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When Muhammad Ali floored Bollywood with his charm

Muhammad Ali hobnobbed with Bollywood during his visit to Mumbai in 1990. The former boxing champ had attended an awards event at the Holiday Inn hotel in Juhu on December 31, 1990.

Muhammad Ali presents actress Rekha an award for her film Ganga ki Saugandh as late filmmaker Sultan Ahmed (left) looks on
Muhammad Ali presents actress Rekha an award for her film Ganga ki Saugandh as late filmmaker Sultan Ahmed (left) looks on

When he met Rekha, the show's host Amin Sayani quipped, "He has the punch in the fist and she has the punch in her eyes."

Ali had visited the city on the invitation of the late filmmaker Sultan Ahmed (Ganga Ki Saugand, Daata, Jai Vikraanta) who was hosting an event to felicitate stars who had worked with his production house.

Among those in attendance were Sunil Dutt, Mithun Chakraborty, Amrish Puri, Satyen Kappu and Laxmikant Pyarelal.

Recollecting the champ's visit, Sultan Ahmed's wife Farah said, "An invitation was sent to Muhammad Ali a month in advance through our London-based common friend Omar Ahmed.

When he agreed, we were taken by surprise. It was also New Year's eve so we thought he may not attend. But when he made an entry, we were knocked out. It was a once in a lifetime experience to see him and shake hands with him. He was well aware of Hindi films' melodrama besides the song and dance routines.

"He graciously gave away trophies to the actors including Rekha. He sat throughout the function and even played with the kids around. When I shook hands with Muhammad Ali, I could only sympathise with his opponents in the ring. I felt my hand would crumble in my palm. He will always remain an all-time inspiration to us."

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