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

  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
  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

  Who was AB's best heroine?

  Zeenat Aman
  Parveen Babi
  Hema Malini
  Neetu Singh



'He is a thorough professional'

Prakash Mehra

Prakash Mehra He is a living legend. One cannot say he has become big now -- he was never small.

He was larger than life on the big screen; he was big on the small screen too. I am happy to say I had spotted his outstanding quality 25 years ago when I cast him in my films. The whole world agrees with me now.

I was making Zanjeer and had thought of casting Dharmendra. It didn't work out. [Actor] Pransaab told us to check out this new boy in Bombay To Goa which had just released. So writers Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar and I went to see him. We clicked.

Zanjeer happened. The rest is history.

But I would like to point out that that that angry young man persona did not continue in my next film. I never exploited his image. I tried to give him a new image in each film. After Zanjeer I made a frothy comedy Hera Pheri. He was so good in it. I did Laawaris, Namak Halal, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar -- they were so different from each other.

Amitabh's most outstanding quality has been his sincerity and his commitment to his work. He is a thorough professional. That is why he has lasted so long.

I remember when we were shooting for Zanjeer, we had to shoot a fight scene on a bridge at night. Amit hurt his head and blacked out for a couple of minutes. Then he shook himself and said, 'Let's continue.'

When the scene was over, I ran my hand over his head and found a huge lump. He had apparently hurt himself badly. I said, 'We will cancel the shooting for the next few days till you're better.' He refused and continued shooting. His commitment is unmatched.

How many actors would do that?

Today, he is the darling of the masses. He gives himself so completely to whatever he is doing. And that is the secret of his longevity. That sincerity keeps him above everybody else.

Prakash Mehra spoke to Lata Khubchandani


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