Non-Stop Prayer Ri­tual in Kolkata Un­til Bachchan Fam­ily Re­cover from COVID-19

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Fans of Amitabh Bachchan in Kolkata have or­gan­ised “ma­ham­ritun­jay yagna”, which they said would con­tinue un­til the Bol­ly­wood su­per­star and his fam­ily re­cover from COVID-19.

The prayers, which have been go­ing on round the clock since Sun­day morn­ing, were ini­tially planned at the ‘tem­ple’ ded­i­cated to Bachchan in the Bon­del Gate area of the city but had to be shifted due to wa­ter­log­ging, fol­low­ing in­ces­sant rains.

“We will con­tinue the yagna till all mem­bers of the Bachchan fam­ily re­cover, which we know is a mat­ter of few days,” said San­joy Pa­to­dia of the Amitabh Bachchan Fans As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We had ini­tially planned the ‘yagna’ at the tem­ple of the ‘Sha­hen­shah’ (king of kings) of the In­dian film in­dus­try, but due to the rains and wa­ter­log­ging we are hold­ing the rit­u­als in my flat, lo­cated next to the tem­ple,” he added.

Amitabh Bachchan, 77, and his son, ac­tor Ab­hishek Bachchan, 44, are un­der­go­ing treatment at the Nana­vati Hospi­tal in Mum­bai af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for COVID-19, which they re­vealed on Twit­ter on July 11.

Ab­hishek’s wife, ac­tor Aish­warya, 46, and their eight-yearold daugh­ter Aarad­hya were also found to be COVID-19 pos­i­tive the next day but they are “self-quar­an­tin­ing at home”.

A grand idol of the su­per­star graces the tem­ple, which was built in 2001. It also has a col­lec­tion of out­fits, shoes and spec­ta­cles that

Bachchan has used in dif­fer­ent­films. Gifted to the as­so­ci­a­tion by the ac­tor him­self over the years, all the items are wor­shipped ev­ery­day with no ex­cep­tion even dur­ing the coro­n­avirus out­break. A spe­cially com­posed “Amitabh Chal­isa” is re­cited by the fans along with ‘aarti’ of the idol. “How­ever, we have not been al­low­ing visi­tors in the tem­ple since the lock­down be­gan.

The ‘yagna’ is also be­ing at­tended by a lim­ited num­ber of fans,” Pa­to­dia said.

The as­so­ci­a­tion cel­e­brates Au­gust 2, the day Bachchan got a sec­ond lease of life af­ter be­ing griev­ously in­jured on the sets of his film Coolie 37 years back, in a big way and has grand plans for this year as well.

“We all con­sider Au­gust 2 as the sec­ond birth­day of Bachchan sir. This year we have plans to cel­e­brate the day in a grand man­ner fol­low­ing all so­cial dis­tanc­ing norms. Those who will not be al­lowed in­side the tem­ple can see the cel­e­bra­tions on in­ter­net,” he said. Mr Pa­to­dia said he was touched when Bachchan sent him an SMS in­quir­ing about their well­be­ing, fol­low­ing cy­clone Am­phan that lashed the city.

“Bachchan sir and his fam­ily are aware of our love and re­spect. He, Ab­hishek Bachchan, Jaya-ji and Aish­warya-ji know us. He has also been ask­ing us to be care­ful in the wake of the coro­n­avirus out­break,” he said.

Photo: Reuters

Artists cre­ate paint­ings de­pict­ing Bol­ly­wood ac­tor Amitabh Bachchan, his son Ab­hishek Bachchan, his daugh­ter-in-law Aish­warya Rai Bachchan and his grand­daugh­ter Aarad­hya, af­ter they tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus disease (COVID-19), in Mum­bai, In­dia, on July 13, 2020.

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