The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Big B in belly bother
Amitabh Bachchan leaving Escorts hospital. (PTI)

New Delhi, Nov. 28: It was the Big Bellyache and no one was taking any chances.

Amitabh Bachchan underwent a CT scan, ultrasonography and a battery of blood tests and spent the whole day at son-in-law Nikhil Nanda’s premier cardiac hospital, Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister flew in from Lucknow; Samajwadi Party heavyweight Amar Singh entrenched himself at the hospital and top Sahara executives kept dropping in.

Relatives of other patients jostled before the VIP arrival’s cabin door. They stole sneak peeks through a glass panel and took pictures, with their mobile phone cameras, of the big man and his family: son and Bollywood hunk Abhishek, wife and actor-turned-MP Jaya and daughter Shweta.

Outside, office-goers and passers-by, schoolchildren and their mothers laid siege to the gates, some anxious and some thrilled at the thought of being able to catch a glimpse of the star.

After 12 long hours, cardiologist and hospital executive director Dr Naresh Trehan emerged to tell the media “it was nothing serious' just an intestinal irritation. Doesn’t everyone have bellyaches'”

Then why was he rushed to Escorts, a speciality hospital for heart diseases' “He knows me,” Dr Trehan said. “He knows the doctors here, and we are the best hospital in this part of the world. It’s true ' I am serious.”

About half an hour later, the 63-year-old actor walked out slowly, wearing a red monkey cap and wrapped in a cream-coloured shawl. He was helped into a car by Abhishek.

The son said Bachchan “ate something that upset his stomach” at a function in Lucknow yesterday. “This morning, he complained of severe stomach pain.”

What had he eaten' Neither family nor Escorts would reveal that. However, Amar, who emerged around 3 pm, assured the media and fans that “he is fine, talking to everyone and drinking lots of nariyal paani and fruit juice”.

Mulayam Singh Yadav chided reporters: “You are making too big a deal out of it. It is nothing serious.”

It was certainly less serious than the critical abdominal injury Bachchan had suffered in 1982, during the height of his popularity, on the sets of Coolie. He was laid low for months as the whole nation prayed for his life and Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister, paid a visit.

Bachchan was tonight flown to Mumbai and admitted to Leelavati Hospital.

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