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Amitabh & I

As a 10-year old with Amitabh and my dad& sister at Natraj Studio, during the shooting of Sholay(1975)

The year was 1975, when I was visiting Mumbai as a 10 year old with my parents and sister. The maternal side of my family thrives on Hindi films, the result was we as a nuclear family were also avid movie goers. Saturday evening used to be my father's off from his medical practice and that was movie time for the Kumar family in my hometown, Lucknow. It was mandatory, to the extent if there were no new releases then we would repeat a film, but Saturday was dedicated to Bollywood. And Bachchan was the matinee idol I would look forward to. Mili, Abhiman, Zanjeer, Namak Haram and Deewar had, had me in raptures over Bachchan. With a lot of my family members fans of Dilip Kumar and Sanjeev Kumar, Bachchan became a contentious issue with my maternal grand parents.

Trailer of Sholay:

Therefore when in Mumbai we not only wanted to see where the movie stars lived and watch some shootings in progress I was sure I wanted to meet AB. The demand was put across to my father. Now he belongs to Bareilly and apparently the wedding of Teji ji and Harivansh Rai ji was finalized at a common friend's house. My dad procured the number of the Bachchan household in Mumbai and Teji ji was kind enough to have us over in their small Juhu bungalow which had a Fiat parked in the driveway. While we waited for "Amit", as he was lovingly called by his mother, to return from the shoot we were treated to tea and snacks and a pregnant Jaya came down to meet us. Just then the tall, lanky man called Amitabh Bachchan walked in a a marhoon polo neck and grey trousers tired from the shooting of Sholay. He met us for a while, we thought it was wise to leave the tired star alone at 8 in the evening, so we left but not before he had invited us for the shooting of Sholay the very next day. Those were my two back to back meeting with my superstar.

After some years news spread in Lucknow that Jaya and Amitabh were in town for a family wedding and were leaving by the evening flight to Delhi. We rushed to the airport. Lucknow was a very small town back in the late seventies and my father was a well known doctor. Everybody knew him at the airport so we had access to the VIP lounge where Amitabh and Jaya were suppose to arrive. It is impossible for me to describe the sea of people at the airport. we were escorted in. I had recently acquired an autograph book that had the autograph of only Sunil Gavasker in it. Bachchan stood in his trademark black shirt, black pant and cream coat and me a little boy was shivering with my autograph book in front of him. His deep eyes continued to penetrate me and my fear increased. It was then I realized that I had the autograph book but there was no pen! Such was my excitement. A gentleman came to my rescue. I was relieved as I got the autograph.

Then after decades as a second year Film Institute student we were taken on a production tour to Mumbai and meeting jaya was on the agenda. We all asked Jaya to fix up a meeting with AB, who was then shooting for Agneepath. The next day we were at Parel to meet the star. Standing outside his vanity which was being used by Rohini Hattangadi and Madhavi, he met us standing outside. We were 8 direction Batchmates and as he shook hands with each one of us. Very politely as we would speak out our names he would say, "Amitabh", to all eight of us. We were floored by the manners of Bachchan. There was no need for him to tell us his name and most certainly not repeat it to all eight of us. But that is how it should be done, that is the correct way to behave and Bachchan was impeccable with his manners.


In the year 1982, as a 16 year old in Lucknow, I lost my appetite. My mother had to force-feed me. I was hooked to television and radio news, not sparing any bulletin in the day. I prayed at the temple everyday on my return from school. But I was not...

Trailer of Coolie, the film that almost killed Amitabh:

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