Amitabh Bachchan and William Shakespeare

Oxford: The well liked Bollywood icon, none other than Amitabh Bachchan has played many characters from the plays of the famous William Shakespeare. Still, when he was shown the famous First Folio of the plays dated 1623 at the ancient Bodleian Library, the actor was simply enthralled and rendered almost speechless.

“It’s incredible,” he simply said, while moving his hand over the pages that have the famous dialogues he had performed in quite a few stage performances during his career straddling over four decades. The actor was on a short visit to Oxford in order to respond to the invitation granted by the university’s Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS).
At the university there was a reception hosted especially for him and he was also shown around the ancient university and that also included the famous Bodleian Library, which was also established in the year of 1602.

“A great actor is touching the work of the great playwright,” remarked Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections of the Library, as the
famous actor Bachchan turned the pages of the inestimable Shakespearean document.

“We often have scholars coming to see these rare collections, but this is the first time that a great actor is visiting us to see the work of Shakespeare,” Ovenden added. The work seen by the Indian icon is titled ‘Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies’, also
known to students as the First Folio.

Bachchan was received at the OCHS by the director of the institution, Professor Gavin Flood, who is an expert on Hindu. The Bollywood
actor added: “I am particularly struck by the long-standing and profound links between India and Oxford, and how, through the OCHS, the field of Hindu Studies is flourishing here”. The principal goal of this centre is the study of Hindu religion, languages, literature, culture, philosophy, society, history, and arts in all periods and in all parts of the globe.

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