As he turns 70, artist Parvathy Nayar’s work Rasa captures the essence of what Amitabh Bachchan is best remembered for — The Angry Young Man

Big B’s 70th birthday (October 11) is not over yet! For the celebration, Jaya Bachchan has been working for the last one year in conjunction with 70 contemporary Indian artists conceptualising and executing an art exhibition befittingly titled B Seventy.

The brief each of the artists had was to create their interpretation of Bachchan in the form of an artwork that could be called an inspiration or a tribute. Artists such as Anjolie Ela Menon, Akbar Padamsee, Badri Narayan, Satish Gujral, Parvathi Nayar, Gieve Patel, Manu Parekh, Paresh Maity, Jayasri Burman, Arzan Khambatta, Farhad Hussain, among others have come together for this effort. Proceeds from the exhibition will reportedly be turned in for a charitable cause.

A universal narrative

Visual artist Parvathi Nayar’s work Rasa — a nine-panelled ‘deconstruction’ of the film Zanjeer in hand-drawn graphite and colour is part of the prestigious collection. Parvathi says, “To be asked to make a work on Amitabh was a way of commenting not just on the actor as a superstar but also what his films said about our changing socio-cultural environment. In Rasa, I use the elements of Zanjeer to speak of a universal narrative of what it means to be human, the emotions we experience, the stories we live out.”

Explaining her choice of film, she says, “Zanjeer was the iconic film that catapulted Amitabh Bachchan into public attention and was instrumental in making him the defining icon of his generation — The Angry Young Man, the Antihero, the Other. Rasa takes all its imagery — from images of Amitabh and Jaya, to objects such as firecrackers, to moments of drama such as a boy peering from a cupboard — from Zanjeer and re-presents its narrative as a deconstructed chain of the Nine Rasas or nine principle emotions.”

(The two-day exhibition opens today, a day after Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday. A coffee table book of the works was launched on his birthday)