Amitabh Bachchan Birthday Special: Co-Star Rati Agnihotri Shares Big B Is Not Snooty But Reserved, Says, ‘He Minds His Own Business’

Amitabh Bachchan and Rati Agnihotri first shared screen space in the movie, Coolie released in 1983

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Amitabh Bachchan Birthday Special: Co-Star Rati Agnihotri Shares Big B Is Not Snooty But Reserved, Says, ‘He Minds His Own Business’
Yesteryear actress Rati Agnihotri who shared screen space with Amitabh Bachchan in many films revealed some interesting facets of the megastar on his 79th birthday. Rati recalling the time she began working with Amitabh Bachchan, shared she did her first film with Big B when she was around 20 years old. Signed for the movie, Coolie in 1983 opposite Big B, she described this moment as a 'feather in the cap'. On the very first day of the shoot, she recalled having butterflies in her stomach.

She shared, “For a 20-something, being signed opposite an iconic star like Amitabh Bachchan for Coolie (1983) was a feather in the cap. For the outdoor stretch, we were staying at the West End hotel in Bangalore. I did my make-up and reached the railway station where we were to shoot. I was both nervous and excited as it was to be my first shot with Amitji. The scene was about our first ‘takkar’ (encounter). I remember I was wearing a white dress. My character was that of a rich spoilt brat.”

She continued, “Amitji was sitting languidly on a chair on the platform waiting for me. As I walked towards him, I had butterflies in my stomach. He got up respectfully, shook hands and introduced himself. His impeccable manners were like a breath of fresh air. He spoke warmly to me. After that it was a cakewalk with him. Dancing with him for the song Accident ho gaya... on top of the train, swinging from the banyan tree, it was all great fun. Despite his seniority, I felt I was with Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) or Bunty (Kumar Gaurav). Director Manmohan Desai, who himself was so easy-going and jovial, made it all the more enjoyable.”

Praising him for his heroic act during the Coolie’s shoot, she mentioned how the actor saved from a scary event that occurred on the movie sets, “Once, we were shooting a scene in what was supposed to be the coolie’s ‘flooded’ house. The set was created at Natraj Studio. Two old berths were placed in the ‘coolie’s’ room as beds. Accidently, a livewire fell into the water on the set that day. It was frightening. But in a fraction of a second, Amitji held me by my waist and threw me on the upper berth, while he jumped onto the lower one. He’s a real hero.” ALSO READ: Amitabh Bachchan Birthday Special: Vicky Kaushal, Rakul Preet Singh And Others, Pen Warm Wishes Along With Some Unseen Pictures Of The Megastar

Further, she spoke when the actor was accidentally injured during a fight sequence in July 1986. Back then she was not the set, while the entire nation prayed for his speedy recovery, she shared Jaya Bachchan visiting Siddhi Vinayak temple. Rati Agnitori narrates, “I was not present during the schedule of the accident (on July 26, 1982, during a fight sequence with co-star Puneet Issar, Amitabh was accidentally punched in the gut resulting in a life-threatening abdominal injury). He was brought to Breach Candy Hospital from Bangalore. The collective prayers of the world made a miracle happen. I recall Jayaji (Bachchan) visiting the Siddhi Vinayak temple.”

Amitabh Bachchan resumed work after few months, and he believed in keeping everything normal despite such a huge incident. “Amitji resumed shooting after a few months. We began by doing patchwork at Chandivali Studio in Mumbai. He kept it normal even after such a major incident. Amitji has this quality of not letting anyone know what he’s been through. He doesn’t wallow and has a tremendous capacity to bounce back,” told the senior actress. ALSO READ: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan And Aaradhya Return Back To The City From Paris For Amitabh Bachchan's Birthday -WATCH

Rati Agnihotri states irrespective of the hurdles, the actor has the ability to give his best, and also get the best out of his co-stars. “Decades later, we were shooting for Govind Nihalani’s Dev (2004) in Kamalistan. It was the month of May and extremely hot. The set had no air-conditioning as we were shooting in sync sound. The scenes were heavy. But Amitji pulled them off with dedication, especially the monologue after he comes to know about his friend and co-police officer’s (Om Puri) transgression. Watching Amitji makes you want to perform better. So loaded is his performance that you have to kill it yourself. He sets the mood for you. I learnt a lot about dialogue delivery, how to hold your words, your scenes and emotions. The key lesson is that you don’t need to hurry up.”

Despite being such a huge star, Rati Agnihotri affirms he will never intimidate you, rather would appreciate you.  “As an actor, he doesn’t intimidate you. He never makes you feel any less. He will appreciate you and put forth a suggestion in a nice manner like, ‘Maybe, we can do it this way!’ It’s all for the betterment of the film. It’s not like ‘I need to perform better than you’. I have worked with actors, who want to steal the scene from you and go all out for it. But not so with Amitji. He’s so self-confident that he allows a co-actor to perform to his 500 per cent,” shared the actress. ALSO READ: Ajay Devgn Shares A Still From His Upcoming Film MayDay To Wish His Co-star Amitabh Bachchan On Birthday

Speaking about his personality, she states, “As a person, he’s reserved, not snooty.  He minds his own business. I also believe in minding my business. That’s why I was termed as ‘arrogant’ by the media. Jackie Shroff once remarked, ‘I thought you were akdoo’. But I had a schoolgirl approach on the set and just concentrated on my work. “Much to my delight, Amitji once said, ‘You’re a well brought up girl!’ My parents would always be around. My father (the late Roop Agnihotri) would fly down or drive for hours to spend the weekend with me if I was shooting outdoors. Amitji was a family-oriented person and appreciated that.”

Recalling the time, she brought homemade Pani Puri on the sets of Dev, Big B politely refused it as he choose to have simple food, keeping his health in mind. “Once, I had brought homemade paani puri for the unit of Dev. My staff took a special packet for Amitji to his van. Later, Amitji politely told me he couldn’t have it as he was particular about what he ate. Keeping his health in mind, he preferred simple food like moong ki daal and bhindi. He had stopped having chatpata stuff. He said, ‘I’ve been there and done that." ALSO READ: Amitabh Bachchan Walks 'Into the 80th' With Swag But Daughter Shweta Bachchan Corrects Him; Here’s How Ranveer Singh Reacted

The two shared screen space in Kaante, when they played a couple, she adds, “Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante (2002) was yet another memorable film. I played Amitji’s wife and a cancer victim. Though the film was a thriller, our interaction had a lot of tenderness. The song Yaar mangyasi featuring us is an emotional one.”

Speaking about meeting him a decade ago, she said, “The last time I met Amitji was perhaps at his 70th birthday celebration. It was organised at Film City. He stood at the entrance greeting each invitee along with his family members. Every guest was given personal attention.”

As she watched KBC 11 hosted by him, she is all praise for his charisma, she says, “Even today, when I watch him host Kaun Banega Crorepati, I marvel at his grit and charisma. He’s so with the times. Age is no bar for him. He’s truly iconic. If a younger person could bless, then I’d like to bless him too. Health, health and more health… is what I wish for him.”

Image Source: Instagram/amitabhbachchan/tanujvirwani