Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan feels the purity of written and spoken language is subsiding in these times of quick communication but hopes to restore the charm of literature by opening a musuem to store his father and noted writer Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s works.
“I do believe that the richness of our language is getting lost. We used to spend a lot of thought and lot of energy behind what was written and spoken. Perhaps, it was a lot richer in earlier times,” Amitabh told IANS in an interview.
“I don’t want to blame today’s generation. The time has changed, communication has become very rapid and very quick,” he added.
But the 68-year-old, who is himself hooked on to social networking media like Twitter and blog, wants to do his bit to preserve the richness of the Hindi language.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time about opening a museum, where I could store my father’s well-known works that can be used for research work. I hope we are able to fulfil our plans to open a museum soon and preserve his iconic works,” said the actor, whose father was one of the most renowned Hindi poets of the 20th century.
Harivansh Rai, who died in 2003, is credited with works like “Madhushala” and “Agneepath”.
Amitabh, who is Harivansh Rai’s older son, has been actively reciting some of his father’s works internationally.
“I didn’t know that my father’s work is popular in not only India but also abroad. On the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of my father, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in New York had invited me for the recital of his works at the Lincoln Centre and there were at least 3,500-4,000 people who had come as an audience.
“Last year, I went to Paris to recite my father’s poems and saw a similar response for my father’s work. There were 75 percent French locals and 25 percent Indians. I was sceptical about how the French people would be able to understand what I recite. But I was amazed when a French teacher, who was teaching Hindi in one of the French universities, volunteered to translate it in French. I really enjoyed it,” he added.
For his father’s 102nd birth anniversary in 2009, Amitabh and other members of his family launched “Madhushala – The House of Wine” – an attempt to present “Madhushala” in a new bottle. The book was originally published in 1933-34. But his family decided to design it in a format containing original poems along with their English translation, interspersed with illustrations of paintings done by Namrita Bachchan, daughter of Amitabh’s brother Ajitabh.
Amitabh now plans to visit new places and take his dad’s work to the world.
“I am planning to go to different places and recite my father’s poems,” he said.
However, back home, he laments that the dialogues in the Hindi film industry are written in Roman English.
“It disturbs me when I get scripts with dialogues written in Roman English. Many people can’t even read it. I think if you’re getting associated with a programme or a film, and if it is in a particular language – whether it is Marathi, Punjabi or Hindi, the language should be well represented – either spoken or written,” said Amitabh.
A proficient Hindi and English orator, Amitabh is returning on the small screen with the fifth season of the game show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”. The show goes on air Aug 15 on Sony Entertainment Television.
Prior to that, his film “Aarakshan”, which has been surrounded by controversies, is set to release Friday.