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'He knows his craft completely'
I knew Amitabh while he was still a bachelor. Our friendship spans across nearly 40 years, going back to way before Deewar and Kabhi Kabhie. Our family holidays to London always coincided and we used to end up spending quality time together. The earliest memory I have of him is from December 1973 when he was a guest at the premiere of my first film as a producer, Daag. Also my office was at Rajkamal Studio and Amitabh used to regularly shoot there, so we ended up meeting quite often.
I've known Amitabh as a neighbour for many years now. Whether we are working together or not, we always share a great camaraderie and he shows me tremendous respect. He is the most refined and cultured person I have met and exceptionally well-mannered too. He is a fantastic actor, husband and father but, more than anything else, he is a wonderful son. He does so much for so many people and there is no hype around it. He is extremely genuine and his acts of generosity are silently done. And to top that, there is his overwhelming humility.
As an actor, no one quality can describe the legend that is Amitabh Bachchan. He knows his craft completely and is first-rate. I haven't seen a more professional, dedicated and focused actor. He is so honest to the script;he never changes a single word. Dialogues are sacrosanct to him.
Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie, Trishul, Kala Pathar, Silsila, Mohabbatein or Veer Zaara, I can't imagine any of these films without him. There was a point when we were shooting Deewar and Kabhi Kabhie simultaneously and I could only marvel at his sensitive portrayal of two totally distinct characters. . . the angry young man of Deewar and the passionate poet of Kabhi Kabhie. The intensity and drama in his eyes are unparalleled. His sonorous voice and the way he uses it is awesome!
THE STYLE ICON:
Amitabh is also the most stylish and well-dressed actor. For Kabhi Kabhie, I selected all his outfits and accessories from his personal wardrobe.
He often says that I gave his career a second lease. It is his magnanimity that makes him say that. When I signed him on for Veer-Zaara, he never once asked me what his role was till we reached Chandigarh to begin the shoot.
He is a committed artiste - once he accepts a role he gives it his best. Even his cameos in Bunty aur Babli and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom were brilliant. After Paa, I can say that he is one of the world's best! And, he is a punctual actor. I have never seen him arrive late on sets or anywhere else - he arrives on time even for premieres, which always start late.
I have so many wonderful memories of him... like the time he helped me source the song location for Dekha ek khwaab in Silsila and suggested shooting it in Amsterdam's beautiful Keukenhof Gardens. The flowers are in full bloom for only two weeks in April but he accommodated his shooting dates and the rest is history! And, of course, his recitation of Main aur meri tanhai in the song Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum made the song memorable.
Amitabh is an icon for the entire fraternity. I admire the way he survived the many ups and downs. And KBC is the icing on the cake! On his 70th birthday, I wish him a very long and healthy life. I hope he continues to give us many more inspirational performances, and remains a wonderful human. But above all, I wish him love and happiness forever.
As told to Meenakshi Sinha
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