, but seemingly a still bigger day for the university. High on drama and excitement, the university abandoned some of its solemn conventions. Students turned into paparazzi — although the invitation had said no cell-phones were allowed — filming every move that Abhishek Bachchan, who arrived sporting a hair-band, made. They deployed their mobile-phones, standing on chairs. Faculty members and staff members were out in full force. And the media were out in large numbers...

Bachchan is known as a man of few words, but here, after getting his Doctor of Letters, he gave up his reticence and made a trip down memory lane. His booming baritone echoed through the freshly restored, gleaming yellow Old Vice Regal Lodge.

"The first question that came to my mind when I was told that I was getting this honour was: do I deserve it? Who would have thought that an average student, not extraordinary by any means, would be awarded such a homecoming," he said. Stating that this was an accolade he would cherish the most, Bachchan, who is 64, said he owed a lifelong debt to a university that taught him his principles and gave him an introduction to acting.

"The tall and imposing Frank Thakurdas gave me my first compliment,'' he said. "It goes without saying that nostalgia is palpable. I remember the time spent at the coffeehouse, at the bus stop outside Miranda House," he said to some hooting from the corner where students from the women's college were massed. "Yes, yes, always Miranda House,'' he finished.

While students sighed and clung to every word Bachchan uttered — apart from clapping at the mention of every film he acted from Saath Hindustani to Black as he was being introduced — many of the staff members let their hair down. "We are proud of the back gate and the bus-stop. We have to get him to come to the college now. You know he said Miranda House more times that Kirori Mal College [where he did BSc till 1962],'' gushed a Miranda House faculty member.

His presence added colour to what would otherwise have been a staid convocation, but the event appeared to have been overrun by elements of popular culture...[The Hindu]

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