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    Trials bring in Big B's 64

    By Staff

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Mumbai (UNI): Megastar Amitabh Bachchan who swept all film awards as Best Actor for his performance in Black, celebrated his 64th birthday here today. He is perhaps the only actor to have won the Best Actor award at the age of 63. Apart from playing teacher to a deaf, dumb and blind girl in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film, he was ''Sexy Sam'' in Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (KANK), which received bouquets as well as brickbats. At the age of 64, he also realised his dream of playing Gabbar Singh in Ram Gopal Varma's remake of the 1975 cult film Sholay in which he had played the character of Jai.

    Big B has not planned any celebrations. Instead, he celebrated the D-Day with his family members and close friends. The actor has already stated that there would be no lavishness, as his 89-year-old mother Teji is ailing and is in the hospital for over two months. According to sources close to the actor, he has taken a day off from shooting schedules. Actor-son Abhishek who was shooting for Jhoom Bara Bar Jhoom in London, is back home to celebrate his father's birthday. Daughter Shweta Nanda is also visiting her father along with her children from Delhi.

    Even though the Big B may prefer to have a quiet celebration, his fans and the media like to celebrate his birthday with fanfare. Thousands of fans were gathered at his bungalow Jalsa in suburban Mumbai to catch a glimpse of their favourite actor. Even hordes of cameramen, photographers and mediapersons had laid in wait to capture the movie star's movements in their lenses and take soundbytes.

    The year gone by was an eventful one for the living legend. He also dominated the headlines for all sorts of reasons. Starting with his illness in November last year, he underwent an abdominal surgery and was advised bedrest for three months. The Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) Dwitiya was called off after the bank of episodes had exhausted. During that time, his close friend and Samajwadi party leader Amar Singh alleged that the Congress government at the Centre had insulted the Big B by inviting him as chief guest for the inauguration of International Film Festival in Goa and then cancelling the invite. But Goa Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane, in his clarification, said that he had invited Bachchan to participate in the festival and the prerogative of inviting the chief guest was with the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF).

    But the issue which made headlines for several days, was followed by another when Mr Singh alleged that the Income Tax department was targetting Bachchan over the payment of hospital bills, where he underwent abdominal surgery. The harassment was done at the behest of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Bachchan who was quoted endorsing Amar Singh's allegations in a national daily, later denied harassment from IT department in another newspaper interview.This June, Mr Singh again charged that IT notices were sent to Amitabh, his wife Jaya and Abhishek. But, Amitabh during IIFA weekend in Dubai denied the harassment, saying that the IT department was merely doing its job.

    Recently, a furore erupted over scaling down of Bachchan's security. But Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil said the actor had two escort vehicles and one of them was withdrawn. There was no scaling down of his security. Even Jaya Bachchan was disqualified from Rajya Sabha over the office of profit controversy, which had snowballed in a major political crisis. She however, was re-elected again recently. Television channels have lined up special programmes to celebrate Amitabh Bachchan's birthday. Zee Muzic has special programmes all through the day, even Star Gold has lined up Big B's movies throughout the day. Apart from Gabbar Singh and Sexy Sam characters, Big B has also been cast opposite an 18-year-old girl in Ramgopal Varma's Nishabd, which is a love story between a young girl and an old man.

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