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'The way Amitabh Bachchan spoke to us was amazing!'

Syed Firdaus Ashraf | August 18, 2004 14:57 IST

Amitabh BachchanAmitabh Bachchan visited Karachi, Pakistan, only once in his life. He was all of two years old then.

"I had gone to meet my grandfather who worked in Karachi. Not many people know my mother [Teji Bachchan] hails from Lyallpur in Pakistan. I don't remember anything about that place because I was too small."

Bachchan was interacting with 12 Pakistani students from the Lahore University of Management Studies. They had been invited to Mumbai's Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies as part of a peace initiative programme.

Besides Bachchan, they were also scheduled to meet Hrithik Roshan. They will visit a few companies and interact with corporate heads.

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Bachchan won their hearts when he said, "I had many opportunities to visit Pakistan but, somehow, I could not make it. I hope I will visit Pakistan in future."

He then read excerpts from his father's poem, Madhushala, and quoted dialogues from his film, Kabhi Kabhie.

"I cannot believe I am seeing him. This is unbelievable!" cried a thrilled Mohammad Umer Farooq, a second year management student specialising in marketing. "I was told you would come to see us but I thought you would not make it. I am glad you came to see us despite your busy schedule,"  he told Bachchan.

Amber Rahman was equally awestruck and told Bachchan he must visit Pakistan, where he was a household name.

The students requested Bachchan to promote the polio campaign in Pakistan as well.

Polio vaccination advertisments featuring Bachchan have yielded a good result in India where, except for a few states, the disease is on the verge of extinction.

"It was very unfortunate that two cases were reported in Mumbai recently. But I am hopeful that we will end this disease in India soon," Bachchan said.

Amitabh BachchanHe promised, "I'm going to meet Kofi Anan [United Nations general secretary] in October. As brand ambassador of UNICEF [United Nations International Children and Education Fund] -- now known as United Nations Children's Fund -- I will tell him I would like to visit Pakistan to spread the message against polio."

Rehman says meeting Bachchan is a dream come true. "He is so nice. It is amazing, the way he spoke to us. Many people in Pakistan will be jealous because we were lucky enough to see him! We spoke about his films. We told him how we loved him in his different roles. He is just awesome. I told him that a lot of people in Pakistan want friendship with India and we will take this message across the border."

Bachchan concurs, "I hope such visits will improve relations between the two countries. We must interact through such programmes to end the enmity between the two countries. This kind of programme should continue in future too."

Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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