Pune is special because I met Jaya Bachchan here: Amitabh
Pune is known as city of art, culture and literature, and many of my films have been shot here. But it holds a special place in my heart because I met my Jaya here and I decided to get married to her,’’ said eminent actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Bachchan and veteran playback singer Asha Bhosale were felicitated with the coveted ‘Outstanding contribution to Indian Cinema’ award at the inauguration of 10th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF).
The festival was kick-started with fervour on Thursday at City Pride, Kothrud. It was inaugurated by Sanjay Deotale, state minister for environment and cultural affairs. Noted actor Rani Mukherjee was the guest of honour.
There was a stampede when Bachchan arrived at the venue. Bachchan, who had donned a Puneri pagdi, received the award from veteran actor Shreeram Lagoo.
He recalled, “Forty-two years in the film industry are like a dream. I never thought that I would become an actor. Destiny has brought me here and I feel indebted to the people of India.’’
Bhosale sang a Tamil song and enthralled the audience with a Marathi song on popular demand. “I have sung more than 900 Marathi songs in Pune. I am very proud that I am Marathi and I have stayed in Pune,” she said.
Eminent music director Ilayaraja was honoured with Sachin Dev Burman international award for creative music and sound. An emotional Ilayaraja said, “Great singers like Mozart, Beethoven and Sachin Dev Burman didn’t create music for any award. No kalakar (artiste) works for awards and I don’t create music for awards. But by accepting this award, I am paying my tribute to Sachin Dev Burman.”
Talking about Asha, Ilayaraja said, “She is a fantastic singer. When she is on stage, ideas start flowing and she will catch up and perform just like that.’’
Noted actor Sachin Pilgaonkar was also felicitated for completing 50 years in cinema. He said, “I feel great to be part of the Indian film industry. I don’t like calling it Bollywood.’’
Rani Mukherjee, who was dressed in Maharashtrian sari, nath and gajra, won the hearts of the audience by speaking in Marathi.
“The shooting of my Marathi film Aiyaa took place here. I have enacted the role of a Puneri mulgi (girl) in the film. Though I was born and bought up in Mumbai, I am very much a Marathi,’’ she said.