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02 December 2023

Amitabh Bachchan hopes for peace in Egypt

Films such as 'The Great Gambler' (1979) and 'Mard' (1985) endeared Amitabh Bachchan to Egyptian audiences (FILE)

By Keith J Fernandez

With Egyptians continuing to take to the streets in protest against President Hosni Mubarak, Amitabh Bachchan is among those riveted to their television sets.

Writing from the central Indian city of Bhoal, Bachchan said: "I see incredible scenes of violence and disruption on television about what is happening in Egypt and in particular in Cairo and feel so sad that this beautiful country and city and its warm and hospitable people should all come to such condition," he said in a post on his blog this weekend.

"There are many visitors from India that go across on holidays to this land of the pyramids and come back with such glorious stories of the association the Egyptians still have for me and I am touched and feel so blessed. And so it saddens me even more to see the anger and discomfort that they go through now and I hope fervently that it all comes to an end soon and in peace."

The Bollywood legend also spoke of the happy times he spent in the North African country. "All my visits there have been so memorable and full of so many happy times. When shooting in Cairo for 'The Great Gambler' in 1975, they did not know anything about Indian films and actors. On the streets, if India was mentioned it was always 'Nehru' - their known association with him and their own president (Gamal Abdel) Nasser and the relationship that they enjoyed... Those events and that visit shall always remain imprinted on the sands of time in my life eternally," he said, describing how his popularity in Egypt was a source of comfort in low moments.

"Something between the 'Great Gambler' shoot and 'Mard', which was a colossal success in Egypt in particular, had changed the perception of Indian cinema in this historic land and I had fortunately become the receiver of the love and affection that they had been holding on to for so many years. Those visuals of the tapes that were recorded are my great source of upliftment whenever I am down and depressed. The warmth, the affection, the love and care, the respect that they gave was so so overwhelming that it shall be difficult for me to describe it.," he said.