February 15, 1969 -- mark the date as it is on this day, 49 years ago, that Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan signed his first film, Saat Hindustani. Sharing the trivia on Twitter, the actor wrote: “T 2615 - 49 years ago I came to the city of dreams and signed my first film .. “Saat Hindustani’ on Feb 15, 1969 ..”
He also shared poster art with stills from the film. It is hard not to observe the gravitas which would soon become Big B’s calling card. However, between 1969 and 1973 Amitabh would face some of the most trying times of his life.
It may be recalled that Saat Hindustani, directed by the legendary Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, popularly known as KA Abbas, was the story of a woman who awaits a surgery, recalling her life as a revolutionary along with six other countrymen. She recounts her life as a satyagrahi who fought for the liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule in post-Independence India. Before her surgery, she asks to send telegrams to six of her compatriots -- Bihar-based Anwar Ali Anwar (Big B), Maharashtra-based Shakaram Shinde, Tamil Nadu-based Mahadevan, West Bengal-based Shabut Sanyal, Punjab-based Jogender Nath and Uttar Pradesh-based Ram Bhagat Sharma. She talks of those heady days when she and her set had hoisted the national flag on seven different police stations and monuments in occupied Goa. However, after many years, she is unaware of how her fellow friends and much of her countrymen have been divided on the lines of religion, caste and language.
Amitabh’s struggle in Bollywood too is the stuff of legends -- son of a prominent and celebrated Hindi poet Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan (who was a member of the Chhayawaad club -- a collection of poets and writer who belonged to the era of neo-romanticism in Hindi literature, which included some of biggest names in the field like Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Mahadevi Varma and Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ among others), he had a letter of introduction (for Reshma Aur Shera, a 1971 film) from the then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, but still had to face rejection.
Amitabh is in the habit of sharing memories from his life’s journey and, needless to say, many of them would merit being part of Indian cinema’s varied history. Some of them also chronicle his life’s story as a son, husband, father and, these days, as a grandfather. Just yesterday, on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, he shared a picture of Jaya and him together. Is it a picture taken on his return from hospital after his life-threatening injury that he suffered during the shoot of Coolie? Only he can tell.
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