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The Gold Standard

A man. A mega star. A legend. The biggest icon in the Hindi film industry, Amitabh Bachchan is known by many names.

He made his debut in the industry five decades ago, and changed its course for the better. Starting with films such as Saat Hindustani and Anand, he became a face and a personality that every household in the country recognised.

Whether it was his ‘angry young man’ such as Zanjeer, Trishul, Sharaabi and Agneepath, his subtle and powerful presence in Abhimaan and Mili, humour in Chupke Chupke, Namak Halaal, Satte Pe Satta and Amar Akbar Anthony, and romance in Kabhi Kabhie and Silsila, he is an actor who has quite literally done it all. Big B has given Indian cinema films that stand the test of time, gems that the entire country is proud of with Sholay, Don and Deewar to name just a few.

It is not only his acting prowess but also his baritone, his personality, his style and stature that have enchanted the audience for so long. Who can forget the iconic lines, ‘Rishte mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hain, naam hai Shahenshah’; ‘Jao pehle us aadmi ka sign le ke aao jisne mera baap ko chor kaha tha’; ‘Aaj mere paas bangla hai, gaadi hai, bank balance hai, kya hai tumhare paas?’; ‘Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, naamumkin hai’; ‘Main aur meri tanhai, aksar yeh baatein karte hai’; ‘Main aaj bhi phenke hue paise nahin uthata’; ‘Moochein ho toh Nathulal jaise warna na ho’; ‘Hum jahan khade ho jaate hain, line wahi se shuru hoti hain’; and many, many more.

His presence on the big screen has been, and will always be, unmatched in any role that he plays.

In 1982, the superstar was severely injured on the sets of Coolie. The tragedy sent the entire country into a tailspin as fans across India started praying for their beloved actor to get back on his feet. The love and faith of his fans and the industry was so strong that no power could have taken Amitabh Bachchan away. He recuperated and was back on the set to give the audience another big hit. Such is the power of Big B!

Like every legend, Mr Bachchan has also seen ups and downs in life. The ’90s were particularly difficult for the actor. But with his dedication to his craft and the infallible confidence he exudes, he rose like a phoenix and proved that there is no other like him.

With Kaun Banega Crorepati and films like Mohabbatein and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham..., he made his comeback in an industry from which he could never be written off. It is not only in India that he is revered as an icon but globally as well. He is the first living Asian to have had his wax statue presented in the esteemed Madame Tussauds in London. His fan following across the globe is immeasurable as he not only represents the film industry but also the country.

Continuing to deliver flawless performances in films like Baghban, Black, Veer-Zaara, Bunty Aur Babli, Sarkar, Paa, Pink and his latest hit, 102 Not Out, he is delighting his myriad fans at the age of 76 even today.

This week, the phenomenon that is Amitabh Bachchan completes his golden jubilee in the Hindi film industry. It was in February 1969 that he signed his very first film Saat Hindustani. And here we are, 50 years down the line, still mesmerised by this mega star, still revelling in his boundless talent and we hope to continue to do so for many more years to come.

For this special article, we spoke to many from the industry and asked them to share their thoughts on the legend that is Amitabh Bachchan. Here is what they said:  

Sharmila Tagore, Actor

In those days, no actor was punctual, except Shashi Kapoor, who used to come on time and Amit always used to arrive before the chowkidar would arrive to clean the floors. He was always on time, which was good for us women because we had to dress up and we would take a little longer than the men to get ready. I used to travel to my shoots from town. I used to get ready and wait for Sanjeev Kumar and Rajesh Khanna. Except for Shashi Kapoor and Amit, nobody else would be on time.

It was Amit’s punctuality that I respected a lot. The way he has carried such a long and illustrious career is something I admire. And he was bilingual. In this generation, there is Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi who speak in Hindi, but they are not really bilingual. Amitabh could speak both English and Hindi so well. That reflected in his performances and that helped him as an actor. Language is very important for an actor.

He never told his co-actors what to do. He let the director speak. There are a lot of actors who tell others how to act, what to do and where to stand. At least, in my time, they used to do that. He minded his own business. He used to prepare and would know his lines. There was no unnecessary talk or chatter on the set. He was always very professional.

He is working with younger directors now. At 78, he is still very relevant. His voice matters and that helps his films. Out of every three films he does today, one film becomes memorable. That is wonderful, isn’t it? The fact that he is working, is active and doing action films… his career is very productive even today. He is a hard-worker, which I respect.

Whenever he speaks at an event, he goes prepared. I have heard him in Morocco and Kolkata at film festivals. He prepares his speech and he knows what he has to say. Otherwise, some people simply entertain the crowd and walk off. Amitabh leaves you with a thought. He takes himself seriously to that extent, be it his image or his work. That is something I appreciate.

I completed my 50th year in the industry 10 years ago. I started working at the age of 13. As he completes 50 years, I congratulate him. I hope he keeps working for many more years. I wish him all the best for a glorious future!

Vidya Balan, Actor

The most amazing thing about Mr Bachchan is that we have watched him in innumerable films. It is almost like the nation knows his every mannerism and yet he remains an enigma, a mystery. I have worked with him briefly in Eklavya: The Royal Guard and more intimately in Paa but despite that you wonder what makes Amitabh Bachchan into the man that he is. That is the most amazing quality about him. Of course, what an actor! One cannot mention a single film as a favourite.

I remember as a kid, apparently, until Saara zamana haseeno ka deewana showed on Chitrahar or Chaya Geet, I would not eat my dinner. So, my mom would always be hoping that they would show it. Also, when he was in the hospital, I wanted to go and see him there and my mom would make up excuses every day. I took it very seriously. And what’s amazing is that in Paa, there was a scene like that and when we were shooting it, I was reminded of my childhood.

In the film, basically, Auro was sitting ready for a trip with his father, played by Abhishek (Bachchan). And I used to sit like that when I was a kid. I used to be ready and sit thinking tht my mom would take me to the hospital. I think he has had a profound influence on every generation. Even my seven year old niece and nephew know who Amitabh Bachchan is. Who doesn’t know him?!

That voice, that diction, the way he articulates, the dignity, the elegance, the eloquence, that passion, that commitment, everything about him is amazing. God bless him with oodles of energy for ever and ever so that he continues to entertain us because when you think of entertainment, the first name that crosses your mind is Amitabh Bachchan, undoubtedly. The way he has reinvented himself from time to time, it is just incredible. He is an inspiration and will always be one. I never take liberties with Mr Bachchan.

Even though we have worked together, I can never just have a conversation with him because I feel that maybe I am being over familiar. I mean, he is Amitabh Bachchan; he is untouchable in a way. For the longest time I kept wondering if he felt hungry or if he got cravings like a normal person because he is so special. Huge congratulations to him on completing 50 years, half a century, as an actor in the industry and I wish him another 50 years, at the very least. God bless him!

Sachin Pilgaonkar, Actor-Filmmaker

I have worked with Mr Amitabh Bachchan since 1973, first in the film Sholay. I have also done Trishul and Satte Pe Satta with him. It is my honour to be associated with Bachchanji and I have learnt many things from him. First, sincerity and the kind of devotion he has for the film industry. Second is the punctuality which people still swear by. During Sholay, we didn’t open up to each other very much, but later while working on Satte Pe Satta, we got quite comfortable. He is a fun-loving guy but he does not speak a whole lot. The reason is he takes his work very seriously.

It is an honour for this film industry to have a talent like Mr Bachchan. He has the ability to agree with the director even when he is in the lead, and complementing the co-actors and getting involved in the work with them. In spite of being a person who doesn’t like to talk much, for the scenes, he talks to many people, whether technicians or his co-actors.

He became a friend to all of us during Satte Pe Satta. When we were shooting in Kashmir, he spent more time with us than with his family. He used to be with us till 2 to 3 in the morning, having a good time, and was still on the set at 6.35 am for the 7 o’ clock shoot the next day. He used to pull our legs by saying, ‘Oh my God, you had a late night!’ He was always punctual and reached the set early and we used to feel ashamed of being 10 or 15 minutes late. He did not leave a single stone unturned to make us feel happy.

I would like to congratulate him for completing 50 years in the industry. This is a big deal, still working every year. I hope and pray to the Almighty that he remains on his toes for another 50 years.

Anil Kapoor, Actor

I have not worked with him, as such, even though I would love to get that opportunity. He had a guest appearance in one of my films, Armaan. We barely worked together in that film, for just two to three days. Zyaada kaam nahi tha. In fact, you can say that we have not worked together on screen. But we have done a lot of shows together and am looking forward to working with him again.

I was reading a book on Sir Michael Caine, who has been working for 60-65 years. He is 85 years old now. I think his career was at its best between his ages of 60 and 85. Hopefully, Amitabh Bachchan will work for another 30 years like many international artistes. 50 years is nothing!

He has always raised the bar. He is so correct. He has always been the kind of person who inspires you and who you aspire to be. You need people like these in your work space and in your life, to give you that kind of motivation. You need people to push you to work for another 10 years. There are actors like Christopher Plummer and Morgan Freeman, who are more than 80 years old now. Amitabh Bachchan still has a long way to go. For him, it has only been 50 years in the industry!   

Paresh Rawal, Actor

Apart from what everybody knows about his punctuality and professionalism, what I have learnt and been impacted by is his persona. Even though he has a lot of medical issues, he has never thrown a tantrum or ever said, ‘I cannot do this.’ He will do what the director wants even though he is such a huge star and terrific actor. I have never seen a more obedient actor. He could easily put his foot down or simply indicate that he doesn’t want to do something. Second, he has tremendous energy to reinvent himself after so many films like Paa, taking risks with a film like Nishabd or going against the tide with a film like Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. To attempt that, you need guts and be very secure as an actor and be secure about your craft and believe in your director.

After so many years, an actor could get jaded, but he does his work with utmost honesty, which is the hallmark of Mr Bachchan. The one thing I really admire about him is that when he was going through such a tough time during ABCL, he didn’t bad-mouth anybody. He chose to repay each and every one. He could have hidden behind business legalities but he chose not to. There were people who said he was finished, but he kept his cool and his dignity.

That is what Mr Bachchan is all about; dignity and class. He has never compromised on his values. To me, this is what he is all about – dignity, class, his values and dedication to his craft. Amazing! You very rarely come across a person like him. He is a legend.

I would like to wish him a long and healthy life and that he continue working. But most of all, I wish that Bachchan saab  write a book. After all, he is Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s son and his command over the language is so good. Read his Twitter feed; it is never negative. His posts are so insightful and have such depth. Future generations will understand acting and the craft from him.

Mukesh Bhatt, Producer

Amitabh Bachchan has been a very important part of my journey even though we have not had the privilege of working together. But our interaction has been beyond that. According to me, he is a living legend. I don’t think another Amitabh Bachchan will come into the industry for another hundred years. And it is not only so because he is a volcano of talent but also because he is a great professional. He is the embodiment of what professionalism should be.

He is a man who has his head and heart it the right place, a man who stands by you, one who is cultured, humble and has so much humility, so much understanding and depth and so much understanding of other people’s problems. He is the epitome of a mentor for many people. I believe that if anyone wants to aspire to be anything in this profession, Amitabh Bachchan is the role model to have.

Not only in terms of his acting, one should also look up to him in terms of his professionalism, his commitment, his passion and his understanding of the problems of a director, producer or the situation in which the shooting is being held. He has a human quality to take things forward even in the most adverse conditions. People give up, they don’t even make an effort. They say it is not possible. But I have watched this man, over and over again, as he has stood up against all odds and against tough conditions, and has delivered.

He has reinvented himself and has fought for his health so many times. And despite his health, he has gone out of his way to understand the problems of a film producer and the production house and gone ahead and shot, which is something not many people would do. I salute a man of his stature because people like him come once in a century. He has left his footprints on my heart forever.

Bhushan Kumar, Chairman, T-Series and Super Cassettes

Amitji is someone I have grown up watching. He has been my matinee idol since I started watching movies. I think this is true for most people of our generation. When I was growing up, the magic of movies was synonymous with Amitabh Bachchan and his ‘angry young man’ image that was carved after Deewar. Sholay, Deewar and Anand remain his all-time favourite movies for me.

I have had an association with him because T-Series has released the music of many of his films. It’s my good fortune that many years later, T-Series and I got an opportunity to work with him closely in Bhootnath Returns, which we produced. His commitment and his passion to his craft are unparalleled. That’s why he is regarded as a legend and that is why he is where he is today. I don’t think there will be another superstar like him again.

From the little I got to observe of him on the set of Bhootnath Returns, his enthusiasm to learn new things, no matter how small, was very inspiring to all of us who have worked with him. I am delighted that we have come together to work once again in Nagraj Manjule directed film as actor-producer. My congratulations and good wishes to him for completing 50 years in the industry. I am certain that he will continue to rule for many years to come. I am hopeful that T-Series will get to work with him closely again in future.

Satish Kaushik, Actor-Filmmaker

The greatest thing about my relationship with Amitji is that we are from the same college, Kirori Mal College, Delhi. When I was in college, we used to be so proud that Mr Amitabh Bachchan was such a great actor. We used to watch his films and feel very proud. I never thought that one day I would get a chance to work with him and we would be communicating with each other. It was a dream come true for me. He did a guest appearance in the film Jalwa, of which I was also a part. That scene with Amitji and havaldar Ramu Ghadiali, the character I played, is remembered even today. Since then, it has been a great experience to know him and to know his philosophy; the way he lives his life, the passion he has for being an actor and how he treats his roles. Although he is a legend in our industry, he is still very down-to-earth and very approachable. That is a great quality about him. Whenever you send him a message or call him, whether personal or professional, his office always gets back to you.

We have shared screen space in films like Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan and Jalwa, and it has been a great experience to work with him. I have just one more dream… to direct Mr Amitabh Bachchan. 

R Balki, Director

Amitabh Bachchan’s 50 years have made so many black marketeers lakhpatis! Can you imagine the box office collection of his films if you include the black market collections as well! It would be astronomical! His movies were blockbusters anyway. So many people die for first day first show tickets of his movies. I also feel that it is 50 years of many men wanting to be like him and 50 years of making women feel that they have compromised on the men they can be with! He is the classic man. We cannot say he is a 75-year-old man! He is a classically cool actor and he will be relevant for generations to come. That is a very rare quality for an actor. The biggest actor at 75 today is also one of the busiest actors. One darshan of Amitabh Bachchan is enough to make anyone’s life. This industry is lucky to see a phenomenon like him. I think I have been very lucky to work with him in most of my films.

Boman Irani, Actor

As a young man watching Mr Bachchan’s films, all I and every other young and old friend was doing then, was relating every move of our lives to his. The way he dressed, spoke, walked or held his eyelids in a way that made his eyes soulful or angry. It was a time of great influence.

What most may have missed out was his possible influence that was not transmitted through his movies. His eloquence, punctuality, discipline, manners, ambassadorship and tenacity. So along with a legacy of his movies, the man and his way influenced more than my generation. That’s 50 years of actor and man combined, looming over all of us. Making presence, remaining relevant, and still moving on regardless.  Here’s to good health and the combined blessing of a grateful nation!

Siddharth Roy Kapur, Producer

As with many children of the ‘70s, I was completely obsessed with Amitabh Bachchan. When he was being beaten up by Vinod Khanna in Amar Akbar Anthony, my cousin and I had to be evicted from Opera House, kicking and screaming. When Rakhee refused to reciprocate his love in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, it took me a long time to forgive her! When he died at the end of Sholay, my poor grandfather (who was compelled to take me to see the film at Minerva once every couple of months) had to endure his 6-year-old grandson wailing hopelessly every single time. When he walked onto the stage in his disco-light jacket in Yaarana, I knew I had to have one just like it. And then...when he was battling for his life in Breach Candy Hospital, my mother and I would pray for him every night.

When I got to work with him as a junior marketing executive on launching Kaun Banega Crorepati, I could have died and gone to heaven. And, today, when he meets me so warmly, gives me a hug and says “Hi Siddharth,” I can scarcely believe that he actually knows who I am. After all these years in the industry, you get used to the idea of interacting with people you have grown up admiring. But the crazy fan in me is just as awestruck each time I meet Mr Amitabh Bachchan.

His impact on me has been so immense that it has literally changed the course of my life. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for all those growing-up years spent watching his movies, first day first show, in a dark cinema, dreaming that one day I’d be part of the world that he rules. Thank you for everything, sir, and here’s to another 50 years!

Sujoy Ghosh, Director

It is very hard to articulate the experience of working with Mr Bachchan. In the true sense, it is ‘an experience’. He is like a film school. You work with him to learn. I still remember when we were shooting Aladin, it was all blue screen. There was one particular low-angle shot that I had to take. There were a lot of technical problems in framing that shot. My DoP and I were trying to figure out how to go about it. In order to get sir in the frame, we used to ask him to stand in a very awkward way, because we were running out of chroma cloth.

He was observing us. He was sitting far away, but he understood that we were having some difficulties. So he just went and stood there. He solved the issue because he understood the problem. He made our life that much simpler. These are the little things that he knows. It teaches us to be better filmmakers. It is a little intimidating being around him. But on the set, he is a director’s actor; he will do whatever you want from him. So if I get intimidated, I am letting him down. But I would never cross a line with him. He can read you from six miles away. So the best thing is to be honest with him. Don’t suck up to him, talk to him straight and he will give you the stuff you want, and more.

Boney Kapoor, Producer

I have done one film with Amitabh Bachchan. I had worked as an assistant director with Shakti Samanta on the sets of The Great Gambler. He was very jovial as well as professional on the set. I saw the emotional side of him when Amjad (Khan) met with an accident and was hospitalized in critical condition. Amitabh Bachchan went out of his way to see that he received the best treatment and was airlifted to Bombay. That was my first experience with him.

He used to have a lot of fun because there were quite a few occasions when I was asked to play his double. He had a double role in that film. I still have vivid memories of what happened on the sets of The Great Gambler.

Then I produced the film, Kyun! Ho Gaya Na... His professionalism was intact during that film. And he has continued to stay at this level for 50 years! The commitment that he has towards his work is remarkable. There are not many who have achieved what he has. Even at this age, the kind of energy that he brings on the professional front is amazing.

I admire his roles in Zanjeer and Amar Akbar Anthony most. He portrayed two very different roles in these films and he excelled in both. In Amar Akbar Anthony, he was acclaimed for being an entertainer. His flair for comedy came across in films like Amar Akbar Anthony and Hera Pheri. His intensity as an actor came across in Zanjeer and Deewar.

Ayushmann Khurrana, Actor

Amitabh Bachchan sir is the only megastar of Hindi cinema. He is a true inspiration who has transformed himself with the changing times. He has bridged so many generations. He was my grandfather’s favourite superstar; he is my dad’s icon; and for me he’s a benchmark that nobody else can surpass. He also connects with the millennial generation through social media, and his zest to learn more and more about tech and sports is unbelievable at his age. My favourite moment was when I got a handwritten note from him for my performance in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. That’s my personal Oscar. Thank you, dear sir, for existing.

Sonu Sood, Actor

Mr Bachchan is an institution. He is the reason many of us have come to this industry. The way he has portrayed his roles, maintained discipline, has been an inspiration for everyone. He was always an idol and will always remain an idol for all of us. I have thoroughly enjoyed all his films over the years but my favourite is Deewar. I think he was just brilliant in that film. I have worked with him in Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap, where he played my father.

On the first day when we shot together, I felt intimidated by his presence but he makes you very comfortable. And when we did those scenes together, they were magical. People who saw us together on screen believed we looked like father and son, which is what the role demanded.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him. When people achieve the kind of position he has it is not just hard work, not just talent, they are great souls. Mr Bachchan is a great human being, a great soul and that is why he is the most-loved actor of our times.

Sunir Kheterpal, Producer

Working with Mr Amitabh Bachchan was like a dream turning into a reality. Awe-inspiring, enchanting... you wanted to stand in a corner, wanting to see and experience his presence on the set... yet not be seen. He is an institution and there is no one like him. How can one name a favourite film of Amitabh Bachchan – there are just too many! But, yeah, Chupke Chupke, Sholay, Agneepath, Shakti and the older role in Akhree Raasta would be my favourites.

Anees Bazmee, Filmmaker

I have always wanted to work with Mr Bachchan and with Aankhen 2, Inshallah my dream will come true. I have seen every single film of his and he has always been an actor par excellence irrespective of the film’s fortunes. He is an inspiration to millions and the same goes for me. My personal favorite film of his is Aankhen definitely. It was interesting to see him play a grey role. With a character like Auro in Paa, he broke so many stereotypes. I am looking forward to working with him very soon.

Kartik Aaryan, Actor

We all have grown up idolising and watching Mr Bachchan’s magic on screen. Even after so many years and after playing so many characters, he always has something new to offer. That really fascinates me. His dedication and discipline towards his work is inspirational. He is an institution in himself. I’ve got one or two opportunity to interact with him and I always get nervous in front of him. I hope to get an opportunity to work with him soon. That would be dream come true for me.

Ravi Kishan, Actor

I am one of the biggest fans of Mr Amitabh Bachchan. The way school educates us, Bachchan has taught us a lot in cinema halls. I have seen Mr Bachchan as a hero and when I got a chance to work with him, it was the biggest day of my life. He was discharged from hospital just a day earlier and came directly to the sets of our Bhojpuri film Ganga, which was being produced by his make-up man. I thought he would take it easy because he had just come out of hospital.

I had a lovely time working with him because the intensity which he works with and the honesty that he shows in his work are inspiring. It was a wonderful experience because I got to learn from him. I got to learn how honest and professional he was when he was on the set and why he has been a mega star for so long. He was so professional that he completed 23 scenes in three days even though he was still recuperating. The biggest thing about him that has inspired me is how he has risen from the ashes. During Coolie and later in the ’90s, he went through a very bad phase, health-wise as well as financially, but he bounced back from all these dire circumstances. This is the biggest lesson one can learn from him.

Amit Sadh, Actor

First, to be able to breathe the same air as Amitabh Bachchan is in itself a blessing. To be called an actor or an artiste in the same time that Amitabh Bachchan is an actor and an artiste is great. I am showered with a double blessing that I got to share the screen with him and on top of that, be part of one of my favourite films of his, Sarkar 3. I got to play the role of his grandson, Chiku. And many people don’t know that it was he who cast me. I consider myself very fortunate to have been associated with Mr Bachchan.

I think he is the best ever co-actor. He is so present and his dedication to his craft is unquestionable. It is just the way he is, his consciousness about the set, his role, other actors, is supreme. I think after working with him in Sarkar 3, although I still have a long way to go, I have a little understanding of how to be aware and ready, reach the set, in front of the camera, ready with your lines, your character, your costume and how to take care of all these aspects by yourself. That is one of the many things I loved and learnt and I hope to implement in my work.

Manav Kaul, Actor

I have worked with him in Wazir and Badla. He is the most hardworking actor even after so many years. It is only when you work with him that you realize just how much goes into making who Amitabh Bachchan is, how much he rehearses each and every line and scene, even today. He does not take anything for granted. That is the biggest learning for all our young actors. You tend to relax but he works really hard and is always on time. 

I must have watched Sholay about 50 times! Every time he dies in the film, I cry. He is one of the most wonderful actors we have. He is going very strong and I want him to go stronger than ever, work more, and show us the path of hard work by being the way he is. I look forward to working with him again.

Kirti Kulhari, Actor

Working with Mr Amitabh Bachchan in a film like Pink was an absolute honour. He not only adapted himself so well to all us youngsters and the way we work but also added so much value to the film just by his mere presence. His commitment and dedication to his craft even at this age is an inspiration. He doesn’t take his work or his success for granted and constantly and consistently works towards it.

He has truly stood the test of time and has a fan following across generations. He strives harder with each passing year, to better himself as an actor and to be a part of cinema that matters. He is evergreen! He has done so many films and portrayed so many memorable characters. Some of my favourite ones are Chupke Chupke, Deewar, Sholay, Paa, Hum and, of course, Pink. My best wishes to him for completing 50 years in this industry. 50 more to go... God bless sir!

Dabboo Ratnani, Celebrity and Fashion Photographer

Amitabh Bachchan is a complete delight to shoot with because he completely trusts the technicians. The fact that he decides to shoot with you is because he completely trusts you. He doesn’t interfere with your thought processes or in the creative freedom that you have. He just lets you do exactly what you want. You can tell him that I am looking for this and he will give it to you.

The first time I shot with him, I was very nervous because I had to give instructions to a legend. I was just 20 years old and it was very intimidating because he was Amitabh Bachchan and, moreover, the way he speaks, his accent, his voice… The whole onus was on me, in terms of how he reacts and I thought that I shouldn’t say something wrong. But, he was totally chilled out. He asked me what I wanted him to wear and we went to see his wardrobe. I couldn’t believe that I was allowed in his room to check his clothes. And the best thing is that he is still the same. I shot with him just a few weeks ago, and it was great. I had called him for it and every time you call him, he picks up the phone and answers, ‘Dabboo, this is Amitabh Bachchan.’ That is such a weird feeling. I still get nervous. In fact, I stand up every time I am talking to him, even on the phone! And he again asked the same question about what I wanted him to wear, which says that nothing has changed with him.

In our world, everyone’s benchmark is to be like Mr Bachchan. Every actor aspires to become what he is. My career has literally grown alongside him. He has been a very important part of my journey.

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