On his 70th birthday, Amitabh Bachchan talks to Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief of IBN network, about his childhood, family, struggling days, his granddaughter Aaradhya and many more things.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Amitabh Bachachan is now 70 year young, there have been so many interviews over the years and everyone seems to know every bit of your life, so we have tried to find those little parts may still not be known and take you down memory lane, I'm told that you're originally to be called Inqalab Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan: When my mother was pregnant with me, very close to the ninth month, the quit India movement started from Allahabad and there was a lot of procession and there was a lot of revolt and satyagraha movement all over the city and on one such ‘juloos’, my mother was inspired by whole such movement and for freedom and for Gandhi ji and everyone. She just ran out and joined this parade in that condition, they all ran and they got her and said, get back, you are not supposed to do this in this kind of situation, and somebody said if you give birth to a boy, we will keep his name 'Inqalab'.
On his 70th birthday, Amitabh Bachchan talks to Rajdeep Sardesai, editor in chief about his struggle days and more.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Memories are still there in your mind? 1970's? Your high school? Is Allahabad still home for you other than your roots?
Amitabh : Oh! Yeah, absolutely everything comes back. Yes they are, I think the place you are born and the atmosphere, the early years, they are the ones that actually remains in your mind for life long period. 17 Clive Road was not actually the entire house you see, it's not as grand as that. We were in left portion of the house as tenants; there were three others who were staying in the house. So there were four tenants in that large structure.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your mother was fiery and your father was someone you were in awe, would that be fair to say you were always in off.
Amitabh: My father too had a very strong temper, particularly for injustice, for any anti-social activities, and he was known for standing up for his rights. And yes we were always in awe.
Rajdeep Sardesai: As you said your parents are obviously as they are for many, were a deep influence and your mother saved a few anas one side to buy you a box camera.
Amitabh: Yes I was very keen on getting a camera, but we didn't have the means. I just kept crying for it and eventually she saved up sufficient amount of money to get me a box-camera.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I’m also told that you met Rajiv Gandhi at the fancy dress party and Rajiv was dressed as a freedom fighter.
Amitabh: We were all two years old I think, and he can be dressed in a fancy costume but then 2 year olds have the habit of messing up things. And they quickly have to change it because he came dressed as a freedom fighter.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your first role on stage was in St Mary's convent and you played the role of a chicken madly flapping in a kindergarten play.
Amitabh: I remember having played a chicken; you know these false wings put onto your back and looking very anxiously to the audience to see if your parents are watching you. You know how you are when you are very young, do a stage play and you always watch me, I'm doing this!
Rajdeep Sardesai: From the early school in Allahabad you want to Sherwood, was that a really deep influence on your life?
Amitabh: Yes, it was. Sherwood, because we shifted to Delhi and it was felt that I needed to go to boarding but I think Sherwood was a real eye opener because suddenly you found yourself competing against people who are much more superior than you. And you suddenly realize that, you know running a hundred meters in 14 or 15 seconds was not enough, you had to do it in 12. Because the others are doing it much faster, there was the difference in the standards of the people there. Also, got exposed to theatre in a major way.
Rajdeep Sardesai: And you won the Geoffrey Kendal prize? Shashi Kapoor's father-in-law, so you obviously had, you were building a reputation in the theatres, which helped you. Because I'm told it helped you, there was a girls school also in the Nainital at that time and girls often came to school to watch the play or at least the message went it out that there is an actor, whom you should watch.
Amitabh: Oh yes! The Geoffrey Kendal prize, I'm not so sure about that.
Rajdeep Sardesai: And also you won the Kendal prize in the second year on the row in Sherwood but for the fact I believe just before the play you got measles and your father gave you a lesson that you haven’t forgotten.
Amitabh: Yes just two days before the play when it was almost assumed that I would be winning the prize and I got measles and wasn’t allowed to take part in the play and was sent to hospital, the school hospital was on a small hillock and the theatre where we used to do our plays was a little lower down, so everything could be heard and my father came up to see me and he came up to the hospital and throughout the play, knowing that I would be distracted by it, by hearing the applause, the dialogues and the whole scenario playing out in the theatre, he sat and just kept me occupied in the conversation and then gave me one of the best lessons in life. "Mann ka ho toh acha na ho toh jyada acha” (if things happen according to your wish, it is good and if not then it’s better). I used to ask him, "Mann ka na ho toh jyada acha kaise ho sakta hai?". He said that it’s happening according to the will of god and he will never want to do anything wrong or bad to you.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You were quite a hit among the girls at the boarding school.
Amitabh: Not at all, you know the girls used to come on every Sunday to Sherwood to attend chapel and they would occupy a certain section of the chapel and then immediately after that, the boys’ row would start. There was always a clambering to be on the row, which started soon after the girls' row finished. When you bent down to pray on your knees you passed on the little notes.
Rajdeep Sardesai: When you were in college and you go to the relatively unfashionable, some would say Kirori Mal and not St Stephen's. You regret that you didn't have that 'chap', particularly in the status conscious city like Delhi.
Amitabh: See initially everyone gave St Stephens a very huge status and I'm sure it still has that and what I regretted most was not being with my classmates from Sherwood, because a lot them got into Stephen's. And I think one of the first errors made was, I insisted doing science. The principal when I went to my interview said we would advice you take English literature or BA, rather than BSc, because it’s a tough course, but I was somehow insistent and therefore I couldn’t get into Stephens.
Rajdeep Sardesai: At Kirori Mal a lot of people remember, I have spoken to Delhiites, that there was a Miranda house production called 'Rape Of The Belt', where you played Zeus and the play was dominated by Dolly Thakur, a former TV Personality, you didn’t make much of a impression at Dolly’s time according to her.
Amitabh: I don't blame her; you know I still don't make any impression.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I have been told that at Kirori Mal, you went on a first date and a friend saw you with this girl at a coffee shop and reported back to your mother.
Amitabh: This is something very natural when you join university. It's that first breath of freedom after school and a very disciplined school like Sherwood, where you had to get up at a particular time, your movements are restricted, and suddenly you find yourself free. You may or may not attend class, roam around. So all of us used to bunk classes, go and sit in coffee shops in Connaught Place.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You finished college and auditioned for a job as a radio announcer in All India Radio, and you failed in both the Hindi and English test.
Amitabh: I don't know, but that time I would say they found that my voice was not suitable.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You then moved to Calcutta, you worked with the coal department with an agency, then in company and then to freight Broking Company called 'Blacker', if you had not made in films, would you have been a 'box wala'?
Amitabh: I guess so, yes, not having got the job opportunities in Delhi, and getting rejected and so and so, someone during the evening coffee engagements said you know if you go to Calcutta, if you know how to play golf and if you know how to have your gin in afternoon, you'll get a job. So I said gosh! Let me try this. I wasn't drinking and I didn't know how to play golf, still I said I'll go there.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You get Rs 500, out of which Rs 300 went into rent, and you shared your room with eight people, almost seems like it was an entirely different life than the kind of life you are living today?
Amitabh: That's right, when you work and you have this kind of salary, that's the best that can happen at that time.
Rajdeep Sardesai: There's one description of yours of your Calcutta days, as hedonistic. You were drinking, chain smoking, partying on park circus and almost going pub trolling, from Mocambo to another restaurant. It was almost a very different Amitabh Bachchan to the one Amitabh Bachcahn I see before me.
Amitabh: Yeah you get your first sense of freedom, when you join college. But when you get your job in a city which is far away from home and you are in control of your life. You will go on to decide where to stay, to meet, what to do in the evenings, what to do with your money, you go little berserk. And yes these were part of our activities every evening.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Being in films was far from everyone's mind, seems as if you were living another life. You were box wala, you were not playing golf but you were having a good time.
Amitabh: I think those initial days of freedom are just fantastic, it's later only you realize that it's a wasteful exercise.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So you gave up chain smoking.
Amitabh: Yes, I gave up everything.
Rajdeep Sardesai: AIR doesn't select you as an announcer and then Madhuri Filmfare contest doesn’t see you good enough to be in cinema.
Amitabh: My brother came across an advertisement in the press at that time, which was out from Madhuri Filmfare talent, and five and six very prominent producers, directors were auditioning for candidates to come in and offer them films for three years and signing them up, giving them a salary. I was unaware of the fact that there was a Films and Television Institute in Pune, and had I known that I would have wanted to join it and perhaps graduate with some kind of qualification. And when I saw this advertisement, I felt this was very legitimate and a right kind of an approach to joining movies. So I applied and I was rejected in the preliminaries, but by that time I had sort of made up my mind, I would not want to stay in Calcutta anymore.
Rajdeep Sardesai: That's a brave decision to leave the lovely life at Park Street and come to Mumbai with no idea really whether you would succeed or not.
Amitabh: Yes, I just left everything with absolutely no idea.
Rajdeep Sardesai: The rejections must have hurt some where; I have told that you spent one night on a bench in Marine Drive, no money?
Amitabh: Yes, didn't have roof and didn't have money obviously to stay either in hotel, hardly anything to eat also.
Rajdeep Sardesai: It's almost like a Hindi film; I mean Manmohan Desai must have made a good film out of it. You know sleeping on a bad one day and years latter becoming a biggest star that Hindi cinema had seen, you never thought of giving it up.
Amitabh: No actually when I left Delhi to come to Mumbai and to join the movies. Was again an inspired peace of words from my father he said, if you desire to get into a house and the doors are locked and you do not have the keys and you need to get in, just jump the wall and get in. So I jumped the wall came inside and then went door to door.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I have been told initially you made money by giving voice to audio jingles for Horlicks, Nirlon.
Amitabh: That's right, Jallal Agha, my colleague in 'Saat Hindustani', he was the one, who did this radio spots and I use to get Rs 50 for that.
Rajdeep Sardesai: How K A Abbas suddenly discovered Bachchan?
Amitabh: He was casting for 'Saat Hindustani', and my brother had shifted from Calcutta to Mumbai. He was moving around with his group of friends, one of the girls in that group was cast in this 'Saat Hindustani' and she was the one who told him that he is looking for a newcomer and my brother told her that my brother is also very keen to join movies. So, she said why don't you send a photograph and I would pass it on to Abbas sir. So he gave the photograph to her and the photo was sent to Abbas saab and he asked for me, I came down and got selected.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I get a sense that your brother was in a sense more convinced about your ability and talent to make it then you were. If he wasn't there you might have not come to Bombay with that enthusiasm.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You were also helped by Mehmood's brother Anwar Ali. I'm told you and he struck up a friendship and he tells very interesting stories about you. You were going to Shashi Kapoor's house, where you wanted to meet some German girl who had come there.
Amitabh: Gosh! No, probably I went there to look for some work and ask Shashi ji for some work. Anwar Ali I came to know because he was a part of 'Saat Hindustani' and we became very close and we still are. He was staying in Andheri and I was living with some friends on Marine Drive. So we use to commute this long distances and he felt its a great bother because from the movement we get up, we want to be together. So he said why don't you come and stay with me and I went to his house and Mehmood saab's house. Mehmood saab had given him very fancy convertible sports car, the Jaguar and we use to feel very proud about the fact or very important when we drove out. But we never had this money to buy gas. So we just use to borrow some money from somebody and five litres or something used to be filled and that would be over after the couple of miles. So we just stop there and get out and get onto any train and carry on.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your first film as a hero, 'Bombay To Goa' courtesy Mehmood, was first Amitabh film I remember and for some reason and I remember you in that pink floral shirt, because you were in bus from Bombay to Goa and you are dancing and singing 'Dekha na…' with Aruna Irani.
Amitabh: For some reason Mehmood bhai always felt I need to get better films, and he always had the faith and confidence on me. And he cast me despite a lot of oppositions from many other people. But he just went ahead and did it. And then would encourage us and even when we were doing the song, whole cast would just stand outside and cheer and everything.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Still there were tough days, you got side roles in 'Reshma Aur Shera', for which Nargis Dutt recommended you. The industry wasn't willing to accept this tall lanky hero.
Amitabh: I think there was some reservations, I did go to one producer’s house and the moment I walked into the doors and he told me, stop you won't work you are too tall, no one would be able to work with you. So I just came back and there are many such instances but it's nice to talk about it now.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I also wondered why you haven't gone to those people and asked them back, what happened to the height factor.
Amitabh: Some of them took me in the films later on.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Yes they did, even Hrishikesh Mukherjee does. He drops you from 'Anand', and he drops you from 'Guddi' in a sense.
Amitabh: It wasn't actually dropping, 'Anand' released before 'Guddi' and there was recognition of me in 'Anand'. Thanks to Rajesh Khanna and we wanted a character in 'Guddi', who was not a recognizable face. So he said now everyone recognizes you so it would go against the story of 'Guddi' and we can't do that.
Rajdeep Sardesai: It's interesting to say everyone recognizes you because 'Anand' was very much Rajesh Khanna’s film and yet today we see 'Anand', the role of Babumosai stands out, You didn't feel dwarfed by his presence?
Amitabh: Not at all, I think you are playing a role, a character, at that point of time in your career, you are fortunate that you are getting to play with a superstar of the day and what a superstar.
Rajdeep Sardesai: I remember you telling me once that final scene where you break down, it comes to you naturally because Mehmood Bhai tells you to think about the scene.
Amitabh: I went to him and said that I have to do this scene and I was fretting about it at least 15-20 days and he said you know, just go there and think that Rajesh Khanna is dead and that is the effect of Rajesh Khanna amongst people.
Rajdeep Sardesai: After Anand of course there is a hiatus for a couple of years, and then 'Zanjeer' happens, a gawky, struggling, 'Lambu ji' as they called you height was a problem, suddenly becomes the anti establishment hero. When did you know that you have arrived in a sense. Did you ever go and see the audience reactions, when 'Zanjeer' happened, go into a theatre that finally I have become a star.
Amitabh: I have never paid much attention and I still don't believe that. But yes there was recognition and when Prakash Mehra came to meet me with the story idea along with Salim saab and Javed saab, I readily agreed. Two things happened actually, it's very strange how Salim saab and Javed saab decided to pick me for that role, they had offered this role to many bigger stars. He said there was a scene in 'Bombay To Goa', you get punched and you still get up and fighting and you still showing your gum, we felt that this is a cool guy, so we must give him this role. So that's how I got it but I never felt that there is this star that happened. I did went to a theatre in South Bombay to see the reactions, but there was a colossal amount of mobbing that happened and which was very new to me and I had to leave the theatre and that was perhaps one moment you realize that whatever you have done has been appreciated.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Second half of the 70's role out, one success after the other. Was that a period you just carried away and you decided that there is a wave and I’ll just ride the wave?
Amitabh: I just looked every offer that came to me as a challenge to do that role and I never realized and never wanted to know what effect it would have on the people or whether it was a right thing that I was doing. It’s just I was keen to work with people I was working, Salim-Javed writing extra ordinary scripts, Prakash Mehra was their, Manmohan Desai, Ramesh Sippy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was there with whom I did the largest number of films. There was a huge variety that I was getting and I just carried it doing that.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You didn't think that this is defining role, like ‘Deewar’?
Amitabh: My writers, directors and producers would do that for me. Salim- Javed came and said you should do this role and I said fine and they told me few instances of 'Deewar' and that was it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Manmohan Desai, apparently when he does 'Amar Akbar Anthony' said I will never do the film with anybody else than Amitabh Bachchan. So obviously there was something which was going around that time, which built an aura around Amitabh Bachchan which never happened.
Amitabh: It has a very sort life span and so it's no point of talking about it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Very philosophical as you get older and it reflects in your blog as well, then you see the other side of life as well, because we are in 1982, the Coolie accident happens and suddenly a nation goes into mourning. What did that action do to you as a person? As Calcutta gave you freedom, Bombay gave you break, what Coolie gave to you as a person?
Amitabh: When the accident happened I wasn't aware how serious it was, nobody did at least for 7 to 8 hours. I was in a hospital in Bangalore, and just that this is kind of very minor wound or something. But luckily there was another doctor visiting hospital and taking one of his patient for an operation and Jaya told him my husband is here and would you like to see and have a look at him and he just walked into the door and I was lying in the bed and he said get this boy into OT because it’s very serious and she said no we are thinking of taking him back to Bombay this evening. And he said he won't be alive by that time so I was rolled in and his own patient was rolled out and he did the surgery and soon after that I went into haze and a coma like situation and within five days of coming into breach I had another surgery and I didn't come out of that one for a very-very long time. I was actually clinically dead for a couple of minutes. Then Dr Wadia who looked after me is absolute life saver and said I will actually take a last chance and started pumping cortisone injections one after another almost 40 ampoules of it with the hope that something would happen.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You were clinically dead for 2 minutes. Where you actually confronted with idea of own mortality because stars often believe that they are immortal.
Amitabh: When I did come out of the hospital, I realized, I heard and I read the news, there was just an unbelievable feeling of gratitude and even gratitude is sounding so less. I felt that this was a great burden that I will carry. Every day hundreds of people used to conglomerate in the hospital but Jaya noticed it every time she drove to the hospital that there used to be one guy who will hand her with one rose and it was the best rose in the entire city and then when I recovered and I was at home, I got a message saying that there is a chap, who has come with one rose. So Jaya went and meet him and said yah, this is the guy. So I went out and meet him and he said I'm a black marketer and with all that black marketing I have done with your movies, I have been able to marry my two sisters and built a home and I have come to tell you that I’m going back to home, Kashmir, where he came from and I'm going to finish this job that I was doing here.
Rajdeep Sardesai: And there was also someone who ran backwards from Baroda to Bombay because he took a mannat.
Amitabh: He took a mannat to run backwards from Baroda to Mumbai, met me and then ran back again to Baroda. One of those days when I was convalescing at home, a boy came and bought a tokri full of samosas and just wanted me to touch it and I said why? He said just touch it, so I went out with him while he was going and I found a huge truck full of hundreds of baskets of samosas. So I said what is this, he said, "sir, I won a samosa stall at metro or somewhere, and every time your film was to be released I doubled the price of my samosas. So I made all this profit and want to distribute it in the poor."
Rajdeep Sardesai: At the height of your fandom, of a kind I don't think ever been seen before or since, you chose to join politics. Was that purely an emotional decision because Mrs Gandhi have been assassinated, you felt your friend Rajiv needed you. Purely emotional?
Amitabh: Yes, purely emotional, I know nothing of politics and I never knew it then either. Just a fact that there was a friendship, there was a relationship and I took an emotional decision and stood forward.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You have told me in the past, in interviews, that it's a regret that you entered politics and you were never cut out for politics. But I often wondered did the Bofors controversy force you to quit politics or did you just wake up one day and realize that this is not for me?
Amitabh: No, it was purely co-incidental that Bofors happened a day before I decided to resign. So when Bofors did come out, at that time we never had television to see the instant reporting. So you had to wait for a day before the next news came out and they thought I have resigned because of Bofors and no I never did.
Rajdeep Sardesai: So you had taken a conscious decision that enough is enough.
Amitabh: I went and met Rajiv ji and told him that I’m not comfortable doing this and don’t know anything about it. And I would like to leave.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You didn't enjoy contesting against Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, defeating him in Allahabad.
Amitabh: No, that was more bravado that's not politics; we must fight and we must come out with victory. It's like going to school. What I did and do not regret at all is all those meetings I had in the interiors of country. Meeting the villagers, the farmers, the people who are deprived of so many things in life and that is a great regret. So I try in my own personal way to do some social work for them but those were eye opening experiences.
Rajdeep Sardesai: It's a strange relationship that you had with politics in a sense, you were a friend of Rajiv Gandhi and the Gandhi family. And today it’s being said that you don’t even have a relationship with Gandhi family.
Amitabh: I will respect the relationship from periods of my parents, and I shall always respect it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: But you have never spoken of the reasons.
Amitabh: I don't think that's necessary, I am just saying that I will always respect that relationship and I still do.
Rajdeep Sardesai: And Amar Singh because you seem to have drifted away.
Amitabh: Irrespective of his feelings and his attitude, I still feel he’s my friend and I do talk to him.
Rajdeep Sardesai: That entire period was tough for you, politics had not turned out the way you would have liked, and a new generation of actors was emerging. You set up ABCL in the early 90's. You almost go bankrupt at times, your films flopped. How did you deal with the downturn? You remember what Harivansh Rai Bachchan had told you that one day in Sherwood?
Amitabh: Yes, those were tough times, they kept you awake all night because you always wondered how you ever going to get out of this situation. There were a hundred of cases against us and huge amounts to be paid back. And I never knew how it all happened, but I just felt that I should sit down one day and analyze myself and said what am I? I am an actor, maybe I should be acting. And just walked across to Mr Yash Chopra's house that was just behind my place and said I need to work, give me a job. And he gave me 'Mohabbatein' and after that we had KBC, which came on soon afterwards and we just went on.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Did that period, where things didn't go well, Bofors happened, you were individually targeted, and your brother was targeted. Did that again change you as a person? With all the fame you have achieved, here were people wiling to believe that Amitabh Bachchan had taken kickbacks.
Amitabh: Yes, they were difficult times because suddenly you became the traitor of the country. I would go out to public places and get abused. But I guess now that I look back on it, I find if you are going to be in public life, you are going to try and enjoy public status than you must be prepared for the other side the nasty side also. And yes I would look upon it and say what else they would have done.
Rajdeep Sardesai: The same thing with business, you set up a company. People put case against you and suddenly the world isn’t such a nice place like before.
Amitabh: Not because of others people failure but because some where of your own. I never knew how to run a company, how to run a business. But I'm happy that the Bofors scam came out with the results that it did.
Rajdeep Sardesai: And it took you 30 to 35 years to get your name clear.
Amitabh: Well we actually cleared it in a court of law, at the Royal's court in London. And all those people who had accused us none of them came to fight the case. One did and it was quite ironic because when we broke for lunch during that period in court, we all went back because after lunch the judge was to pronounce the judgment. And it was coming in our favour obviously. And we went back and we came to know that Rajiv ji has been assassinated.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Did all this change you as a person? Because from 75 to 90, you boycotted the film and media. You seem to carry an injury and today you are more than accessible. Why did you decide to boycott the film and media?
Amitabh: That's because they decided to ban me. The emergency was declared and there was press censorship. And it was felt by many media people that I was responsible for telling Mrs Gandhi that there should be censorship in the media. Which had no base at all and they banned me. They never mentioned my name, I would go to social function and the camera man would put their camera down and not take my photographs. So, I said if they are going to ban me, I'll not meet them either and so I didn't meet them.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Were you affected by the fact that same media would write about your link ups with co stars intruding your privacy. How has that affected you over the years, honestly?
Amitabh: Gossip is always going to be written and talked about, it sells, and it makes good reading. But just the fact if they have liberty to ban me, then I should have the liberty to not desire to meet them. And I feel it was rather silly, perhaps on both of our parts. If you would mention the name that press would write the credits of a film that I have done, make me into comma and not write my name at all. It's like Hema Malini, comma and things like that and I thought that was stretching it too far.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Given the kind of person you are, does it affect you? When there will be rumours, link ups? Does it come with a territory? And your family has come to terms with that.
Amitabh: Yes it comes with territory, we are still together and hopefully we will be together.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You are blogging, you are doing television, and you are doing commercials, what was the turning point for you to make that adjustment. Was that KBC?
Amitabh: KBC came as a surprise to me; it was heavily criticized earlier on, of saying that you are making a huge error in your judgment. It's going to affect your value and your status. I just felt I really have no status, if it’s coming and I like it, why not. And then we went ahead and did it and in early shots we were recording I just felt that everyone was warning me was right because I wasn't entirely comfortable doing it and happy. But still I did commitment and it was my job I went ahead. And then suddenly first broadcast took place and I had this senior staff or management who came up to meet me and I was dubbing somewhere and said this has become historic and I couldn't believe it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Here you are on your 70th birthday and you seem to work more than ever. You do TV, you do commercials, you are brand ambassador of Gujarat, you blog and sometimes in the 3 AM in the morning. How do you keep this energy going?
Amitabh: Gosh! For the million times I Really don't know, I keep getting asked this question and I feel perhaps I'm probably doing something exceptional and I’m not. I enjoy the fact that somebody told me that there is a thing called blog, and if you write something, you can get responses from the people and I quite liked the idea. And I wrote and got two responses and it grew and now it has gone to hundreds and millions of followers and now I don't want to break it because there is a huge attachment now with the people that come on the blog, there is a huge family that has been formed. I do address them as my extended family.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You're down to earth even when you have reached the sky, and you're incredibly disciplined and it's said in the film industry that you can set your clocks as Amitabh Bachchan arrives to the set. Have you always been like this?
Amitabh: I just feel if somebody has taken a trouble to set up a time-table, then I should be there. It's a very simple thing. I don't see why such a hue and cry about it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Because the film industry is very different, because it had stars notoriously coming late from 6 to 8 hours.
Amitabh Bachchan: That may be their particular point of view, I feel that if I'm asked to come at a particular time, I should be there and that's how I have conducted my life.
Rajdeep Sardesai: There is a compassionate charitable side to you that the world doesn't know, you don't advertise it. Do you believe over the years, in more and more charity, and philanthropy?
Amitabh: Yes, I do. Whenever I feel that there is a need and due to certain circumstances and conditions people are unable to lead a kind of life they should be leading. But yes I don't talk about it because I feel charity needs to be done than talked about.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You're a grandfather and you have a lovely little grand daughter now, Aaradhya. Are you going to be doting dadaji?
Amitabh: Yes, I hope I can spoil her.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Let me now, at the very end, play the role that you do every weekend playing the host. We will do a very rapid fire quiz, there is no Rs 1 crore or 5 crore for you at the end of it. Let me ask a very quick question and get quick responses? Your favourite film?
Amitabh: Guru Dutt's 'Kaagaz Ke Phool'.
Rajdeep Sardesai: The first film you saw?
Amitabh: Flying Dussel's Lauren Hirte.
Rajdeep Sardesai: The best role you think you would have done.
Amitabh: I would like to say that they were all good but I won't be able to put finger on it.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Nothing for you epitomized the great cinema you have done.
Amitabh: If you push me, then some of the recent films like 'Black', 'Paa','Deewar', 'Zanjeer', 'Muqaddar Ka Sikandar' and there are many.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Favourite co-star?
Amitabh: They all are my favorite co-star
Rajdeep Sardesai: Now you have given modern diplomatic answer.
Amitabh: No, I haven't really. The maximum number of films that I have done is, for the female lead is Jaya and then there are several others like Rakhi, Rekha, Hema ji, Sharmila Ji.
Rajdeep Sardesai: You're a great fan of Waheeda Rehman, I have been told.
Amitabh: I'm still, Dilip saab and Waheeda ji are two idols, always admired them and I still do.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Any dream role, you would like to play.
Amitabh: I would want somebody to come and tell me that, as i have told you earlier. I find it difficult to pick something. I have never ever imagined that I would play a 13 year old Progeria victim in Balki's film 'Paa'. And he said me you have to play a thirteen year old and I said how we are going to do this and then everything fell into place.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Any secret desire that is unfulfilled?
Amitabh Bachachan: I think god has been kind to me and my family and I m quite happy with the facts.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your favourite food?
Amitabh Bachachan: Indian vegetarian
Rajdeep Sardesai: Any particular dish, if I have to invite Amitabh Bachchan at home, what is a particular style?
Amitabh Bachachan: Make sure you have Bhindi (Lady Finger).
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your favourite holiday destination?
Amitabh Bachachan: In India it's perhaps Goa and outside there are two cities which I like very much St Petersburg in Russia and San Francisco.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your idea of relaxation?
Amitabh Bachachan: Write a blog.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Really does that relax you?
Amitabh Bachachan: Yes, no matter what time I come at home I still look forward to write a blog, I have to be on Twitter, I have to be on Facebook. It’s Very interesting and it just takes mind from entire fatigue.
Rajdeep Sardesai: What cheers you up?
Amitabh Bachachan: Waiting to see Aaradhya.
Rajdeep Sardesai: Your mantra for life?
Amitabh Bachachan: Mann ka ho toh accha, Na ho toh zyada accha.
Rajdeep Sardesai: What would Amitabh Bachchan be doing at 80?
Amitabh Bachachan: I hope I'll be doing another interview with you.