Amitabh's special birthday gift

  Jaya on Amitabh

  Ajitabh, Ramola on AB

  Abhishek on AB

  Shweta on AB

  'Doctor, will I act again?'

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

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

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

  Neerja Shah
  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


'He is a tough nut to crack'

Anwar Ali

I first met Amitabh at Mumbai's Santacruz airport. He came along with [actor] Jalal Agha to receive me.

When I shook hands with him and heard his deep, 'Hello,' the earth shook beneath my feet. Then I saw his photograph in [director] K A Abbas's room. We were to do Saat Hindustani. We became friends.

He took me to meet his parents in Delhi. The first night, Amitabh played the sitar. He kept playing from 11 pm to 5 am. He has a great sense of music and rhythm. This was in the late 1960s, 1969, I think.

I produced Khuddar with him as hero. It was directed by Ravi Tandon in 1982. He was known for his punctuality. One day the unit had not reached the sets. Amitabh was watering the plants and welcoming everyone as they came.

Amitabh in a light mood can keep you in splits. He makes life so wonderful though he can be a tough nut to crack. He is a wonderful son to his parents. I have yet to come across such a caring person. Our relationship has sustained due to love. He is someone I consider a close friend. Whenever we meet, his hug is a rare display of affection.

People think of him as aloof. The truth is, he is a lovely person with a great sense of humour and a great deal of compassion. He has been doing a lot for people but quietly. He has given a room in a hospital at very subsidised rates for people who cannot afford it. He has done so much that it is difficult to recount these things.

When we meet or our cars pass each other, I give him a flying kiss and he returns it. We meet less frequently today but our affection remains intact.

Anwar Ali spoke to Lata Khubchandani


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