Calling Amitabh Bachchan a legend would be an understatement. The actor, who has been in the film industry for over 49 years, is a strong pillar of Indian cinema. In many parts of the world, where people don’t know much about Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan’s name rings a bell. We often hear that perseverance and discipline lead to success and in Mr Bachchan’s case, nothing could be truer than this.
In Dr Yusuf Merchant’s latest book Happyness, he recounts an incident about Amitabh Bachchan that at the time, left him surprised. Many years ago, Dr Merchant was organising anti-drug programmes at colleges with celebrities. One such function was being held at St Xaviers College in Mumbai and the guest of honour was Mr Amitabh Bachchan. The function was supposed to start at 9 pm but Dr Merchant had learnt that celebrities were usually late so he had developed a practice of calling them two hours prior to the function.
Amitabh Bachchan was called in at 7 pm. Little did Dr Merchant know that Mr Bachchan would actually land up at 6:59 pm. He was shocked to see a celebrity of such caliber be this punctual.
In his book, Dr Yusuf Merchant writes, “I don’t know what shocked me more, my embarrassment or the timing of his arrival. Noticing my awkwardness, he smiled to put me at ease. He sat down on a plastic chair in the audience section and in his usual baritone asked, ‘Cutting chai milegi?’”
“He shook my hand firmly and casually informed me that since he had committed to fifteen minutes he would leave at 7.15 p.m. I was amazed by his humble and gracious demeanour. To cover my embarrassment, I started briefing him about the drug problem in India. He listened, and when fifteen minutes had passed, he said, ‘Thank you, Dr Merchant’, and waved goodbye.”