When Raju Srivastava rushed to Mumbai after Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Coolie’ injury


New Delhi: If there is one leitmotif in Raju Srivastava’s life, it is probably Amitabh Bachchan. He was the one who first dragged him to Mumbai, launched his comedy career and his photo still takes pride of place in his home.

Bachchan was a “god” to the popular comedian, who died at a Delhi hospital on Wednesday at the age of 58, his brother said.

Srivastava, who grew up watching every Bachchan film in a theater in his hometown Kanpur, was noticed first for his resemblance to the star and then for his impersonations.

In 1982, Srivastava, then just 18, rushed to Mumbai when Bachchan was fatally injured during the shooting of “Coolie”. The idea was to get a glimpse of the man. That certainly didn’t happen, and Srivastava joined the vigil outside the Breach Candy Hospital where Bachchan was admitted.

“Raju Bhai used to eat ‘Vada Pav’ every day and would stand outside the hospital and pray for Bachan ji’s life. He had come to see Amitabh Bachchan as a god,” Srivastava’s brother Dibu told PTI.

Bachchan recovered and returned to the sets. And Srivastava took the life-changing decision to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

“He slept on the bridge of Dadar station, in parks and stayed in jobatpattis (slums). He used to look at newspaper advertisements to find out about comedy shows in the city,” said his brother. Recalling their growing years, Dibu said that Raju Srivastava would never miss a single Bachchan movie and would attend school to see his idol on screen.

“He was beaten up by our mother several times for this. During Independence Day celebrations at school, he would imitate her. Whenever Amitabh Bachchan songs were played in Kanpur, he would dance in the ‘baraat’ (marriage procession),” Dibu, also a Mumbai comedian, added.

Perhaps it was fate that he would get a job impersonating his favorite actor in a comedy show. At a show in Mumbai, T-Series’ Gulshan Kumar was in the audience.

“Kulshan Kumar, who saw Bhai’s sense of humour, gave him an audio cassette show called ‘Hasna Mana Hai’. He did 25 to 30 shows for labels like T-Series and Venus,” said Dibu.

The association with the star continued over the years.

According to Dipu, Bachchan’s photograph is still a permanent fixture in Srivatsava’s home.

“Raju Bhai would take his blessings before going to any event,” said his brother. Srivatsava, who acted in films and later entered politics, suffered a heart attack on August 10 while exercising in a Delhi hotel. He was rushed to the hospital and has been on a ventilator since then.

The comedian, who joined the BJP in 2014 from the Samajwadi Party, suffered a heart attack on August 10 while exercising at a Delhi hotel.

Srivastava has also acted in films like “Maine Pyaar Kiya” and “Baasikar”, “Bombay to Goa”, “Amdhani Athani Karcha Rupaya” and “Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon”.

(This report is published as part of an auto-generated syndicated wire feed. Except for the headline, no edits have been made to the copy by ABP Live.)


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