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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.



It was September 24, 1982. You had finished fighting your greatest war against curtain death and had come back home – Ali Peter John

The two month long drama was over. Temples, mosque, churches, Gurudwara and the fire temples of the Parsis and other places of worship everywhere in the world had prayed for you.

The doctors at St Philomena’s Hospital in Bangalore and then the real big fight under some of the best Doctors had the Breach Candy Hospital lead by Dr Farokh Udwadia, Dr Jayant Barve and other specialist and all that tension every day, everywhere and especially on the morning the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi flew from Delhi only to visit you as you were the son of her friend, Mrs. Teji Bachchan.And the crowd outside was sure that you were dead.

The second time the tension was unbearable was when the doctors had declined you ‘clinically dead’ on the night of August 2,1982 and Jaya had walked barefoot to the Siddhivinayak temple and walked back to your room only to find one of your toes moving and how she had screamed about your being alive and all the Doctors who were treating you had come rushing back even though they had seen no hope for you and doctor Udwadia had asked all the Doctors to pump you with Cortisone injections and you had revived after more than 100 injections where pumped into you and then had become your road to an amazing recovery you had come back alive on September 24 1982 and now what a coincidence it was to see you being the winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award after 37 years of long and hard work. What if someone had gone wrong on that night of August 2, 1982?

What would have happened if your name would have been Inqilaab which your father had selected and what would be your Future if you were known as Inqilaab Shrivastav, which was the original surname of your father’s family and who had taken the surname Bachchan as his pen name?

Did the poet Nirala know that he was naming a child Amitabh who would light up the world in the time to come?

What would have happened if my Guru and your Guru, K.A Abbas had not decided to make a film called ‘Saat Hindustani’ and had taken his assistant Tinnu Anand as the seventh Indian and Tinnu wouldn’t have ditched him at the last minute and tell him that he was joining Satyajit Ray as his 13th assistant and Abbas had told him that he wouldn’t let him go unless he gave him an alternative and how Tinnu had taken out a photograph from his purse which was given to him by his friend Sheela from Delhi who had wanted Tinnu to find the boy in the photograph a job as an actor.

And how Abbas had just one look at the photograph and asked Tinnu to ask the boy to take the first train from Calcutta to Bombay that he would pay him his one way fare second class by train between Calcutta and Bombay.

And how you and your brother, Ajitabh had joined you in your quest to stardom without really knowing what it was all about.

And how Abbas had a keen eye for talent and had decided to cast you as the 7th Indian.

And how while your agreement still being typed by Abdul Rahman, his PA, Abbas was curious to know if you were related to the poet Dr Bachchan and when you said yes, how he asked you to call your father in Delhi and only after he knew that your father had no objection to your being an actor, he had signed you for Rs 5000 for the entire film and for the 40 days of shooting in Goa where you had to share a dormitory with the entire unit which included Mr Abbas…

What would have happened if other directors like Hrishikesh Mukherjee, S. Ramanathan would not have seen your talent and cast you in films like ‘ Anand and Bombay to Goa, where you were seen by veteran actors like Pran and Om Prakash who recommended you to Prakash Mehra who was looking for an actor to play a role which was rejected by stars like Dev Anand, Raaj Kumar and Dharmendra and how it was the writer team of Salim- Javed who finally decided that Zanjeer could only be made with you as Inspector Vijay in Zanjeer and how you had kicked the chair of failure and climbed the stairs of success rapidly, till you were known as the ‘angry young man’ and the next superstar.

How can I forget that one line spoken by Prakash Mehra, when he said, you were nobody at 12 and were a star at 3 clock.

What would have happened if you had surrendered to the forces of defeat and how you had packed your bags and was willing to give up and go back to Calcutta after having 11 flops and your friend Anwar Ali had stopped you and begged of you not to leave and give yourself two more months and how you listened to his advice and how within the next few months you were a superstar and the star of the Millennium?

What would have happened if your ambition to start your own company, ABCL to make films and host big events like the Miss World Pageant in Bangalore flopped and you were reduced to a string then you had to mortgage your bungalow and you were said to be saved by some oily politicians and you survived?

What would have happened if you had not found any work after the ABCL disasters and your 5 years break from film and the only friend who would save you was Yash Chopra and who did by asking his son Aditya Chopra to cast you in his film Mohabbatein with Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai, a film which led you to new life as an actor at no other time had any actor received so many offers as you did.

And to add to your new success, you had KBC which made you an all powerful star which you still are as the 11th season of KBC is on.

What all can I say about you after being a witness to your birth as an actor to the Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner you’re today?

And what more can I expect to see you achieve in the years to come as you yourself have said that you will work till the last breath of your life and till you are forced by time and circumstances to be a face in the crowd or a junior artist standing in

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