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Saturday, 16 June 2007

image for BAFTA glory weekend for Amitabh Bachchan
Bachchan in one of his legendary award-winning roles

London - (Ass Mess): It's London's turn to go Bolly-mad this weekend as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts hosts an Amitabh Bachchan spectacular retrospective to honor the Indian megastar's stellar career.

"This is an absolute one-off to celebrate Bachchan's extraordinary talent," a BAFTA source said today ahead of the two day festival in central London's BAFTA HQ.

"We want to recognise Bachchan for being to Bollywood what Sean Connery has been to the British movie industry in his own stellar career as the original 007 James Bond and later in a multitude of award-winning roles."

Last week Bachchan was guest of honor at the International Indian Film Academy awards festival in Sheffield where he was feted by the Bollywood industry for a lifetime of entertainment achievement.

And now it's the British movie industry's turn to pull out the red carpet and send the corks popping in celebration of a unique superstar who has tantalised his audiences with performances in classics such as Sholay (Flames of the Sun, 1975), Black (2005), Everlasting Light (2005), Follow That Star (1989), Silsila (The Affair, 1989), Eklavya (The Royal Guard, 2007) and Nishabd (Silence, 2007).

Bachchan is rumored to be staying at the glitzy Ritz Hotel in central London's Mayfair and has been seen strolling early in the mornings in the nearby St James's royal park where he expressed surprise to reporters at his low-profile cover being blown when he was recognised yesterday:

"In India I can't just walk out into the streets without being mobbed by fans," he said in a rare pre-BAFTA festival interview.

"Here in London it's always a relief that fewer people actually recognise me. It means I can just enjoy a bit of privacy in the sunshine without the need for my customary two dozen minders.

"How do I feel to be compared to your Sean Connery?

"Well it's a very nice compliment and totally unexpected of course.

"Not even my own publicist has ever come up with that one for me!"

"Connery if of course an international superstar whose contribution to the British film industry has been stratospheric.

"My own career in Bollywood is perhaps similar in its own inimicable way.

"And for BAFTA to honor me here in London this weekend has to be a lifetime's crowning moment.

"I have even heard that my personal autographs have now broken through the $10,000 barrier which for any movie star is of course an achievement.

"I don't know what Connery's own autograph might fetch at a Sotheby's or Christie's auction, I've heard it's somewhere in the region of ten to fifteen thousand pounds. About the same as Tom Cruise or Paul Newman.

"Of course I'd be delighted to autograph The Spoof reporter's note book! Now what dedication would you like me to include?"

A very limited number of complimentary press tickets are still available for the weekend jamboree which will be screened on UK TV as well as on international satellite coverage around the world.

And Bachchan's plans for next week?

"I am very pleased to confirm that I have accepted her Majesty the Queen's invitation to join her in the Royal Box at the Royal Ascot race meeting this week.

"And I hope to be backing royal winners throughout the racing week while I'm on such a spectacular roll."

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