The book is about the image of Amitabh Bachchan and how he grew from a very unlikely film star to become the Star of the Millenium. The book deals with Amitabh’s larger than life person on and off the screen and the mood of his times that made people demand such a powerful individual. Amitabh’s popularity emerges from the fact that he instilled a certain confidence into the nation, made us feel empowered through his dialogues and fights and conveyed some kind of belief that the human being was capable of taking charge of her own life and write her own destiny. The book analyzes Amitabh ‘s image aesthetically and politically and comes to the conclusion that although he was a product of his age yet he was also the logical culmination of the very concept of stardom of the Hindi commercial cinema. The author seems to have seen Amitabh Bachchan as two distinct images – one of the superhero of the 1970’s and 1980’s and the other as a rediscovered but a much-moderated ageing hero of suave charm and grace. These two images make two different kinds of stories and perhaps appeal to very different sets of people. The early Amitabh was a man of the masses and the later one, a choice of the restricted and entrenched and globalized middle classes. While the early Amitabh was politically potent and ideologically lethal, the later hero was grand but irrelevant and ideally suited for times when one only present pretty pictures of the political consensus of neo-liberalism..
The book asks questions like why did Prakash Mehra want Amitabh to act in a hilarious comedy after he invented the angry young man’s image for the star? Or why is it that though Hrishikesh Mukherjee exhausted every possible kinds of emotions from Amitabh and yet could not make him into a star? Why is it that though Amitabh would have been a great star with Yash Chopra and Prakash Mehra but without Manmohan Desai he would never have been the megastar that he eventually became. The author finds that Amitabh Bachchan lived in the heroic age of Mrs Gandhi and presented the image of a large persona because he asked very large questions about the constitution of the order and the reason of law and demanded definitive solutions from the society, system, State and even the cosmos.