If repeated standing ovations were a common sight during the first hour of the Unforgettable show at Atlantic City August 9, there was something entirely different in the air when Amitabh Bachchan danced to the Rang Barse song from Silsila.
Hundreds in the audience, young and old, jumped onto the chairs and demanded an encore. They applauded him lustily. Many waved handwritten placards that said things like: 'You are the best there ever is.'
And when he recited his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan's famous and stirring poem Agneepath, the older spectators heard in rapt attention. One man sitting close to me had his hand on his heart.
And when the megastar repeated the lines from the film Deewar in which his gangster character, an atheist, begs god to spare his mother's life and not punish her for his misdeeds, you could hear many gentle sobs around you.
An elderly woman who knew every line of the dialogue cried softly and told a young man next to her: "There cannot be anything more touching than this. Let us go home."
Of course, she stayed on.
A woman in her thirties who said she had seen Deewar recently said what Amitabh had just done was far, far more striking and moving.
"It is like the dialogue delivery has by now received some magic blessing," she said. "It is something that comes [from] deep within his soul. I would gladly pay $500 just to hear him recite those lines."
Text: Arthur J Pais in Atlantic City | Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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