Bombay to Goa was the turning point in the trajectory of Amitabh Bachchan’s career as he set his foot firmly in the film industry and landed Zanjeer.
Bombay to Goa
The film Bombay to Goa, released in 1972, was a highly anticipated Mehmood comedy that the audience expected to be entertained from and anything more would have been considered cherry on top. Amitabh Bachchan was not the main force behind the appeal of the film since he was still to make his mark in the industry, and neither was Shatrughan Sinha. And just so happened that Salim-Javed watched the movie and found their ‘angry young man’ Vijay in Amitabh Bachchan.
The plot of the film revolves around a wealthy woman named Mala, played by Aruna Irani, who wishes to become a film star. Shatrughan Sinha plays a scheming villain who enters Mala’s life to scam her but is faced by another admirer played by Amitabh Bachchan. As the film progresses, Mala finds herself on a bus to Goa and the audience meets some eccentric set of characters who do not really add anything to the plotline other than comedy. Many scenes in the film might seem irrelevant to the story to today’s audience but it was the popular trend back then. Mehmood was a master at comic chops and thus the film did well with its comedy.
Amitabh Bachchan Discovered
The film was a hit among the audiences also due to the music which was given by RD Burman and the inclusion of the hit song, “Dekha Na Haaye Re”. Amitabh Bachchan in a pink floral shirt lip-syncing to Kishore Kumar’s voice was a sight to behold and a rather unusual sight for the audience that remembered him as the gloomy and grieving Babumoshai from Anand. Bombay to Goa gave Bachchan the opportunity to show all his charms-comedy, romance, action, and drama.
At the end of the movie, Big B engages in a massive fight sequence where he chews gum while fighting. In his blog, he credited the gum for landing the role of Vijay in Zanjeer. He said that the gum was the “indicator that I would be the right choice for Zanjeer” for Salim-Javed.
On the Famous Dance Number
Remembering the famous dance number in a conversation with Shekhar Suman on Movers and Shakers, Mehmood recalled Big B being teary-eyed before shooting the song. He was suffering from high fever that day and told Mehmood in tears, “Mujhse nahi hoga dance. Main nahi kar sakunga (I won’t be able to dance. I won’t be able to do it).” Mehmood consoled him, “Maine kaha dekho, jo aadmi chal sakta hai na, voh dance bhi kar sakta hai (I said one who can walk, can also dance).”
The shoot was resumed the next day and Mehmood told everyone on set to cheer for Big B, no matter how the shot went since he believed actors gained confidence through praises. The crew cheered when the first shot was done, even though it was less than okay and that gave Big B the confidence to complete the rest of the song like a star.
It is no exaggeration to say that Bombay to Goa was the steppingstone towards Big B’s stardom. The film holds a special place in Big B’s heart and though the film might seem all over the place to the audience of today, it is no doubt that this film gave Amitabh Bachchan his big break.