The Bachchans: A Saga of Excellence
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The Bachchans – probably no other family in India has had the kind of hold on the Indian psyche as they have. The cultural landscape of India is incomplete without a mention of the Bachchans. And though Amitabh Bachchan is the most celebrated of them all, the Bachchan family’s engagement with India’s socio-cultural space starts well before him – in the early years of the twentieth century, with the birth of Harivansh Rai Bachchan – and continues into the third decade of the twenty-first, with the imminent film debut of Agastya Nanda.
S.M.M. Ausaja’s The Bachchans: A Saga of Excellence is a stunning visual chronicle of this history spanning over a hundred years. The author goes back in time to Allahabad in the early 1900s to document the life and times of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, his literary accomplishments with the publication of Madhushala, the tragic death of his first wife and his marriage to Teji (Sarojini Naidu introduced the couple to the Nehru family as ‘the poet and the poem’!), and the birth of their sons Amitabh and Ajitabh.
This pictorial biography then goes on to record the remarkable film careers of Amitabh Bachchan (arguably, the greatest star India has ever produced), his wife Jaya Bhaduri (who was a bigger star before her husband went through the stratosphere), and their son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai (who were among the biggest stars of the new millennium).
In The Bachchans, Ausaja, a sort of Boswell to Amitabh Bachchan, archiving all film-related memorabilia pertaining to the actor, offers the ultimate fanboy tribute to the family with a dazzling kaleidoscope of never-before-seen images – posters, stills and photographs – that are bound to thrill and mesmerize anybody interested in the story of a remarkable family.
Gorgeously designed and beautifully produced, this is not just a collector’s edition but also a visual history, like no other, of an important page of India’s popular culture.
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