By the year 2,000 Amitabh Bachchan’s career had come to a deadend of sorts. His last crop of films in the 1990s as a leading man , like Lal Badshah, Sooryavansham, Major Saab, Kohram and Mrityudata had flopped.
And he didn’t know which way to go. What he had on his side was selfhonesty.
“I knew I had to start from the beginning again. My days as the conventional hero were over. I had two choices. I could either retire. Or I could re-invent myself,” Mr Bachchan recalled in an interview with me.
This is where Yash Chopra came in. Bachchan Saab had heard that Yash Raj Films was planning a big film called Mohabbatein where there was a role tailormade for Mr Bachchan.
“One morning I woke up and walked over from my home to Yashji’s bungalow. I told him I needed a role since I was jobless. He was gracious enough to immediately offer me a role in Mohabbatein,” said Mr Bachchan.
Mohabbatein started the new phase in Mr Bachchan’s career as a patriarch. The chalk-black hair was abandoned for grey hair and a beard.
To this day Bachchan Saab credits his current innings as India’s oldest superstar(my description, not his) to Yash Chopra.
“It was a wonderful experience ,really. At that age,time and moment of my career I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a set-up like this. I really can’t be too concerned about the length of my role, and so on,” Mr B exulted to me after the film’s success.