New Delhi, Aug 9 (PTI) Amitabh Bachchan “fluffed his lines” while performing a play during his Delhi University days and had among others his mother Teji as audience that day.
Veteran theatre personality Dolly Thakore recalls this in her memoir “Regrets, None”, which looks at the worlds of glamour, fashion, theatre, film and advertising from the 1960s till today.
Thakore, who studied at Miranda House, says she remembers Bachchan, an alumnus of Kirori Mal College, as “being shy and laconic, a well-mannered, very tall and very thin young man”.
During the annual play once, they both performed in Benn Levy’s “The Rape of the Belt”. She played the role of Antiope, the Queen of the Amazons, and Bachchan played Zeus.
She remembers a “photo of all of us lined up for our curtain call. Amitabh’s head is bowed, looking steadfastly at the floor”.
According to Bachchan, it was “because he’d fluffed his lines, and his mother had come to watch”.
Thakore bares it all in her memoir which is full of wit, humour and candour. The book follows her life and career – growing up in Delhi and an assortment of Air Force stations, getting her start in theatre in college, her time in London, involvement with social issues, casting for “Gandhi” and filming it across India, working in radio, television and advertising while returning always to her first love, theatre.
Thakore brings alive another era – the glitz, the glamour, the struggles in her book, published by HarperCollins India. She speaks candidly about love, sex, infidelity, motherhood, commitment, the ecstasy and the heartbreaks.
She describes in detail how she was roped in as casting director for “Gandhi” and how she was also the unit publicist and PR liaison.
Among other characters, Thakore writes how director Richard Attenborough wanted Rohini Hattangadi to lose about 11 kg to play the role of Kasturba Gandhi.
She also mentions how Naseeruddin Shah was keen on playing Gandhi and Attenborough’s willingness to cast him as Jawarharlal Nehru. Finally “Richard said ‘no’ to Naseer playing Gandhi. Naseer, in turn, said ‘no’ to Nehru,” Thakore writes.
Thakore says her life has been an open book and she has always shared her choices and decisions with her head held high.
“It feels wonderful that my life has found its way onto the page. It’s taken me eight decades of living, forty years of sifting through memories, and finally Arghya Lahiri (the book’s co-author), to distill it all into a book.”
According to Swati Chopra, executive editor at HarperCollins India, “Dolly is a feminist ‘foremother’, who has lived her life completely on her own terms, as an uncompromising equal to the men in her life, and by being as unflinchingly honest to her own truth as possible”.
“Regrets, None”, Chopra says, describes a woman who “takes whatever life throws at her on the chin, and draws from her inner strength, skill and resourcefulness at every point to forge her own unique path”.