When Amitabh Bachchan Requested Yash Chopra For Work – Blast from the Past
Amitabh Bachchan needed to reinvent his career and the only person he approached was the late Yash Chopra
By the year 2000 Amitabh Bachchan’s career had come to a dead-end of sorts. His last crop of films in the 1990s as a leading man, like Lal Badshah, Sooryavansham, Major Saab, Kohram and Mrityudata, had flopped. And he didn’t know which way to go. What he had on his side was self-honesty. “I knew I had to start from the beginning again. My days as the conventional hero were over. I had two choices. I could either retire. Or I could re-invent myself,” Mr Bachchan recalled in an interview with me.
This is where Yash Chopra came in. Bachchan Saab had heard that Yash Raj Films was planning a big film called Mohabbatein where there was a role tailor-made for Mr Bachchan. “One morning I woke up and walked over from my home to Yashji’s bungalow. I told him I needed a role since I was jobless. He was gracious enough to immediately offer me a role in Mohabbatein,” said Mr Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan
Mohabbatein started the new phase in Mr Bachchan’s career as a patriarch. The chalk-black hair was abandoned for grey hair and a beard. To this day, Bachchan Saab credits his current innings as India’s oldest superstar (my description, not his) to the late Yash Chopra. “It was a wonderful experience, really. At that age, time and moment of my career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a set-up like this. I really can’t be too concerned about the length of my role, and so on,” Mr B exulted to me after the film’s success.