The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bhojpuri title for Big B

Mumbai, Nov. 19: Amitabh Bachchan ' Bhojpuri king'

The latest title that Amitabh Bachchan has earned is that of 'Bhojpuri Samrat'. It has him playing the part of the Uttar Pradeshi chhora Ganga kinarewala ' who is a figurehead of his community here ' to the hilt.

After being crowned king of Bollywood in real life, and of so many territories on celluloid, Bhojpuri Samrat may not be the most glamorous title. But Bachchan had no qualms about accepting it yesterday at one of Mumbai's most crowded events every year, the Chhat Puja on Juhu beach, because he said he was glad to be reminded of the place where he comes from.

'Mera garv hai ki mera janm Uttar Pradesh ki pavan bhumi me hua (I am proud that I was born in Uttar Pradesh),' Bachchan told a crowd at the puja, which was attended by 5 lakh people.

Bachchan, whose family is from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, also let his preference for his mother tongue override his obvious political affiliations. While the actor is close to the Samajwadi Party top leadership, he accepted the trophy that carried the legend Bhojpuri Samrat from the hands of Sanjay Nirupam, Shiv Sena MP. The puja, organised by the Chhat Puja Samnyay Samiti and the Bihari Front and in its sixth year, is the brainchild of Nirupam, who hails from Bihar.

Previous Hindi-speaking celebrities honoured at the puja include Shatrughan Sinha, Govinda and Shekhar Suman. 'We wanted the biggest star from our community to be honoured at our biggest festival,' said Nirupam.

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