'It was tough to stand in front of the one whom you have admired for ages, and disagree with.'
Amitabh Bachchan talks about his idol, Dilip Kumar.
Legendary actor Dilip Kumar may have shared screen space with Amitabh Bachchan only once but he left an lasting impression on the latter.
These iconic actors came together in 1982 for Ramesh Sippy's directorial venture Shakti and since then, the Big B has shared warm camaraderie with Dilipsaab.
On the thespian actor's 93rd birthday, Bachchan recalls their first meeting, in this chat with Subhash K Jha.
Dilipsaab turns 93 on December 11. Your thoughts?
I wish him glorious health, peace of mind. a day of celebration, and countless years ahead.
You've never concealed your admiration for Dilip Kumar. What makes him a role model for you?
I have admired his performances. For me, they have remained beyond any fault.
I have admired his intellect, and the way he has translated that into his work. And I have admired his clarity of speech in whichever language he speaks. Clarity in speech is to me the greatest acumen for an actor.
You cannot have clarity of speech without the understanding of its graph and tenor. You cannot be a great actor without the benefit of these two elements in your expression -- graph and tenor!
Tell us about your first meeting with him..
Our first shooting scene in Shakti was a jail sequence, where my father, a police official, visits me and tries to convince me that I'm taking a wrong path in life and I disagree.
It was tough to stand in front of the one whom you have admired for ages, and disagree with. But it was a job I had to do.
What was your reaction when Ramesh Sippy offered you a chance to work with him in Shakti?
It was not Rameshji that offered me the chance to work with him; it was (writers) Salim-Javed who came up the idea and the story.
Did the two of you hit it off instantaneously? Also, how easy or difficult was it for you to adapt yourself to his method of working?
For me, it was a moment of disbelief until professional exigencies took over. He is a considerate colleague and senior, and never failed in those attributes when we worked together.
I would one day share the same screen space with this tremendous talent that would explode in front of me! It still remains a illusion in my life to have actually been a part of a project that was headed by this thespian. God has been very kind.
You did only one film with Dilipsaab. Any regrets about that?
We seek a moment of Godliness often in our life; it seldom comes, but when it does, you cherish it and remain in gratitude and satisfaction.
Which are your favourite films of Dilipsaab?
That would be insolent!
Many of his admirers feel he didn't do enough work, that he retired too early. Your comments?
No one has the ability to describe it for another. Our individual capacity gives us the liberty to describe it for ourselves. We need to respect that.