“Is Amitabh Bachchan an opportunist par excellence?”


Dr Kouser Fathima

First a superstar, then a farmer from Uttar Pradesh and now one of the Indians to feature in Panama leaks, Amitabh Bachchan is truly a global icon.

After his name was embroiled in Bofors case, senior Bachchan made a conscious effort to stay away from politics. However, it appears he smartly found a new haven for all the money to be stashed in overseas accounts and continued to play the role of good old man in public life.

Also Read | Amitabh Bachchan breaks his silence, says monies remitted overseas by him were legal

He was part of inner circle of Rajiv Gandhi, when he became the Prime minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. After his name got involved in the Bofors scandal and the death of Rajiv Gandhi, he became distant from the Gandhi family but his fondness for politicians didn’t cease.

His friendship with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh was never a secret. This special friendship made it easy for him to acquire 3 bighas of agricultural land in Uttar Pradesh and also apply for the status of farmer in 2007.

Though his claim was challenged in High Court in UP, he went on to buy agricultural land in Pune in Maharashtra. Only after the media sniffed the farmer story and made headlines, did Mr Bachchan decide to surrender the Pune agricultural land to its original owner.

Although his relations with both Amar Singh and Yadav family had deteriorated, it didn’t stop him from being declared a farmer in UP in 2010.

This time courtesy his new friends in BSP, he and his family purchased 14 acres of agricultural land in Kakori and were provided a Hybrid Seed programme in his land. The status of a farmer also made it easy for him to buy more agricultural land in Maharashtra.

And now his name has featured in the Panama leaks. Aishwarya Bachchan, his daughter-in-law, also features in the list.

It seems that even with the pssage of time Bachchan’s fondness for influential and powerful friends has not diminished. He is a regular in Ambani parties and is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of the ruling party. Recently, the news of him being potentially the next President of India was dominating the conversation on social media. We don’t know how far his name featuring in the Panama Papers leak will affect his chances of being the First Citizen of India.

One thing is for sure; the biggest superstar of Bollywood is no ordinary actor but man with varied interests both financially and socially – an opportunist par excellence.

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Editor’s Note: Amitabh Bachchan’s name featuring in Panama Papers leak doesn’t automatically make him an offender.