Amitabh signed documents to perform tracheostomy on Amjad, recalls Shehla Khan


Shehla Khan, the wife of late actor Amjad Khan, has recalled the time when her husband met with an accident ahead of the shooting of The Great Gambler (1979) and needed surgery. In a new interview, she said that actor Amitabh Bachchan had then given his signature in hospital documents for the doctors to perform a tracheostomy on Amjad. Shehla said that Amitabh 'must have been nervous' as nobody was sure if Amjad would make it. Amjad's wife said the accident took place at Sawantwadi, near Goa, when she was six months pregnant with their daughter Ahlam. Her face smashed and her bones were broken, she said. While her right hand was in a sling, her left hand was out of the socket. As of Amjad, 13 of his ribs and also his femur bone were broken. The steering wheel had ruptured his lung after penetrating his chest. He was gasping for breath and also had internal bleeding. Shehla said that Amjad was 'more worried' about her and losing their child.

In an interview with Pinkvilla, Shehla Khan "A mob had gathered outside the hospital in Sawantwadi. 'Gabbar Singh ko bahar lao (Bring Gabbar Singh outside)' they kept saying. The doctors sent us to Panjim or else the crowd would have pulled down the hospital. He had to be operated in Goa and that’s when Amitji (Bachchan) gave his signature for the doctors to proceed with the tracheostomy (a surgical procedure to ease breathing)." She added, "Amjad and Amitji shared a close bond. Amitji must have been nervous because no one knew whether the man was going to make it or not. He was surprised when Amjad wrote down the term ‘tracheostomy’ on a piece of paper, gesturing to Amitji if he would be undergoing it. In fact, even in that condition, he spelled the complicated word correctly. Soon, we chartered a flight to Mumbai. We stayed in Nanavati Hospital for three months."

The Great Gambler is a crime-action film directed by Shakti Samanta. Apart from Amitabh and Amjad, the film also featured Zeenat Aman, Neetu Singh, and Prem Chopra. It was based on the Bengali novel Great Gambler by Vikramaditya. In the film, Amjad was initially cast for the role of Mr Saxena but was unable to continue due to the accident. He was replaced by Utpal Dutt.

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