Having gone through the entire gamut of the Big B's movies and analysed it threadbare, one is at a loss to understand the boundaries of histrionics the Man can cover... so the focus tends to move from what he has done to what he could have!
So, to stretch the limits of imagination a bit, here are ten movies I would love see Him in. Some of which are remakes of classics, some are sequels and some are stories/characters which are justified only by the One and Only!
1. One wish that Ram Gopal Verma is turning into a reality very soon is to see Amitabh play the Godfather. The brooding yet fiery looks, the drooping yet imposing frame, the gravely yet clear voice are all stuff AB can carry of with a whole lot of panache - and out-Brando Marlon Brando himself! So, will we see Sunny Deol play his elder son - and Shah Rukh as Michael Corleone?
2. Somebody with stature and character beyond the silver screen is essential to play the role of morally (and physically!) upright lawyer Atticus Finch in a Hindi remake of To Kill a Mockingbird. Will Govind Nihalini take up the director's mantle to transfer the Black-man-accused-of-raping-white-woman-in-Southern-town to a Hindu-Muslim scenario in small town India? And will Irfan Khan lend his intensity to play the accused?
3. A guest appearance, more for symbolic reasons, is required to essay the role of God in a Hindi remake of Bruce Almighty - where Saif Ali Khan, with his new-found comic brilliance, can play the title role! The perfect timing and the understated divinity are the perfect accessories to play Him!
Just the right kind of urbane comedy to set the multiplexes on fire!
4. Who else can play an ageing thief in an Indian twist to "Entrapment"... and be like a guy who would make a woman half his age fall madly in love with him? Who else looks to be supremely intelligent and can carry off the subtle humour as well as he does? Will Sushmita Sen play the investigator, who is slowly drawn to the magnetic charms of the 60-year old con?
5. Economics have to work out on a global scale to make a film on the making of the Taj Mahal and the breaking of the emperor that followed... An ageing Shah Jahan can only be played by the Man, as he romances Mumtaz (Rekha... one last time, please!) with style which probably ended with the Mughals. The passion that went into the making of the marble monument, the pain on the death of his beloved and the gradual slide into depression in the shadow of the Taj... each of these needs an actor of the stature and calibre of the Aakhri Mughal.
6. And in between all the intensity, he can take a short break into comedy to play the "Father of the Bride" – especially in India, where marriages hold greater poignancy for the father and the daughter. Freshly minted star Amrita Rao can bring home Zayed Khan to show her dad and mom (Jaya?)... I am sure we can fit in some interesting cameos for Satish Shah and Aruna Irani as the guy's parents!
7. If the numero uno person of the country has to be portrayed on screen, then it should have the Man – in an unabashedly unrealistic love story – playing the Prime Minister of India in love with the Ambassador of Pakistan. All in the middle of escalating tension at the LoC. Sharmila Tagore can be the ethereally beautiful Pakistani begum – and the story will be ripe for a string of Silsila-esque ghazals laden with shairis rendered in the baritone. Rumblings in his own party, strident protests from the Opposition, accusations of treason should all culminate into a cent-per-cent filmi milan at the Wagah border.
8. An age-old story – which could do with a modern twist – is Aladin!
Imagine AB as the Genie, with exaggerated (and somewhat, impish!) charm – bowing to the wishes of a hapless Aladin! Aladin could transform from the little boy in Baghdad to a ‘tapori’ in Bombay – with more than his fair share of demands! Keeping with ‘connected’ times, the Lamp can be replaced by a special mobile – which calls in the friendly Genie! Make up your twists and turns, add yet another Genie (good Genie if you want a double role!), don’t miss out on the rich-girl-poor-boy cliché – and you have a perfectly feel-good, completely unreal modern-day fairy tale!
9. The lovable rogues of Do Aur Do Paanch make a comeback… Freshly out of jail, they are on their way to their children’s wedding (yes, Amitabh’s son is getting married to Shashi’s daughter!) and have just made a solemn oath to their respective wives of never breaking the law again! And no, their frictions have not reduced at all…
But complications arise – kidnaps/ransoms/what-have-you – and the two geriatric cons get their master keys out for yet another heist – their very last… and hopefully, this time is really the last!
10. An actor in the twilight of his career. The arrogance of having been the emperor once upon a time. The desperation of seeing it all slip away. The frustration of seeing midgets occupying centre-stage. The guilt of ignoring his family. The pain of them now ignoring him. The contempt for his contemporaries compromising to do character roles. The obsession of trying to get a final hurrah before the curtain falls. And the quest for a group of people who would be ready to gamble on this old war-horse…
Sepia-tinted flashbacks of his swashbuckling movies interposed with garish colour of today’s sets will form the backdrop of a movie depicting the efforts of a yesteryear’s superstar trying for that final role, that final movie which will catapult him into immortality.
Sigh… The possibilities are endless.
To slightly misquote Sunset Boulevard, “He is just as big… It’s the movies that got smaller…”