In a startling revelation, Indira Gandhi’s political adviser, Makhan Lal Fotedar has stated that Amitabh Bachchan’s miraculous recovery after his near fatal accident on the sets of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie took place due to divine intervention invoked through prayers and rituals that were ordered by the former Prime Minister in August, 1982. An amulet, wrapped in a white cloth from a holy man, Deveraha Baba was placed under the actor’s pillow when he was showing no signs of recovery as pundits performed puja elsewhere.
Amitabh Bachchan himself has thanked many of his fans, who prayed for him during his illness when he was showing no signs of recovery and has singled out Dr Wadia of Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai who pumped in about 40 cortisone injections to revive him, when all seemed to be lost. However, the actor has never acknowledged Indira Gandhi’s role in his recuperation.
However, Fotedar in his memoirs, The Chinar Leaves has disclosed that Indira and Rajiv Gandhi were both abroad and they returned to India a day ahead of their scheduled arrival to visit Bachchan. Bachchan’s condition was precarious. Indira Gandhi was extremely worried about the actor, who had grown up with her sons Rajiv and Sanjay. The day after her return, she called Fotedar and directed, “Send Harsukh Pandit to the hospital. Some puja has to be performed for Amitabh’s health and well being.” Fotedar writes, “The next day Justice Masodkar came to see me. That very day, Indiraji received an Amulet wrapped in a white cloth from a Holy Man, Baba Deveraha, through Raja Dinesh Singh. She gave me the talisman and Prasad to be given to Justice Masodkar, who would hand it over to Harsukh Pandit. Just wait, she told me and brought something in her closed right fist. She told me to open the cloth and quietly put it inside and sealed it and remarked, ‘I am keeping this for Amitabh to survive, otherwise Rajiv will feel lonely’, she said.”
This prasad had to be kept near Bachchan’s pillow. The puja took 10 days to be completed. As it happened, Bachchan recovered gradually. She gave instructions that the things kept near Bachchan’s pillow during the puja should be immersed in the Arabian Sea on the same day. This was communicated to Justice Masodkar, who conveyed the message to Harsukh Pandit.
“Harsukh Pandit passed away some time later. I accompanied Indiraji to his house where she paid floral tributes to him,” Fotedar has written in the book.