It’s not everyday that Amitabh Bachchan walks into your office. In fact, it never happens. But the day Bollywood’s Shehenshah came visiting India’s No.1 Bollywood channel zoOm, it was truly a moment to remember, actually it was a full four hours to be precise. By the end of these four hours, none of us quite remembered which film was Big B here to promote. Bollywood’s star of the millennium had played various roles onscreen and that he did at zoOm too. Not only did he give great sound bytes during our interviews but also played the editor-in-chief for a day and even interacted with the housekeeping staff. After all, they knew what the exact precise kind of masala chai he liked and served just that.
While I am sure everyone must have their own takeaways from that interaction with Big B, I personally realized that Bollywood journalism is incomplete without interacting with the Big B. Those were my early days at zoOm and it wasn’t short of a jackpot to be sitting across the Big B.
I remember how graciously he took every question and answered each one of them with dignity, poise and meaning. I asked him how appropriate was the treatment meted out to the journalists trying to cover his son Abhishek’s wedding with India’s then numero uno heroine Aishwarya Rai. To this a very humble and reasoned Amitabh clarified that it was indeed the security guards of the Samajwadi Party Leader Amar Singh and not his own guards. He also explained how the rituals required their newly wed Bahu Aishwarya to do Griha Pravesh into Jalsa at 7.05am sharp but the media crews just would not let their cars move. He admitted that they feared ‘apshagun’ (bad omen) if the timing of Griha Pravesh wasn’t adhered to and like any other father, he too was under immense pressure to ensure his son’s wedding went off well. He nonetheless benevolently apologized on national television that evening. But even in his pure humility he had subtly reminded us that sometimes the line between exclusive and intrusive needs to be drawn!