‘Sairat’ director Nagraj Manjule saw Bachchan’s ‘Satte Pe Satta’ 50 times

Manjule whose latest film 'Jhund' is helmed by Bachchan, said that he fell in love with cinema because of the towering superstar. His films have had a huge influence on him, admitted the director

Marathi film director Nagraj Manjule would not miss watching any of Bachchan's films when he was growing up. And then he got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the superstar in sports drama 'Jhund'

Marathi blockbuster film ‘Sairat’ director Nagraj Manjule is an unabashed Amitabh Bachchan fan. When he was at school, he was so devoted to Bachchan that he would not miss any of his films and has watched the 1982 caper ‘Satte Pe Satta’ close to 50 times.

Manjule, whose latest film Jhund is helmed by Bachchan and is all set to release in theatres on March 4, told PTI that it is because of the towering superstar he fell in love with cinema. Bachchan’s films have had a huge influence on him, he admitted.

“In my growing up years, till the time I was in tenth standard – before I failed and moved away from cinema — he was my world,” he reiterated. All Bachchan’s films like Yaarana, Main Azaad Hoon, Deewaar, Khuda Gawah and Satte Pe Satta have had a huge impact on him, he added.

According to the young director, he watched Satte Pe Satta close to 50 times sneaking into cinema halls only to catch the entry sequence of a light-eyed Bachchan, who strides out of jail looking menacing enough as killer Babu.

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It was only for that sequence he would have watched the film minimum 50 times in those days. He would watch three to four shows of Bachchan’s films in a single day, he said, adding that he would also dress up like him, tie up his shirt in a knot like Bachchan did in Deewar and go to school (and get punished for it). But he would not stop.

He would mouth Bachchan’s dialogues and imitate his on screen persona all the time.

Basically, main apne aapko Bachchan samjhta tha (I thought I was Bachchan) and would roam around like him, mouthing his dialogues, he added. So much so that in his Jeur village in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, he was the local Bachchan.

Years later, directing the megastar, who had such an influence on Indian cinema and on him, turned out to be a surreal experience for the 43-year-old Nagraj Manjule. In Jhund, Bachchan plays Vijay Barse, a Nagpur-based retired sports teacher who pioneers a slum soccer movement.

Manjule, who is a National award winning director with acclaimed films like Sairat and Fandry under his belt, said that it was a daunting prospect to work with Bachchan. Moreover, he had only worked with first-time actors before. “So I would think what would be the process, how will I direct him? But credit to him, he really never made me feel any pressure or burden,” said Manjule, according to media reports.

Also, Manjule realised that directing the legendary actor was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he was careful to make the most of it.

After seeing someone on screen and then getting a chance to collaborate with them is huge, said Manjule, and “lived every moment” working with his icon. And, added that every second of working with Bachchan sir was “precious” for him.

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