Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘ best and only friend’ is Abhishek Bachchan, writes Subhash K Jha

On Amitabh Bachchan’s 77th Birthday, we bring to you some unknown facts about the legendary actor

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan

Subhash K Jha

1. AB was rejected by many filmmakers at the start of his career as too tall, too lanky, too much like a non-hero. It was his father’s friend the Communist filmmaker  Khwaja Ahmed Abbas  who predicted big things for the tall, lanky, brooding mass of implosive energy and cast him as one of the seven protagonists in Saat Hindustani. The rest, as they say is history.

2. One  of the many films that AB was  rejected for  was Kundan Kumar’s  Duniya Ka Mela  in  1974. After shooting for a  few days  for  the  film he was  expelled  and replaced  by the  hot-and-happening Sanjay Khan. It is  said that  the film’s leading lady Rekha with whom AB later did a slew of spectacular romantic  films,had a hand in AB’s ouster. Irony can  go no further even if you push it with a cartwheel.

3. The turning point Zanjeer came to AB by default.  Director Prakash Mehra  wanted Dev Anand  to play the  angry cop. But  the  film’s cop hero had no songs to  sing. Dev Saab requested  the  director to add some gana-bajana. Prakash Mehra refused.

4. At that time Jaya Bhaduri was  the  superstar. She agreed  to  co-star with her  boyfriend Amitabh Bachchan in Zanjeer  because every  other  top actress  refused. Amitabh paid off the debt by  doing Jaya-centric films  like  Abhimaan  and Mili

5. Another heroine who  refused to  work with AB was Asha Parekh. AB never  held it against her. He is too much of  gentleman  to hold grudges against  a lady. However  AB and AP  never came  together until Kaalia where they played devar and  bhabhi.

6. In Kaalia the chartbuster Jahan Teri Nazar hai was composed by Bachhan Saab and given to R D  Burman. AB also  composed  some numbers in his film Baagbaan and Baabul. He is not just a singer but also a complete musician  and  played the  Sitar in his  younger days.

7. While  audiences preferred to see AB with Rekha and Jaya his favourite co-star  was Raakhee Gulzar with whom he did  such masterpieces as  Kabhi Kabhie, Bemisal and Kasme Vade. He spoke to Raakhee only in  shuddh Bangla whenever they worked together or met socially.

8. AB Sr’s  best friend  and  only friend is  Abhishek Bachchan. They   hide  nothing from one  another and  share  each other’s precious  shoe collection. Abhishek is the only person on this planet  who gets to plunder  Bachchan Saab’s closet.

9. AB loves wristwatches and has the biggest collection of watches in the film industry. If you want to win him over on his birthday try gifting him a watch. And we aren’t talking about an HMT  or a Titan.

10. AB’s favourite birthday gift is the poems that his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan wrote for him for each of his birthdays until he was alive. They will one day be published in book form, and that’s as close to biography as the Big B  will get in his lifetime.

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