How Manmohan Desai Made Amitabh Bachchan a Superstar
March 1, 2023, marked the 29th death anniversary of the late filmmaker Manmohan Desai. The critically acclaimed filmmaker will always be remembered for directing blockbuster hits like Sachaa Jhutha, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Dharam-Veer and others. Manmohan firmly believed that audiences craved an entertaining package of stars, a story laced with emotion, high-octane action sequences, riveting drama, comedy, romance and soulful music. However, not many are aware that he played a pivotal role in Amitabh Bachchan’s rise to stardom. His marriage with actress Nanda and his mysterious death are also often recalled. Keep reading this space to know about these three aspects in detail.
Not many know, but Manmohan was least impressed when he first saw Amitabh and as stated in the reports, went on to call him a constipated-looking actor. He wouldn’t have roped him but it was Dharmendra’s refusal to act in his upcoming home production, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), which prompted him to take Amitabh on board. At that time, Dharmendra was already working in Chacha-Bhatija (1977) and declined to work in Amar Akbar Anthony. It is said that the veteran director took offence to this and went on to sign Amitabh. The Shahenshah of Bollywood, as he is popularly referred to today also didn’t disappoint him. His acting prowess in the role of Anthony Gonsalves charmed the audience and paved the way to essay important roles in more of Manmohan’s films. They teamed up for some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters from Parvarish (1977) to Mard (1985), until Ganga Jamuna Saraswati (1988) and Toofan (1989) ended their dream run. Coolie (1983), Suhaag (1979) and Desh Premee (1982) were some of their other well-known films as well.
Despite giving some flops, Manmohan became quite well known for his films which had all the factors of a perfect family entertainer. He now decided to take a plunge forward in his personal life as well and decided to marry Nanda. It is reported that Manmohan had asked her for marriage in 1992 and she agreed as well but tragedy struck before that.
On March 1, 1994, he fell off his residential building at Grant Road in Mumbai after two years of his engagement with Nanda. Details about the real nature of his death are still shrouded in mystery. Some speculated that it was a murder while others said that he died by suicide due to chronic back pain or flop films in his later career.
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