Angry Old Man: “Thok Do Saalon Ko,” Amitabh Bachchan Threatens Troll Who Wished Him Death


Angry Old Man: “Thok Do Saalon Ko,” Amitabh Bachchan Threatens Troll Who Wished Him Death

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

The coronavirus pandemic has infected almost 1.5 million people across India, but few patients have got as much media coverage after contracting the disease as Amitabh Bachchan. The Bollywood superstar was diagnosed with Covid-19, along with his son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya, and granddaughter Aaradhya. The family was admitted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, but Bachchan has been in touch with his followers online through his social media handles and blog. Today, an update on his blog contained Bachchan’s thoughts on his granddaughter and daughter-in-law recovering, before veering into much more controversial territory, as he addressed trolls, fighting fire with fire with his own insults and threats.

Apparently, an anonymous troll expressed wishes that Bachchan would “die of Covid”. Upon getting wind of this, Bachchan responded by writing “Hey Mr Anonymous .. you do not even write your Father’s name ,.. because you do not know who Fathered you.” He then went on to write that he has over 90 million followers that he considers his “extended family”, but for the trolls he would turn them into an “extermination family”. He ends with a call to this massive following, saying “thok do saalo ko”, a Kapil Mishra-esque turn of phrase not many expected from the normally dignified actor.

Bachchan’s response lacks the grace that normally characterises a celebrity stooping to address anonymous trolls. Some use sharp wit and humour, like Swara Bhasker or Anurag Kashyap, while others simply remove themselves from the toxic environment of social media like Sonakshi Sinha. Bachchan’s response has more in common with the Hindustani Bhaus of the internet than it does with his film industry colleagues.

The entire fiasco, from the original death wish to the angry response, must be uncharted territory for Bachchan. Decades earlier, when Bachchan was injured on the sets of Coolie, the entire nation came together to pray for his recovery. To be faced with anonymous trolls wishing death upon him must be disconcerting for a man who has enjoyed decades of mass adulation. Yet his response seems out of character.

For all his presence on social media platforms, Bachchan has yet to learn one of the basic rules of the internet: Don’t feed the trolls.