Amitabh's special birthday gift

  Jaya on Amitabh

  Ajitabh, Ramola on AB

  Shweta on AB

  'Doctor, will I act again?'

  Hema Malini
  Neetu Singh
  Puneet Issar
  Nirupa Roy
  Shashi Kapoor
  Shatrughan Sinha

  Ramesh Sippy
  Rakesh Mehra
  Praksha Mehra
  Tinnu Anand
  K Bhagyaraj
  Prahlad Kakkar

  Slide Show
  AB's birthday gift
  The director's actor
  The family man
   A day with AB

  Neerja Shah
  Anwar Ali
  Romesh Sharma
  Khalid Mohamed

  Age is just a number for AB
  AB, rare class act

   Sweet 60! A factfile
  Jessica Hines

  Readers' take
  'AB is the greatest entertainer'
  Happy birthday, Amitabh!

  AB on Rediff
  AB's filmography

  Which AB do you like best?

  Angry young man
  Game show host
  Mature artiste


'Dad is just perfect'

Abhishek Bachchan

Abhishek Bachchan My earliest memory is of running to greet Pa when he returned from work. We would jump on him and get a big hug.

So habituated was I to this ritual that the day he had his fateful accident on the sets of Coolie (1982), I jumped on him as usual. For the first time, he pushed me away. I was six years old then. I was so upset that I sulked all night, thinking that it would be alright in the morning. I didn't realise he was in great pain.

All through that ordeal in the hospital, not once did I realise how serious he was. At the hospital, I would be fascinated by the blood and glucose bottles, and he would say, 'Look, I've got these kites for you!'

My father keeps saying, 'No matter what I do in life, I will never be able to repay the people for what they have done.'

When he came back from the hospital, there were thousands of people outside [the house] waiting for a glimpse of him every evening. He would take me out and say, 'Always remember and appreciate this.'

Even now, every Sunday, I go with him to Prateeksha [one of the Bachchan homes in the northwestern Mumbai suburb of Juhu], and we greet people.

For the first time, recently, he introduced me to the crowds. He made me wave out to them. Before this I was 'crowd control;' I would stand behind him. Now, he just pulled me forward and said, 'This is my son.' They clapped and took photographs. It was very touching.

That is when I realised what this person is all about and how much people love him.

I don't think I ever really discovered that dad was somebody. He was so normal at home. At home he was our father.

When I was about eight, I went abroad to study, so his celebrityhood never really hit me. Yes, subconsciously, I knew he was somebody. But it was as if I had gotten used to seeing him as two different people.

As a child I only watched my father's films; I hero-worshipped him. After watching all those fight sequences, I would go down to the garden and enact them. If anyone beat up dad, I would very upset.

I am told I met Amjad uncle [villain of many Amitabh films] a day after I had watched him beat up Pa in a film. I was very angry with him!

Dad's really shy. But when he is around people he is very comfortable with, he lets his hair down and loves to have fun. That is a wonderful time to catch him actually.

He is very patient. He has never raised his hand or voice at me. Once the parameters of good behaviour were set, he never really asserted himself as a parent. He never said, 'You cannot do this or don't do this.'

Dad is an extremely simple person, has simple tastes. If you want to please him you just need to spend time with him. I remember when I would come back from school he would call me to the office and make me sit with him while he worked. We didn't talk. He likes to have his family around him. He is very demonstrative with the family. He will give you a hug or spend time with you. He loves it if we watch a movie or go for a drive together. We drive around and listen to music.

I remember my first day of shooting in Bhuj, Gujarat. Dad was not in Mumbai. He was shooting elsewhere. I was alone. I was nervous. I was panicking. On my way to the airport I spoke to dad on the phone.

I said, 'Pa, this is it, I'm jumping into the pool.' He just said, 'Work hard, work sincerely, work wholeheartedly. Be humble and remember that the name you have is passed on to you not only from me but from your grandfather too. Remember who you are and give it your best.'

That is all he said to me. That is all he needed to say to me. I was on top of the world after that.

I remember after he saw my first film, Refugee, he was just so happy. He hugged me and said, 'Well done.' He didn't have to say anymore. After he saw Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa he sent me a letter and flowers on my set. He does these things. He loved Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke as well.

He said, 'I can see you improve.' He gives me pointers too. I wouldn't improve, else.

He is my best friend. I can talk to him about anything. I think he is just perfect. I am proud if people think I am like him.

I don't copy him but if they see him in me, I think it is natural. After all, I am his son.

Abhishek Bachchan spoke to Lata Khubchandani


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