‘Zohraji was a rocket on take-off each day’
Amitabh Bachchan (right) and Zohra Sehgal (inset) worked together for the first time in Cheeni Kum. As the film completes 10 years today, Bachchan recalls the time he spent with Sehgal, who died in 2014. “I worked with Zohraji for the first time in the film, though the association with her goes back to my parents’ time and Prithvi Theatres,” says Bachchan in an e-mail interview with us. “Working with Zohraji was an absolute honour for me,” he adds.
In the film, Bachchan, then 64 years old, played a man his exactly his own age (who fell in love with a 34-year-old woman, a character played by Tabu), and Sehgal, then 95, played his mother.
There were rumours that Sehgal asked for a glass of whiskey from the film’s director, R. Balki, after each shot. After the shooting was over, Bachchan also gifted her a whole crate of champagne.
“Zohraji was a rocket on take-off, each day of the shoot. Her energy and joie de vivre were unmatchable. I cannot remember her asking for a whiskey after each shot from Balki, but yes, she did enjoy her champagne and because she had expressed a desire to be given some after the film was over, I did send across the ‘bubbly’ to her,” he adds.