The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bound for home, at ‘holy’ hour
- Amitabh advised a week’s rest, fans throng Jalsa

Mumbai, Dec. 17: Amitabh Bachchan, who underwent an operation for jejunal diverticulitis, was discharged from Lilavati Hospital today. He had been hospitalised for 19 days.

Hospital spokesperson Dr Narendra Trivedi said the actor has been advised a week’s bed rest and asked to resume his normal activities gradually.

Back home, he will be under the care of family physician Dr Jayant Bharve.

Doctors had said he had recovered fully last week. But Bachchan, who is spiritually inclined, was apparently waiting for an auspicious hour (11.11 am) to be released.

A huge crowd greeted him when he emerged smiling from the lobby of the hospital, wearing a dazzling white kurta-pyjama and white sandals. His son Abhishek, equally brightly dressed in a Superman T-shirt, stood by him. Bachchan greeted the reporters and fans gathered at the hospital with folded hands.

He left the hospital premises at 11.11 am in a white Range Rover, accompanied by Abhishek and daughter Shweta. His close friends, industrialists Anil Ambani and Subroto Roy and politician Amar Singh also accompanied him in a convoy of cars.

The actor first met his mother at one of his two Juhu residences, Prateeksha. After a long meeting, he left for Jalsa, his other residence.

Lilavati Hospital had been turned into a fortress by the police, with a long stretch of road leading up to the hospital barricaded to stop the crowds. Last night, the hospital had also carried out a rehearsal for Bachchan’s release. There was tight security outside Bachchan’s residences as well.

Hundreds of fans from all over the country had turned up at the hospital and his two residences. Some young men from Uttar Pradesh, who had travelled to Shirdi for the Sai Baba’s blessings, had brought prasad for Bachchan.

At Jalsa, a Sachin Tendulkar look-alike, who is also a Bachchan fan, entertained crowds by singing the actor’s songs.

Although Bachchan’s film Ek Ajnabee, which released last week, hasn’t fared too well at the box office, the actor has the December 23 release of his home production, significantly called The Family, to look forward to.

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