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When Ameen Sayani shattered Big B's dream of becoming RJ

Very few are aware that megastar Amitabh Bachchan had nurtured a dream of becoming a radio presenter before trying his luck in Bollywood and even visited Mumbai studio Of All India Radio for auditions.

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Pic/Sameer Markande

The versatile radio announcer Ameen Sayani, who is back on Radio with his new show 'Sitaron ki Jawaniyaan', has revealed that he did not have time to meet him as the actor had not taken an appointment for a voice audition. "It was somewhere in late 60s when I used to do 20 shows a week, spending most of the day locked up in the sound studio as I was involved in the every process of radio programming.

One day, a young man named Amitabh Bachchan walked in without appointment for a voice audition. "I had not a second to spare for this thin man. He waited and left and came back a few more times. But I could not see him and kept telling him through my receptionist to take an appointment and come," Sayani told PTI in an interview. Sayani, 81, got to know later that it was the 'Sholay' star who used to come to his office for the auditions.

When Sayani watched 'Anand' (1971), where Bachchan starred opposite Rajesh Khanna at a trial show, he was bowled over by the persona and voice of Big B without knowing he was the same person who had come for the audition.

"Bachchan had come as chief guest for an award function and he spoke about his struggling days when he had gone thrice to a radio station and was not even allowed to sit for an audition. I was shocked to hear that. Later, when I interviewed him we spoke about this at length and laughed on it," Sayani remembers.

But the Padma Shri awardee believes whatever happened, happened for the good. "Today, though I regret denying him an audition, I realise that what happened was for the best for both of us.

I would have been on the streets and he would have got so much work on radio that Indian cinema would have lost its biggest star," Sayani said. Such interesting anecdotes about various heroes, heroines, villains, comedians and character actors would be presented by Sayani on the 'Sitaron ki Jawaniyaan', a complete account of accomplishments of the lives of the celebrated icons of the golden era.

The programme will be aired on Sunday evening on Radio City. "Collating this entire series has been a personal accomplishment for me as it contained materials since 1940. It contains rare archives of my interactions with the stars who have shared interesting moments of their lives with me. They were just not celebrities, they were my friends too," he said.

Having been able to make his own identity in the world of radio by his unique style of presenting, Sayani feels these days radio jockeys waste their time in talking nonsense. "These days most of the presenters are working live.

I appreciate some of them but most of them waste time in talking on frivolous things which do not mean much. I can't understand at times what are the product they are selling," he added.

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