Megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to his fans for playing an integral role in his long and often tumultuous life and career after he was felicitated at the opening ceremony of the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI). The 77-year-old actor, who was the guest of honour at the golden jubilee edition of the movie gala, was greeted with loud cheers as he took the stage at the event.
On the stage honouring Bachchan were superstar Rajinikanth, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. He began his address with the phrase "Deviyon aur sajjanon", reminiscent of his hosting stint on quiz game show, "Kaun Banega Crorepati".
"I want to thank you, my janta (public). You have supported me through all my ups and downs. I have always said this, that it's to you whom I am most indebted. I will never be able to repay that debt and I don't even want to. I want to keep this love with me forever," an emotional Bachchan, who completed 50 years in Indian cinema this year, said.
He remembered his parents and people who have contributed to his cinematic journey. "I thank you for inviting me to this ceremony and bestowing such a great honour upon me. This is due to the blessings of my parents, and the contribution of directors, writers, music directors and producers why I am standing before you."
The actor also thanked governments of India and Goa, and "my friend and co-star" Rajinikanth. Bachchan said Rajinikanth, with whom he has acted in films such as Hum, Andhaa Kanoon and Geraftaar, said he considers the South star as family.
"There is always this bickering between us... There are times when I give him some advice and then there are days, when he suggests something to me. Though, we never follow each other's advice. "I feel that relationships are about all of this. Sometimes I tell him not to do something but he goes ahead and does that. Sometimes he tells me not to do something but I go ahead and do it."
Bachchan also thanked Rajinikanth for being an "incredible source of inspiration". "He is such a humble human being, came up from such humble beginnings. It is incredible that we have him here with us today. He is inspiring us everyday and every night," he added. Earlier in the evening, Bachchan presented Rajinikanth with Special Icon of Golden Jubilee award, who in turn called the actor his "inspiration".
In September this year, the actor was named the Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient for the year 2018 for his contribution to the Indian film industry. The award is named after the Father of Indian cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, and is considered the highest honour for an artiste in Indian cinema.
At IFFI, a selected set of Bachchan's films, including "Sholay", will be showcased as part of a retrospective. "I have no words to express my gratitude to IFFI for honouring me today and for also having a retrospective of my films which should be starting tomorrow. I'm very grateful that you have chosen me and my films for this. I hope I'll see some of you there," he added. IFFI runs through November 20-28.