March 3, 2022 8:07:20 am
Amitabh Bachchan was “embarrassed” to match steps with Aruna Irani in Bombay to Goa. Considering the 1972 film was also his first attempt at song and dance, he was not sure about shaking a leg with Aruna, whom he called “the master and magician in dance.” But, if it wasn’t for Bombay to Goa, Amitabh would’ve never landed Zanjeer, that made him the ‘angry young man’ of Bollywood.
Amitabh had in 2018 written a long post on his blog about Bombay to Goa, expressing gratitude towards Mehmood for trusting him with the iconic movie.
It all started with Amitabh striking a close bond with Mehmood’s brother Anwar Ali in Saat Hindustani. Amitabh once met Mehmood at Anwar’s house. Mehmood, who was thoroughly impressed with Amitabh’s baritone, asked Anwar to send his friend for a screen test. While Amitabh bagged the role of Ravi, Aruna Irani’s onscreen love interest, Anwar played the bus driver.
“Mehmood bhai chose to remake it…he being equally if not more in presence in Hindi cinema…his presence in film gave it huge star value…those were the times. For some reason he always believed in me… would address me as ‘Danger Diabolic’…never asked him why and how he arrived at this name, but he did. I was with Anwar, his younger brother in Saat Hindustani and our closeness lasts till today…I stayed with him for long…he stayed with me..,” Amitabh wrote in his blog.
Subscriber Only Stories
Calling Aruna an “accomplished, graceful and rhythmic” actor, Amitabh revealed in the post that he used to practice his dance steps with choreographer PL Raj, who would beat him up with a stick! He said, “At the evening hours in a dilapidated closed worn out mill floor in Pune, dance Master and choreographer PL Raj (Devraj Lewis), his son the famous musician Leslie Lewis, stick in hand, beating the hell out of me to learn the steps…would rehearse the mornings shoot…knees lacerated, bleeding, tying them up with handkerchief to prevent further damage and not informing the crew for fear of being thrown out of the film, carrying on and trying to deliver.”
It was one of the fight sequences in Bombay to Goa that grabbed the attention of writer duo Salim-Javed. He further revealed that since he was chewing a gum throughout the fight, it became an “indicator that I would be the right choice for Zanjeer!” Amitabh thanked the chewing gum!
Bombay to Goa revolves around Aruna Irani’s character Mala who flees from home to become a film actress. Unaware that the two men who are helping her — Sharma and Verma — are actually planning to kill her and run away with all her money, she meets Ravi while travelling on a bus. What transpires on the bus, and how its passengers from all corners of India strike a bond is what the feel-good entertainer is about.
Reminiscing about its popular song “Dekha Na Haye Re”, Amitabh shared that it was shot with back projection, as making the film was a challenge on a moving bus, and hence the team chose a studio. He being a newcomer received a lot of encouragement from the cast, that also included Shatrughan Sinha, Keshto Mukherjee, Nazir Hussain, Manmohan, Mukri, Lalita Pawar and others.
According to Amitabh, “The entire cast would stand by the frame of camera and scream encouragement to me. What a sight and what a moment…such camaraderie and strength. Mehmood bhai urging me on to dance and give it all. After every take getting my spot boy to feed me with ‘mosambi juice’, gallons of it!!”
Bombay to Goa was co-directed by S. Ramanathan and Mehmood and had music by RD Burman. Amitabh wished that such stories about yesteryear movies should be archived. “There is so much history that needs to be kept for posterity, here in Mumbai but indeed in other places too,” Amitabh Bachchan wrote.
📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.