Thursday 7 December 2017

You Are Made For Better Things: When Shashi Kapoor Pulled Big B Out of an 'Extra' Role

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Shashi Kapoor , Big B , Amitabh Bhchchan

He also recalled how Shashi held his hand when the iconic 'mere paas maa hai' moment flashed on the screen.

Having worked with him in classic films like Deewar, Kabhie Kabhie, Silsila and Kaala Patthar among others, Amitabh Bachchan shared a wonderful camaraderie with the legendary actor Shashi Kapoor. In a blog post penned down in 2009, Big B had talked about his equation with Shashi. He had shared how he was supposed to play an extra in a scene featuring Shashi's death but was eventually advised by Shashi to not play the part as he thought Big B was meant for much more.

"The scene that morning was of Shash ji’s death, where his body was being taken in procession to the burning pier for cremation. I was asked to be among those that formed the pall bearers along with several other junior artists in the sequence, to carry the body. After a couple of shots we were asked to stand amongst the crowd as mourners as the shooting progressed."

"Shashi ji was not at the shoot, obviously, but dropped by later at the location. When he saw what we had been asked to do, he walked up to me in the crowd of mourners where I was standing as a junior artist, or the ‘extra’ and asked me to move. ‘Don’t do these bit parts’ he advised, ‘you are made for better things’ and then spoke to the director to delete those portions of mine from the film."

Big B then went on to share his journey from being an extra to being a protagonist alongside the actor. "And one fine day at the first shot for the film ‘Deewar’ at Raj Kamal Studio, I stood along with him for the keepsake photograph after the ‘mahurat’, with him playing my younger brother. I had travelled from being an ‘extra’ in Shashi Kapoor’s film to play a prominent role along him."

He recalled how Shashi held his hand when the iconic 'mere paas maa hai' moment flashed on the screen. "It was reassurance, it was affection, it was acknowledgement, it was complimentary, it was appreciation .. it was everything that a struggling actor that had once played an ‘extra’ in a film that starred this gentleman sitting next to me, had never ever dreamt would happen."

Soon after the premiere dinner, the cast and crew assembled at the Copper Chimney in Worli, and the editor of Yash Chopra's films walked up to Bachchan and said, "Bachche… tu star ban gaya vey!”

Bachchan further elaborated how the two became inseparable in other successful ventures that followed. "Leading ladies would shy away from our projects by proclaiming that there would be nothing left for them to do once SK and AB were there together," he wrote.

Not just colleagues, but the two went on to become relatives when Bachchan's daughter Shweta married Raj Kapoor's grandson and the bond grew stronger until Shashi "closed himself up almost as a recluse" after his wife Jennifer's death, explained Bachchan.

As the thespian breathed his last on Monday evening, Big B wrote another heartfelt post sharing why he didn't visit Shashi often in the hospitals. "I had visited him on occasion in Hospital during some of the times he had been hospitalised earlier .. but I never went to see him again .. I would never have .. I never ever wanted to see this beautiful friend and ‘samdhi’ in the state I saw him in hospital .."

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