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Digital format is not original and may retire one day, writes Amitabh Bachchan


The actor wrote a blog post following his discussion with Hollywood director Christopher Nolan and visual artiste Tacita Dean on 'Reframing the Future of Film’.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

Actor Amitabh Bachchan met Hollywood director Christopher Nolan and English visual artiste Tacita Dean yesterday (1 April) at the much talked about event titled ‘Reframing the Future of Film’ organized by the Film Heritage Foundation of India and hosted by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of using film stock in today’s digital era. 

After the event, Bachchan wrote a blog post speaking on the un-originality of the digital format in filmmaking currently. “The word film has suddenly lost its charm; for there does not seem to be any need to shoot films on film .. its all digital now ..,” he wrote.

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Bachchan also pointed out that the word ‘film’ is still used to describe aspects related to cinema. “It was known as the ‘film industry’, they were known as ‘film stars’... so in the complete absence of that medium and that product, it would be quite in order to call ourselves ‘robotic genes’ or words of similar sound .. ‘digi act’ .. or ‘digi digi’ .. what ever .. it would be an issue that would need consideration [sic],” he said.

The veteran went onto compare the digital print of a film to a photocopy and said that the digital format may go out of use one day. “Digital is a derivative of the original film print .. so how would you feel if a xerox copy of a Picasso were to be up at a museum for attention and appreciation .. film is the original .. digital format is not .. and in time to come this format may retire too,” he said.

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Going down the memory lane, Bachchan recalled the times when film stock was in use and actors didn’t have the luxury of giving retakes as the stock would be scarce and 'the most expensive thing on the set'.

Citing his experience on the sets of his debut film Saat Hindustani (1969), Bachchan wrote, "I remember during the last day of the shoot of Saat Hindustani in Goa, I had to do a shot which was fairly long, and [KA] Abbas saheb told me .. ‘there is only 60ft of film left in the camera .. and you have to finish the dialogue and shot within that 60ft .. there shall be no opportunity for a retake because I do not have any more film left .. our stock and limit is over'."

In the blog post, the actor also shared pictures of his moments with Nolan, Kamal Haasan and Shah Rukh Khan.

Interestingly, before the release of his film Pink (2016), Bachchan had boasted about the advantages of digital cameras and how an actor can continue with his act even after fumbling.