Amitabh Bachchan, the name says it all. Over the years, the living legend has created a space in our hearts with his craft. People who know him closely only have words of praises and awe for who he is. So is the case with his fans world over. As the actor turns 78 today, his female co-stars Rati Agnihotri, Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, Nafisa Ali Sodhi, Aruna Irani, Raveena Tandon and Moushumi Chatterjee, share what separates him from the rest. They talk about his strong will power, his struggles that refined him as an artiste, dedication, punctuality, discipline, being relevant even today and how he puts youngsters to shame with the way he is going strong.
The most important date that we share is October 11 because it’s also Dilip (Kumar; actor) saab and mine wedding anniversary. The first film we did together was Zameer. I also did another film with him, Hera Pheri and Amitabh ji always came across as a very polished, well-read young man. He’s a true gentleman and it was such a nice experience working with him as his heroine. He’s always there for us whenever Dilip saab has been unwell, and checks up on us all the time. He’s one man that if you message him, he replies back immediately. It’s so fabulous for a man who’s so busy.
He’s very professional. He has this strong will power to do all sorts of things even at times when things are not working for him. He’s a very brave man and that’s also visible in his choice of films. His punctuality and dedication towards his work is something one identifies with and probably, that’s the reason why he’s still in the industry for so many years. The way he’s working till now, he puts youngsters to shame.
We worked together in Mumbai to Goa. We were both young and used to help each other. Amit ji used to face trouble with dancing. It was nice experience to work with him. He was a very quiet person, and even now he’s like that. He will only talk to someone as much required. Otherwise he’s very quiet. He talks very cut to cut. He’s very articulate. Everything about him is so nice, he’s friendly and always helpful.
He’s hard working to another level, intelligent and well read. He has always been very particular about what he speaks and how he presents his points of view. All these qualities reflect in his work. He has always been very particular about his image and how he dresses up. Even today, he’s the same. Initially, he saw a lot of struggle and has learnt a lot from there. Till today, what I admire about him is his punctuality, dedication and discipline — a combination you don’t really see in a lot of people
Nafisa Ali Sodhi
He’s a wonderful family man and a great inspiration to many all around the world. He’s very spontaneous and we had a great time during the shoot of Major Saab. He’s also emotional. I remember that he’d get upset about why the critics were panning one of his films. He’s hard working and that’s exemplary in itself.
Amitabh ji was ultimate as a co-star in the films we worked together in. He’s not just a great actor, but a professional to the core. He’s always punctual, so well-read and therefore, in between shots, it’d get really interesting. I had such great fun shooting Coolie, and what a combination it was. Manmohan Desai directing, and Amit ji. I was so fortunate to have worked with such stalwarts so early on in my career. I was always punctual too, actually even annoyingly punctual, but Amitji would beat me by a whisker. We did some world shows, and he always reached before me, looming large and sitting with a grin on his face, saying ‘I reached before you’. Those were such great times.
I’ve seen him since I was two-three years old. All throughout Aks’ shoot, my first film with him, he’d tell everyone on set ‘Main isse dekhta hoon toh jhep jaata hoon, maine isse tab se dekha hai jab yeh ghutnon ke neeche tak aati thi’, and I’d always laugh. It was so difficult for me, as growing up, I had always been in awe of him. I remember a film called Khud-Daar, which my dad Ravi Tandon was directing. I must have been nine or ten. There was a full courtroom scene, and we were in Kashmir. He was supposed to speak to the judge, and I was there on the set, sitting on it. Suddenly, there was lights, camera, action, and I was transfixed, as he started doing the whole scene looking at me! His punctuality is something my dad used to swear by. He said ‘you can time your watch according to Amitabh’. If it’s a 7’o clock shift, his car would be at the gate at that time.
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