tv & movies

‘When I write the dialogues, I am Amitabh Bachchan’

‘In KBC, the scripts are a small part of the game show, but he used to correct each and every word with so much dedication!’
‘He would do that to avoid fumbling during the shooting.’

Some of Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogues in Kaun Banega Crorepati have become as iconic as the lines from his movies.

It’s certainly not easy writing for such a legend, but R D Tailang has been doing it for 20 years.

“You have a heavy weight on your shoulders when you are writing for Mr Bachchan because what you write must suit his personality. He is so perfect that there is no room for the slightest mistake,” he tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Rajul Hegde.

It was a life-changing moment for me when I first met Mr Bachchan during Kaun Banega Crorepati.

I have been such a big fan of his while growing up. I’d watched his films like Zanjeer, Deewaar, Namak Halaal, Sholay, Shakti

When I first came to Mumbai, I worked in a video library. I remember taking cassettes of Khuda Gawah and delivering it to people’s houses.

Back then, I never imagined that one day, I would meet him in person or have the luck to write scripts for him.

Before KBC, nobody knew how he talked and reacted in real life.

I was selected for KBC amongst other writers because Mr Bachchan liked my writing.

When I started writing for KBC. I didn’t use punctuation like comma, and had spelling errors.

I felt, what’s the big deal?

But it was important for Mr Bachchan because he is perfect in every aspect of his life.

In KBC, the scripts are a small part of the game show, but he used to correct each and every word with so much dedication!

He would do that to avoid fumbling during the shooting.

Just by observing him, you get to learn so many things.

For me, Mr Bachchan’s presence in a room is like a whiff of sandalwood.

 

Even today, when I narrate any script to him, I get butterflies in my stomach. It’s been the same feeling for the last 20 years.

Whatever work he has done on television, I have been a part of it.

I have understood his language, which helps me as a writer.

You have a heavy weight on your shoulders when you are writing for Mr Bachchan because what you write must suit his personality.

He is so perfect that there is no room for the slightest mistake.

When he says the dialogues that I have written, it shouldn’t look like he is reading someone else’s lines.

It must look like it’s his thought process and impromptu.

It shouldn’t look like rehearsed lines.

When I write the dialogues, I am Amitabh Bachchan. If I don’t think like that, it will be impossible for me to write.

Writing for Mr Bachchan for 20 long years has been the biggest compliment for me.

He has never asked the makers even once to try another writer.

Over the years, I have received many warm text messages for my scripts. These are the things I will cherish for life.

Amitabh Bachchan has a larger-than-life kind of persona, like in his films.

At the age that he is in, everybody thinks he is a serious person, but he is not. On the contrary, he’s a jovial person.

He will pull your leg too.

Like, if he discusses changing certain words in the script and I tell him why we need to keep that particular work, and he will joke, saying, ‘Haan haan, aap to Panditji hai. Abhi inki baat koi tal nahi sakta. Ab to gyani hai…’

Once I told him, ‘Sir, your personality is like the modern Bali from the Ramayana. Anyone comes in front of you, his power, talent and confidence reduces to half because of the aura around you.’

When Mr Bachchan is not shooting, he sits in the script room; which is my room.

Everybody comes there, from creatives to Mr Siddharth Basu… it’s like an adda.

There is so much fun, and leg-pulling, he tries that everybody must feel equal in the room.

He has that child-like enthusiasm.

He gels with everybody.

If someone is new, he will crack jokes to keep the atmosphere light.

Even on the show, he knows that the contestant will be awestruck and also nervous because of the technology.

Off camera, he makes them comfortable before the shoot.

Once there was a technical glitch and the shooting got extended.

Generally, if there is no break during shoots, people in the audience tend to walk out, complaining of hunger or a long wait. But it has never happened with Mr Bachchan on the show.

People say, ‘We have come to watch Mr Bachchan.’

They come alive when he walks on stage, and it’s the same with Mr Bachchan too.

I remember once he had a toe injury. He was on painkillers.

He was feeling giddy, but the moment he went on stage, he was a changed person.

He started shooting as if there was no pain.

The audience and Mr Bachchan are like a tonic to each other.

His energy is unmatched.

After shoots, we get so drained, we doze off on the sofa. But he has the energy to go for recordings and meetings.

If you ask him where he gets his energy from, he replies, ‘Kaam se hi hamara shareer chaltha hai. Kaam nahin hai tho shareer thak jayega.’

I don’t think any of us can match his energy.

He is a gifted person. God has created only one piece of Mr Amitabh Bachchan.

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