Hema Malini on 20 years of Baghban: Amitabh Bachchan ji used to be so funny then | Bollywood

That film which probably every youngster in India has been shy of watching with their parents, is turning 20 today. Baghban, an emotional story about children abandoning their ageing parents, struck a chord with the movie going audience in 2003, and the impact is felt even today.

Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini played the leading roles in the 2003 film Baghban.
Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini played the leading roles in the 2003 film Baghban.

Hema Malini played the leading role opposite Amitabh Bachchan, and she is surprised when we reach out to her about the film. “Aisa lagta hai hum abhi shoot karke aaye hain,” she laughs. But she was not convinced about saying a yes to the role.

“I was not doing too many films at that point, I had reduced the number. Actually, I was just not doing anything. That is when Ravi Chopra (director) came to me and narrated this subject. I was not convinced because I had to play a mother to four elderly boys. I was feeling very awkward ‘main aisa kaise karun, maine aise mother ka role kabhi kiya hi nahi kisi film mein’ Then my mother said ‘if Amitabh Bachchan is doing it, then you can also do it, no problem. He is opposite you’, I said yes,” shares the 74-year-old.

Malini was assured that she won’t be made to look like ‘an old woman with white hair’ and be presented the way she was in real life. Malini recalls the romantic scenes she shot with Bachchan, especially the song Main Yahaan Tu Wahaan. “It was BR Chopra sahab’s (producer) dream, to make this film. He gave me a narration before the shoot started. He was watching all the scenes from day one. I think this must have been the romance he had at his home, with his partner. He wanted to bring all those things out,” she says.

While the making of the film, the one thing which stood out for her was Bachchan’s jovial nature. Having previously worked in films such as Sholay (1975), she narrates, “Sabne khushi khushi kaam kiya iss film mein. When Amit ji used to enter the set, he would bring so much light, all the workers used to light up and say ‘arre Amit ji aa gaye’ , unko lagta tha ab koi mazaak karenge. He used to be so jovial, fun loving. I don’t think he is like that anymore. Pata nahi, thoda serious ho gaye hain aaj kal.”

Appreciating the music and mourning the loss of the man behind it, late music composer Aadesh Srivastava (along with Uttam Singh), Malini adds that she got to know the film is a success when her daughter Esha Deol was working with Bachchan’s son Abhishek in Dus. “They would keep telling me picture hit ho gayi hai, mujhe lagta tha mazaak kar rahe hain, but it turned out to be a fact,” she smiles.

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