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
  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
  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 my yaar'

Shashi Kapoor

Shashi Kapoor Amitabh is my yaar [friend]. I have known him before he entered films.

He once came on the sets of my film Bombay Talkies made by Ismail Merchant. I asked him, 'What are you doing here?' He said he had to say this line and he would get Rs 50 for it. I said, 'Don't be silly. I am not going to allow you to do this. You are destined for better things.' He didn't like it. He wasn't too happy to lose out on the money.

We forgot about it. I kept bumping into him when he was shooting for other films like Saudagar which he did for the Rajshris. He was very low and pessimistic while I was more optimistic about him.

One day, I got a call from Yash Chopra. He told me there was a lead role but not the main lead. Would I do it? I said let me hear the subject. Yash Chopra called me to his house at Pali Hill, Bandra. He had called the writers Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. I heard the script and was dumbfounded. I said I would do it.

Then I was told Amitabh would be playing the lead; he would also play my elder brother in the film. I was really pleased. I said, 'I am older than Amit, but I will try to play the younger brother!'

That is how my association with Amitabh started.

He used to sulk; he still does that. If he didn't want to talk he would go sit quietly in a corner. We would all leave him alone, whether it was me or Manmohan Desai or anybody. We would respect his privacy. He hasn't changed.

I remember [Amitabh's wife] Jaya was always worried about his diet. He tended to get careless about his diet outdoors. Being a vegetarian it was difficult to organise food for him. When we were shooting in London, the local Indians would send food for him from their homes. This happened in Singapore too.

Once, while shooting in London, both of us were unwell. He had jaundice and I had herpes of the nervous system. I was in terrible pain. He didn't realise he had jaundice. Both of us had to sing and dance in that pain. Everyone used to laugh at us, 'Here are these twins in pain dancing around!'

His worst quality is when he completely shuts off. He shuts his eyes to anything unpleasant and hopes the problem will sort itself out or disappear. He does face things, he is basically very strong.

Now, of course, we are related twice over [niece Ritu Nanda is Amitabh's daughter Shweta's mother-in-law; grandniece Karisma will be engaged to Amitabh's son Abhishek]. That makes me very happy. I am very fond of Amit and Jaya.

Shashi Kapoor spoke to Lata Khubchandani


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