Those were the days when the prowess of acting used to find its acme in either executing the role seeped through and through with tragic nodes, or in the dying scenes, and these were the scenes that used to define the arrival of an actor, or conversion of star into an actor. Viewed from this perspective the stars of the present times do not believe in the concept of dying or the story line now does not have expression of this emotion. If this emotion is expressed, it is more as a matter of fact than dramatized to give the scope of acting to the actor.
Amitabh Bachchan as an actor has however, through out his career found opportunities to drabble in death related scenes. As a matter of fact, the worm of his career graph started the upward swing with ANAND whose death scene came out in the form of a dialogue and is considered one of the better performances of Big B. It was followed with DEEWAR and the emotions that AB expressed while dying established him firmly as an actor of consequence. Death in fact has had an intriguing association with Big B's films, more so in the beginning of his films where he either used to see his mother withering away or losing out a father.
This was probably the reason why he had commented in an interview long time ago that he would not know how to emote when his mother would pass away in reality, as he had dabbled in all kind of emotions. It was the death scene between Big B and Dilip Kumar in SHAKTI that still is cited as the scene where both the greats were at par with one another in emoting the expression of parting, of the confusion in the relationship and it being solved at the point of one of the characters passing into the other world.
Among the present generation of stars Aamir Khan made his debut in QAYAMAT SE QAYAMAT TAK and in emoting his death was able to develop an instantaneous rapport with the audience. Shah Rukh Khan did the same in KAL HO NA HO, however the level of emotion that he could express while dying was not of the same intensity as it was with the other stars and therefore this is not reckoned to be among one of the better death scenes emoted by an actor on the screen. Shah got another opportunity to experiment with this genre once again in OM SHANTI OM and in this film he was able to express the emotion in a much better manner.
Salman Khan still has to come up with this performance. Hrithik Roshan experimented with it in his very first film KAHO NAA PYAAR HAI and he was given sufficient latitude to express this emotion as well. In the present times one of the most novel ways to picturise a death scene was in EKLAVYA made by Vidhu Vinod Chopra when he used the prop of a passing train to signal death of Jackie Shroff, incidentally Big B was a co-actor in the same frame.
The paucity of death-associated scenes that actors of the present times are getting to emote is plausibly on account of the spirit of youth, carefree world that the films of the present times convey. Death however also is an inevitability of life and the interface with this emotion finds its best representation through a film. Expression of death is also one of the emotions that form the cutting age of differentiation between a star and an actor. Death therefore needs to return back to ground the utopian existence that is expressed through the films these days.