Get ready to hear the iconic Big B baritone in Bangla! That’s right. Amitabh Bachchan, whom Kolkata refers to as Jamaai Babu because of his marriage to Jaya Bachchan, has spoken in Bangla for Shoojit Sircar’s Piku. “Yes, Amitji does break into bouts of Bangla when he speaks. We were surprised by how fluently he speaks Bangla,” says Shoojit adding, “It was in Kolkata that Amitji started his career, not as an actor but as a professional in a private company. He worked there for seven years. All his old friends are in Kolkata.”
Astonishingly, Piku is Big B’s first film in Kolkata Wondering at the irony of it Shoojit says, “In his entire career of 47 years Amitji has never shot a film in Kolkata! He did come to Kolkata for Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear. But the film was shot outside Kolkata. So Piku is Amitji’s first in Kolkata.”
Inevitably, a flood of memories and an accompanying gallery of old friends turned up during the shoot. Says Shoojit, “I think Amitji visited a lot of his old friends and places where he spent his early days. One day he took off on his own to see his old familiar haunts, addas, in Kolkata where he spent his youth. He visited these places quietly in the middle of the night without security.”
Says Shoojit, “One night at 1 am Amitji called excitedly to say he wanted to do a particular scene like Robi Ghosh. Amitji and Robi Ghosh go back a long way and not many people know this, but Amitji is a big fan of Robida. When Amitji began working in Kolkata he used to hang out with Robi-da.” The Big B has used his own experiences with Robi Ghosh in his role in Piku.