With an illustrious career spanning hundreds of Bollywood films, veteran actor Aanjjan Srivastav has witnessed the evolving landscape of the industry. Throughout his journey, he has closely observed the fluctuating fortunes of legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, who remains an enduring superstar. Aanjjan vividly recalls the challenging period when Amitabh found himself embroiled in the Bofors scandal during the 1980s, which significantly impacted his self-assurance. Fortunately, Bachchan was eventually exonerated of any wrongdoing, marking a turning point in his life and career.
During an interview with Rajshri Unplugged, Aanjjan Srivastav recollected a poignant encounter with Amitabh Bachchan during that challenging period. Aanjjan shared, "I visited the Filmistan sets of 'Toofan' to check on him. In those days, there were massive protests against Amit ji happening in Kolkata. Posters were being torn down, and Amit ji himself appeared disheartened. I approached him and asked, 'Bhaisahab kaise hai?' (Brother, how are you?), to which he simply responded, 'Theek hun' (I am fine), and that was all."
The actor candidly expressed the challenging situation Amitabh Bachchan found himself in, describing it as a "very bad condition." He further emphasized the lack of support Amitabh received during that time, stating, "No one was there to check on it. We know that the litterateurs of Allahabad had begun criticizing him. His father's friends had started speaking negatively about him, oblivious to the truth. He was caught in a state of uncertainty and faced a truly difficult period."
In addition to his acting career, Aanjjan Srivastav also held a role as a banker, and his bank was involved in handling the finances of Amitabh's company ABCL during its turbulent phase in the 1990s. Recalling a significant encounter, Aanjjan revealed that when he met Amitabh in his capacity as a banker regarding the loan, Bachchan humbly rose from his seat with folded hands and solemnly promised to repay the borrowed funds as soon as possible.
Recalling their meeting, Aanjjan Srivastav fondly reminisced, "As soon as we met him, he promptly stood up with folded hands and assured us, 'I will return your money as soon as possible.' However, I clarified that we had not come for that purpose. We had approached him due to an error made by his accountant. We conveyed our trust in him, affirming that we believed in his good intentions and that he would fulfill his commitment. Nevertheless, we advised him to refrain from engaging in transactions with other banks in this particular banking context." Aanjjan further shared, "I returned to the bank and instructed them not to initiate any legal proceedings. Gradually, he fulfilled his promise and returned all the money."
According to Aanjjan, he firmly believed that Amitabh Bachchan was "trapped" within the intricate web of his company's financial crisis. He recalled visiting Amitabh's office from the bank to collect statements and witnessing how people were deceitfully taking advantage of him. Aanjjan, renowned for his diverse portfolio of plays, television shows, and films, as well as his memorable portrayal of Srinivas Wagale in the 1988 sitcom "Wagale Ki Duniya," expressed the realization that he and his manager had reached during that time.
Amitabh Bachchan's financial struggles became widely known when his company ABCL faced significant losses, leading to bankruptcy. However, with the massive success of the television show Kaun Banega Crorepati in the early 2000s and a string of successful films, the iconic actor was able to overcome his debt burden. Aanjjan Srivastav also shared his astonishment at witnessing how, after the emergence of KBC, Amitabh seemingly distanced himself from old friends and acquaintances, a fact that left him bewildered.
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