The Big B factor: When Raju Srivastava boarded a train to see an ailing Bachchan

If there was a theme in Raju Srivastava’s life, it was probably Amitabh Bachchan. The superstar was the one who first drew him to Mumbai, launched him into his comics career and whose photo still holds pride of place in his home. Bachchan is “God” to the popular comedian, who died in a Delhi hospital on Wednesday aged 58, his brother has said. Srivastava, who grew up watching every Bachchan film in a cinema hall in his hometown of Kanpur, was noted first for his resemblance to the star and then for his imitations of him. In 1982, Srivastava, then just 18, was rushing to Mumbai when Bachchan suffered a near-fatal injury while filming the movie Coolie. The idea was to catch a glimpse of the man. Of course, that didn’t happen and Srivastava joined the crowd standing guard outside the Breach Candy Hospital where Bachchan was admitted.

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”Raju Bhai ate ‘Vada Pav’ every day and stood in front of the hospital praying for Bachchan ji’s life. He came to see Amitabh Bachchan ji because he believed him to be God,” Srivastava’s brother Dipoo told PTI.

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

“He slept on the bridge of Dadar railway station, in parks and stayed in jhopadpattis (slums). He was checking newspaper ads for comedy shows in town,” his brother said. Reminiscing about her teenage years, Dipoo said Raju Srivastava would not miss a single Bachchan film and often left school to see his idol on screen.

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“He was beaten by our mother many times for this. During the Independence Day celebrations at school, he imitated him. He also danced in “baraats” (wedding procession) whenever Amitabh Bachchan songs were played in Kanpur,” added Dipoo, also a comedian in Mumbai.

It was perhaps destiny that he would get a job impersonating his favorite actor on a comedy show. At one such show in Mumbai, T-Series’ Gulshan Kumar was in the audience. “After seeing Kumar Bhai’s comedy, Gulshan offered him an audio cassette show called ‘Hasna Mana Hai’. He’s done about 25 to 30 shows like that for labels like T-Series and Venus,” Dipoo said.

The bond with the star endured over the years.

According to Dipoo, a photograph of Bachchan remains a permanent feature of Srivastava’s home today.

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“Raju Bhai asked him for blessings before going to any show,” his brother said. Srivastava, who was involved in films and later entered politics, suffered a heart attack on August 10 while exercising in a Delhi hotel. He was hospitalized and has been on a ventilator ever since. The comedian, who joined the BJP in 2014 after a stint with the Samajwadi party, suffered a heart attack on August 10 while training in a Delhi hotel. Srivastava had also starred in films such as Maine Pyar Kiya and Baazigar, Bombay to Goa remake, Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiya and Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon”.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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