The Great Emperor of Indian Bollywood Industry - Amitabh Bachchan

  Recovery of Amitabh Bachchan from accident of Coolie - by Anurag Varshney

In my childhood I used to feel that I was the biggest fan of Amithabh Bachchan and no one else could be such a big fan of his. From morning to night I used to sing a son 'Chalaa Jaa Raha Tha Mein Darta Hua Hanuman Chalisa Padata Hua...Bolo..'. As I grew up I realized that not only me but millions of people are the fans of such a great hero of bollywood. During his downturn also I did not leave any of his movie. His Tufaan failed on box office but I saw many times. His Agnipath could not succeed but I liked him very much in that movie. I could not stop my tears while seeing that movie and specially in the end.

Amitabh Bachchan Singing and Dancing

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His accident in Coolie had broken me a lot. I used to pray a lot for him during thouse days. Later I had found some story on net which I had saved for long.....and now I thought to share with my readers. I hope this would not be a copy right material. However if any one claims I would take it down.

"I wept like a child. What had happened to the man they called the action hero?" By coming back from the jaws of death, Amitabh only confirmed what his fans always believed -- that their hero was for real. That towering personality on screen who survived all those clashes with evil forces was really a true hero. This time, the evil force had been "death". The image became larger than what Amitabh or any mortal could handle at that time and the man behind that image was scared; very scared, about his fraility. He was insecure about his future; and intimidated by his looming image.

An old airport at Vapi, Gujarat, the film, Pukar: A helicopter is taxiing slowly. Seated in the helicopter with the pilot is a junior artiste dressed as a police officer. Amitabh is to run alongside the helicopter, and just as the plane is taking off, lurch forward and hang on to the wings. It's a tough shot and normally a double would do it. But Amitabh is not using one; he gives one or two rehearsals and finally the "take". He looks tired, but carries on..... "Doing these tricky shots is a personal triumph. When I do these tough action scenes, I’m surprised that I can still do them after the accident. Probably because I can't forget one particular moment in the hospital." A pause. "It was the day I was to stand up for the first time after two months.

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They said that if I did walk again, it would be with the aid of a crutch. Jaya didn’t display even a trace of emotion. She projected a bold front and tried her best to encourage me. As for me, I wept like a child. I don't remember ever having cried so much. What had happened to me ? What had happened to the man they called the action hero? Where had he gone?... These questions haunted me day and night. I could think of nothing but of being able to stand on my own two feet.

"The ICU was like another world. There was no dicrimination there. Among the patients there was an actor, a cook and a businessman. We were all one big family, fighting a common enemy - death. One day I’d see a patient on the bed next to mine and the very next day the bed would be empty. None of the patients ever discussed this.

A sound which I’ll always associate with death is the sound of a trolley being wheeled fast, soft yet hurried footsteps, the clinking of metal instruments and finally, a deathly silence. Till today, the sound of any trolley disturbs me.

At the ICU, one is so isolated that anyone coming from the outside world makes you feel secure... since no visitors are allowed inside, I would wait for the nurse who’d come in to do my dressing. Her arrival meant physical pain... yet I looked forward to her visit. A time came when the pain was no longer pain, it was like one breathes oxygen... I was breathing pain. The child, who was a fan of mine, didn’t believe that I was in the same hospital. So he was brought to me. It was ironical... he couldn’t see and I couldn’t talk. So they brought him close. He started feeling me. Then I brought my mouth very close to him and whispered. He believed that I was there. He stopped crying and made a brave attempt to overcome his pain. "I realised then that I was behaving like a child myself. The doctors had forbidden me any intake of water. My quota was one drop of water every six days. My throat would be parched and since gargling was allowed, I’d lie to the doctors that I wanted to gargle.

"In the process I would take in a few night I would dream of water all around me... of bathing in the sea... sliding down ice slabs. But I knew that I had to accept these restraints if I wanted to be normal once again. I wanted to prove to certain people that it's not easy to write me off. I took my time, but I came back to life.

"On August 2nd I was declared clinically dead. Jaya had gone to the Sidhi Vinayak Temple and she rushed back. Panic-stricken, she stood outside the ICU watching the doctors trying to revive me...apparently in vain. Suddenly she screamed from outside, "Don't give up. I just saw his toe moving. Please keep trying." The doctors started massaging me feet upwards. And I came back to life. "After I was discharged from the hospital I was asked to walk with the help of a stick. I went to Delhi and decided to stay on a farm while convalescing. I took along with me all my old movies and watched myself on video everyday... my action scenes, my songs, everything. And everyday, much before Jaya and the kids would wake up, I’d tell the driver to take me to the furthermost corner of the farm. Once there, I would try to enact the same scenes, I’d play the songs on my cassette player, strive to get the same feel and the same gestures that went with it... it seemed impossible at first, since I couldn’t even move my arms properly. I’d return to the house thoroughly disappointed. "Then I decided to pull myself together again. I decided to start from scratch once more. I tried taking as many steps as I could, without the help of my stick, increasing the number everyday. In the evening I’d practice voice modulation. I’d listen to my dialogues from Sholay, Deewar and other films and try to repeat them... it must have quite comical really, trying to shout "Ruk jao,nahin to bhun ke rakh doonga" to an empty room!

The doctors had told me to report for work sometime in August’83. I reported for work on Jan 7, 1983 and started for work from where I had left off - the same sequence of Coolie that I had left incomplete.The press and some people called it a publicity stunt. That hurt, for it was untrue. I did it because I wanted to prove it to myself and convince myself that I could not be dismissed as useless. It was a personal triumph, something that restored my faith in myself." All those close to Amitabh noticed a marked change in the man after his accident. Earlier he was aloof, sullen, even snobbish. He enjoyed the intimidating effect his presence had. But he was no longer that. Maybe he was still aloof, but he was no longer snobbish. If his presence was intimidating, he didn’t strive to make it so, neither did he particularly like the image... and for years after that, Jaya sent him flowers with a card on August 2nd saying "Happy Birthday, Amitabh Bachchan." He learnt to live again....laughing, teasing, fighting and romancing. Earlier, it was through the roles that he portrayed on screen that he amazed everyone. But once he combated death..... he went onto become a living legend.