The Bachchans – probably no other family in India has had the kind of hold on the Indian psyche as they have. The cultural landscape of India is incomplete without a mention of the Bachchans. And though Amitabh Bachchan is the most celebrated of them all, the Bachchan family’s engagement with India’s socio-cultural space starts well before him – in the early years of the twentieth century, with the birth of Harivansh Rai Bachchan – and continues into the third decade of the twenty-first, with the imminent film debut of Agastya Nanda.
S.M.M. Ausaja’s The Bachchans: A Saga of Excellence is a stunning visual chronicle of this history spanning over a hundred years. The author goes back in time to Allahabad in the early 1900s to document the life and times of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, his literary accomplishments with the publication of Madhushala, the tragic death of his first wife and his marriage to Teji (Sarojini Naidu introduced the couple to the Nehru family as ‘the poet and the poem’!), and the birth of their sons Amitabh and Ajitabh.
This pictorial biography then goes on to record the remarkable film careers of Amitabh Bachchan (arguably, the greatest star India has ever produced), his wife Jaya Bhaduri (who was a bigger star before her husband went through the stratosphere), and their son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai (who were among the biggest stars of the new millennium).
In The Bachchans, Ausaja, a sort of Boswell to Amitabh Bachchan, archiving all film-related memorabilia pertaining to the actor, offers the ultimate fanboy tribute to the family with a dazzling kaleidoscope of never-before-seen images – posters, stills and photographs – that are bound to thrill and mesmerize anybody interested in the story of a remarkable family.
Gorgeously designed and beautifully produced, this is not just a collector’s edition but also a visual history, like no other, of an important page of India’s popular culture.
|The Bachchans: A Saga Of Excellence
|Om Books International
|Number Of Pages:
|Country Of Origin:
|8 December 2023
Film historian, author and archivist of vintage film memorabilia, S.M.M. Ausaja is Senior Vice President at DeRivaz & Ives, India’s premier auction house. He began his career with a stint in TV software production, joining Plus Channel in Mumbai under Amit Khanna and Mahesh Bhatt as a trainee on India’s first English daily, A Mouthful of Sky, in 1996. He went on to produce several TV shows in the years to come; working with companies like Integral Productions, HFCL Nine-Broadcasting and Gemini Studios where he also directed documentaries on Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hema Malini which were telecast on prime-time television.
He has written extensively on Indian cinema in various journals and portals. His cinema memorabilia archive is arguably the single largest private archive in the country. For almost four decades, he has tirelessly collected rare first-print posters of films released over the last 100 years, helping preserve an art form that has almost been forgotten in the digital era. Besides the posters, the archive includes a formidable collection of photographs, lobby cards, hand bills, glass slides, postcards and film magazines.
His debut book, Bollywood In Posters, released in 2009, was nominated at the prestigious Vodafone-Crossword Book Awards under the Best Non-Fiction and Best Popular Book categories. Ausaja’s second book Bollywood: The Films! The Songs! The Stars! co-authored with eminent writers was released by Amitabh Bachchan in December 2017.
Ausaja has also been a consultant on the prestigious Oral History Project on Amitabh Bachchan, commissioned by The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences in collaboration with the Film Heritage Foundation. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and two daughters.