‘He’d make everyone relax’
Having worked with Big B in several films, Zeenat Aman talks about working with the Don
“Mr Bachchan is a very punctual man. Even though he was intensely involved with the work at hand, he would make everyone around him relax with his great sense of humour. Once a director came on the sets drunk. I had reported on time. But the director started yelling when I entered. I got upset and retired to my make up room. After sometime Mr Bachchan came with the producer and explained that the director was inebriated. Then, the director came and apologised to me. I still don’t know what transpired between him and the director. I will be meeting him on his birthday to wish him.”
‘I think 70 is just a number’
Rati Agnihotri was Big B’s co-star when he met with his near-death accident on the sets of Coolie
“He is such a stalwart and yet so cool. I think 70 is just a number and he rocks. When we first met, I had butterflies in my stomach. Incidentally, I was not on the sets during his accident but I did visit him at Breach Candy hospital.
The country was praying for him to get better. I wonder what the family must have gone through. But when he came back on the sets, he started shooting as if nothing had happened. He was very finicky about time and so was I. When we were shooting at Bangalore station, I would decide to reach the sets before him. But he was always there before me.”
‘His name is God on my phone’
A close family friend, Suniel Shetty has worked with him in two films…
“His number on my phone is saved as God. So whenever he wishes me on my special days, I feel blessed. When we worked together in Kaante, he was going through lot of pain due to injuries. In LA, he used to be on the sets ready at 7 am. He would promise to join us for lunch but never came.
Then we realised that his doctor was attending to his shoulder and back injury during that time. He did not tell us, as he did not want to disrupt the shoot. It is unbelievable! I have five TV sets at my home. And when KBC starts, all the sets are tuned into the show.”
‘I couldn’t keep up with his pace’
Amitabh Bachchan has romanced many leading ladies from the industry, but Nafisa Khan aka Jiah Khan remains his youngest ever
“I had only heard about the phenomenon that is Amitabh Bachchan but working with him was a different high altogether. I very categorically remember that I was on the sets and was listening to a random track when he came and he asked me what I was listening to.
He changed the track to some St Tropez-esque trance song, which is something you don’t associate with someone who is in his ’60s. It shows what diverse taste he has in music. In fact, he is also a fantastic dancer. When we had to shake a leg in Nishabd, I couldn’t even keep up with his pace. He is the epitome of coolness.”
‘He teased me about my eating habits’
David and Amitabh did two films and the director fondly calls him Badke Bhaiya...
“Amitji ka kaun fan nahi hai? The first day when I shot with him, I was nervous about saying cut, sound and action, but I vouch for his discipline. I am so blessed that my son recently went on the sets of KBC and danced with him.
When big actors refuse me, I tell myself, ‘Ja mujhe kya fark padta hai. I have done two films with Amitabh Bachchan. You are not bigger than him.’ One little-known fact about him is that he has a tremendous sense of humour and he has a bag full of jokes. Only people close to him know about this. I have witnessed this when he used to tease me about my eating habits.”
‘His discipline is worth emulating’
Manoj Bajpai is excited about starting his third film with Big B very soon
“I have been completely privileged and fortunate to have worked with him. His behaviour, his discipline and his punctuality are something that everyone should try and emulate. I guess I have become an actor of some importance just by working with him.”
I distinctly remember when he called me in the middle of the night to discuss certain scenes in Aks, where he had to copy my performance. He told Rakyesh Mehra (director) that the scene in question would only be okay once I okayed it. I was rendered speechless. On that day I realised the greatness of the man I was working with.”