Fashion & Lifestyle

On Amitabh Bachchan’s 81st Birthday, Revisiting Cheeni Kum, The Most Progressive Film From His Career

Revisiting Cheeni Kum: Amitabh Bachchan’s 81st birthday is a celebration for cinephiles globally who have marvelled over the on-screen charisma and acting prowess of the megastar. The veteran actor has never shied away from reinventing himself ever since his debut with Saat Hindustani to Vikas Bahl’s upcoming Ganapath. Bachchan surprised his fans with his slice-of-life romantic dramedy Cheeni Kum. The R Balki directorial also featured Tabu, Paresh Rawal and the late Zohra Sehgal in crucial roles. Bachchan played the role of restauranteur Buddhadev Gupta living with his aged mother in London. Cheeni Kum is ahead of times even today as the film normalised relationships and broke stereotypes without getting preachy.


Bachchan’s portrayal of a 64-year-old grumpy chef with a kind heart won accolades from movie critics and movie buffs. The commercial success of the film can be attributed to the sincerity and simplicity in Balki’s screenplay. Despite showcasing the loves story between Bachchan’s Buddha and 34-year-old Neena essayed by Tabu, the film conveys its message to a universal audience base without going overboard. While it is easier for filmmakers to solely shift focus on the age gap, Cheeni Kum normalises cross-generational romance and delves into the emotional depth of relationships. Buddha and Neena’s unapologetic perspective on living life on their own terms has been depicted with utmost artistic finesse. Bachchan and Tabu amicably complement each other in every single frame. The supporting cast of Paresh Rawal, Zohra Sehgal and Swini Khara are indeed spot-on with their performances. However, it’s the screen presence and towering persona of Bachchan that brings goosebumps in a light-hearted romantic comedy.


In every scene Bachchan effortlessly portrays the emotions, vulnerabilities, complexities and ego of Buddhadev. Buddha is in contrast to the Hero of the Millenium’s off-screen persona. Yet the veteran brings believability in his portrayal. At a time when every film, character, narrative and genre get judged by the boycott gang or gets discarded by cancel culture, Cheeni Kum sets a precedent for brave storytelling. A taboo subject among the traditional and orthodox majoritarian beliefs connected with the masses. Any cinematic vision only gets successfully executed by the conviction of the lead actors. Bachchan and Tabu fully immerse themselves in their characters while carrying the film on their shoulders.

Cheeni Kum is the best example that it is possible to make progressive, gender-sensitive cinema without getting sleazy. Kudos to the megastar and all those storytellers who contributed in his cinematic journey!

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