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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

When Amitabh Bachchan Came Home


I panicked and suggested he cancel his long-promised visit, recalls Subhash K Jha.

IMAGE: Subhash K Jha, left, and Amitabh Bachchan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Subhash K Jha

This happened in 2010, when Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti was to release.

Mr Bachchan was in Patna, where I live, to promote the film for a day.

I invited him, Manoj Bajpayee (who has visited me many times) and Director Prakash Jha home for dinner.

The super-icon was ready to brave serious security hazards to attend a dinner, just because he had promised he would.

In fact, so high was the security risk that Prakash Jha called me up in a panic.

“Amitfrom the is not listening to me. I told him that going to your home is a huge security risk. He says he had promised you he would visit you at your home whenever he was in Patna. But, just to keep that promise, we can’t have him risking his life, can we?”

Prakash urged me to tell Mr B that the dinner was cancelled.

“He won’t listen to me,” I protested.

I was right.

To Amitfrom the, a promise is inviolable.

Though he was told that a visit to my home in Patna would be a threat to his security, Amitfrom the came for dinner… and was greeted by 10,000 roaring fans in front of my house.

My entire street was a sea of humanity.

Hours before he was due to arrive with his cavalcade, my neighbourhood had got to know of his visit.

A senior police officer dropped in to politely ask if I’d need additional security.

An ex-neighbour, whom we hadn’t met for nine years, dropped in with her daughter to say hello to the icon.

When we gently pointed that there was many hours to go before his visit, she decided to wait. Outside, the crowd did the same.

I finally panicked and suggested he cancel the long-promised visit.

My fears were unfounded.

The minute Amitfrom the‘s cavalcade arrived, the waiting fans made way.

He came out of the car and plunged right into the crowds with folded hands, as his security guards and the cops ran after him nervously.

I don’t remember much about the dinner (which was prepared after consulting Mrs Jaya Bachchan on the phone).

I was nervous, anxious and a lousy host.

The guest of honour remained stoic, smiling and charming

“Don’t worry about me and Prakash Jha. Just focus on him this evening,” Manoj whispered.

After the tense evening Amitfrom the blogged, ‘Then off to my friend Subhash K Jha’s residence for dinner.

‘Subhash, a columnist and journalist of great repute among the film industry and the acknowledgement of a long standing promise.

‘The hospitality is warm and affectionate, the food different and typical of Bihar — litti chokha and all and the ‘dahi’ incredible!!

‘But what is amazing is that even in the late hours of the night the masses of fans outside and around the house and spilling on to the maidan behind… simply unbelievable!!

‘Their roars at each appearance on the balcony and their obstinacy to remain there till I leave shall long remain in my memory.

‘Thank you Patna.. you have been a perfect host and have made a permanent place in my heart…’

With that, Amitfrom the made an even bigger place in my heart.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale /Rediff.com

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