Touching the Heights

A year ago on a set in Mumbai, a young man in worn jeans decorated with patches shaped like marijuana leaves sprawled sulkily in a director's chair and demanded again and again that Amitabh Bachchan, the godfather of Bollywood, get it right. "Cut! Cut!" yelled Farhan Akhtar, the 29-year-old veteran of one movie, before marching up to Bachchan, the 60-year-old veteran of more than 100, for an urgent discussion. The scene featured Bachchan as an Indian army colonel banging two hammers on a table off screen to simulate the jolt of an incoming Pakistani artillery round, then walking across camera to...

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