By Chaitanya Padukone
The cult-classic crime-thriller comedy super-hit musical movie Bombay To Goa (1972) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Aruna Irani, Mehmood, and an ensemble galaxy of ace comedians, completes 51 years of its release today.
Acclaimed mega-star and (popular politician) Shatrughan Sinha known for his awesome memory, and his power-packed acting-dialogues delivery skills, jogs into memory lane. And shares an exclusive flashback of intriguing nuggets relevant to ‘Bombay To Goa’. Where he played the imposing stylized scheming con-man antagonist role.
Recalls sentimental Shatru-saab (as he is fondly known), “It all started when, ace comedian Mehmood bhai-jaan, and eminent director S. Ramanathan and the then newcomer Amitabh Bachchan (standing behind them with requesting plead to look in his eyes), came and almost ‘gheraoed’ me, at ‘Madras’ (now Chennai) airport, where I was leaving for Bombay (Mumbai ) for the shooting of Sultan Ahmed’s “Heera” (1973) which was to start the very next day: Out here at the airport and in-between flights, that they emotionally ‘blackmailed’ me and professionally convinced me to agree to do the film ‘Bombay To Goa’, “ discloses the iconic ‘Mere Apne’ (1971) lead actor.
Was there some sort of persuasive pressure on him? The ‘Blackmail’ (1973) charismatic actor Sinha-saab reveals. “Due to my extreme fondness for Mehmood bhaijaan and great respect for brilliant director S. Raamanathan, I could not and did not want to refuse them for doing the film. Since my dates diary was already full, I did not know how to accommodate them at such short notice. However, they assured me that, in fact, they will adjust their dates with mine and hence somehow with my good relations with Sultan Ahmed, I took it upon myself to convince him to date adjustments.”
Was there also any special discreet major reason? The acclaimed versatile super-actor popular for his off-screen verbal reaction ‘khaamosh’ could no longer control his khaamoshi and opened up. “The other major sentimental reason, why I did the film was due to my dear friend Amitabh Bachchan, who was playing the romantic lead in the film. It felt great to be doing anything for him, including doing a film together with him. Especially since we had fondly been together right from our struggle days,” explains the ‘Dostana’ (1980) lead actor Shatru-saab. Who seems to firmly believe in the off-screen bonding ‘salaamat rahey dostaana hamara’.
On a parting note, outspoken Shatrughan Sinha says, “Although it was a crazy musical hilarious comedy was also an edgy suspense crime-thriller. The whole shooting of Bombay To Goa was like an extended picnic. That too a laugh-riot one, with the most talented ensemble star-cast including the versatile icon Kishore Kumar (as himself in a guest appearance) being the icing on the cake: Director S Ramanathan had a tough time controlling the mischievous pranks and wild unit, who were off-screen also indulging in fun-frolic in a tourist coach-bus that was our temple-in-motion of art and diverse cultures,” signs off the Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973) impactful senior actor.
(The writer Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent award-winning senior entertainment journalist-author)