Unveiling the Untold Story Behind ‘Shahenshah’: Amitabh Bachchan’s Battle and Triumph

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale  - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
Credits: Shahenshah Movie

The year 1988 witnessed the cinematic marvel ‘Shahenshah,’ a film that etched itself into the annals of hit movies. Directed by Tinnu Anand, it was a success story that almost faced an untimely demise due to unforeseen circumstances. Amid the shooting, a profound challenge emerged, threatening the film’s very existence – a challenge that Amitabh Bachchan, the titular star, had to conquer.

A Battle Against the Odds

During a crucial moment on the set, Amitabh Bachchan was faced with a life-threatening situation. While sipping water, an unexpected occurrence unfolded – the water got stuck in his throat. This seemingly ordinary incident led to the revelation of a grave ailment – Myasthenia Gravis. The media frenzy ensued, declaring that Amitabh Bachchan’s acting career had come to a screeching halt. The news reverberated, casting a shadow over the director’s vision.

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Tinnu Anand’s Account of the Past

Speaking to Radio Nasha, Tinnu Anand revealed the heart of the matter. He recounted the harrowing experience, taking us back to the days of ‘Shahenshah.’ Shooting in Mysore, an injury brought Amitabh to Bangalore for treatment. What followed was a conversation that changed the course of the film. Amitabh, in his characteristic empathy, asked Tinnu Anand to brace himself for distressing news.

A Revelation of Struggle

Amitabh’s words revealed the gravity of the situation. Myasthenia Gravis, a muscular disorder, had made its presence known. An innocent sip of water had set off a series of events that led to suffocation. The actor recounted his struggle, acknowledging the thin line between life and death. The diagnosis led to a trip to Bombay for further assessment, leaving the film’s future hanging in uncertainty.

The Tumultuous Headline and the Director’s Despair

The news of Amitabh’s condition spread like wildfire, culminating in a headline that shook the industry – ‘Amitabh Bachchan will no longer be able to act.’ For Tinnu Anand, this was a devastating blow. Investors knocked on his door, seeking reassurance for their financial stakes in the film. The predicament seemed insurmountable, with no actor capable of filling Amitabh’s shoes.

A Glint of Hope: Amitabh’s Brother’s Message

Amid the chaos, a ray of hope emerged – a message from Amitabh’s brother, Ajitabh Bachchan. The message conveyed the actor’s treatment abroad and the promise of returning to fulfill his commitments once healed. With this assurance, Tinnu Anand could breathe again. The film’s journey was far from over, and the triumphant completion of ‘Shahenshah’ became a testament to Amitabh Bachchan’s resilience and determination.

From Struggle to Triumph: ‘Shahenshah’ – A Cinematic Landmark

‘Shahenshah,’ a film that almost fell victim to adversity, not only overcame the odds but also soared to greatness. Earning 12 crores in 1988, it clinched the spot of the third-highest grossing film of the year. The film stands not only as a cinematic gem but also as a testament to Amitabh Bachchan’s indomitable spirit and Tinnu Anand’s unwavering dedication.

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