How deep & dark obsession can cut

ONE IS the late actress Parveen Babi, whose initial adoration for him later bordered on a dangerous obsession. In one of her more vulnerable moments, Babi accused Bachchan of promising her marriage and then going back on his word.

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Published: Tue 24 Apr 2007, 10:58 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:47 PM

But since Babi's fragile state of mind was well known by then, Bachchan managed to get away without much ado. Years later an actress almost 30 years his junior became obsessed with him.

The grapevine let drip that she even followed him to an outdoor location down south, refusing to budge till he gave her a personal audience.

Tactful man that he is, Bachchan reportedly arranged for a member of her family from Mumbai to fly down and escort her home. Once again, his reputation was not breached.

The fan can cause considerable wear and tear. And in India, the obsessed fan is as much part of a star's ensemble as his vanity van and secretary.

So when a visibly high-strung Jahnvi Kapoor showed up outside the formidably high-walled Prateeksha claiming she was the One, no one in the family gave her too much attention.

But the media, having been barred from the festivities and desperate for anyone who would provide some grist for the mill - whether it was an Abhishek double or a Jahnvi —gave her full play.

To anyone within earshot she repeated, 'But Aishwarya Rai took him away from me.' For the crowds who had arrived from all over the country - Bhopal, Indore, Kolkata and Uttar Pradesh - it was high drama.

They climbed into trees and hung precariously from the branches, held up posters of Amitabh Bachchan in his youth, and nimbly dodged the lathis that were being freely wielded to keep the growing crowd in check.

The sun was blazing down, but no one seemed to mind. The Indian film fan will go to any length to express his devotion.

From building temples —like the one for Amitabh Bachchan in Kolkata or the one for Khushboo in Trichy to rioting and burning public property at the funeral of Karnataka superstar Rajkumar in Bangalore, anything is possible.

As the Tamil superstar Kamal Hassan once said, 'For my fans, I'm never wrong. They clearly don't believe I could have feet of clay.'

Years ago Rajnikant's wife Latha cautioned this correspondent, 'Don't write anything uncomplimentary about my husband or his fans will burn down the copies.' She was joking.

But somewhere in the conversation was a good-natured warning. If anything derogatory was written about Rajnikant, more than copies would burn.

Letters written in blood proclaiming undying love are par for the course. But the blood spilt by Jahnvi's repeated and thankfully unsuccessful slashing at her wrists came as an unwanted reminder of how deep and dark an obsession can cut.

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