Raj didn’t get invite to Abhi-Ash wedding
MUMBAI: MNS president Raj Thackeray is now drawing flak for targeting Amitabh Bachchan. But few know that he was a great fan of Bachchan until last year.
“Raj’s affection for Amitabh goes back to his college days, when he was studying at the JJ School of Arts,” said a source who is close to the MNS chief.
“He was a diehard fan of Bachchan. He used to keep Amitabh and Jaya’s photograph on his table. He would tell me how Bachchan was the pride of India. Apart from his uncle, Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray, Bachchan was the only person who was close to Raj’s heart.”
The source said Raj Thackeray named his son Amit because of his respect for Bachchan.
His love for the superstar kept growing as he came closer to Bachchan when he was in the Shiv Sena. “In those days, it was an unwritten rule that whenever Raj would organise a big function, Bachchan would be the chief guest,” the source said.
The source claimed that the rift between Raj and Bachchan started after the latter’s son Abhishek’s wedding with Aishwarya Rai in April last year.
“Bachchan invited Balasaheb for the wedding but not Raj, though he knew that Raj had parted ways from the Sena. Raj’s cousin and political rival Uddhav attended the wedding on behalf of Balasaheb. This upset Raj,” the source said.
Interestingly, in an interview to DNA on December 19 last year, Raj had sounded his “unhappiness” about Bachchan’s social contribution towards Mumbai. He said, “Bachchan spent most of his life and career in Mumbai. But when it came to contesting an election he preferred Uttar Pradesh. He endorsed Uttar Pradesh in his advertisements. It is sad.”
A senior Sena leader said, “Uddhav’s son Aditya’s debut music album was recently launched in Bandra by Balasaheb and Bachchan. It is possible that by this time Raj realised that Bachchan was closer to Uddhav’s family than his.”
Those were the days
1. Raj invited Bachchan to be the chief guest for the grand opening of his ‘Shiv Udyog Sena’ project in Pune in 1996. Bachchan attended the function for only five minutes.
2. Bachchan was one of the dignitaries present at the release of Raj’s photo-biography of Bal Thackeray at Gateway of India two years ago.
3. It was Raj who praised Bachchan when he was declared a farmer by the Uttar Pradesh government.