When Amar Singh helped Amitabh Bachchan revive his 'bankrupt' company
New Delhi | Rakesh Jha: Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh passed away in Singapore on Saturday. Singh was undergoing treatment in Singapore over the last seven months, had earlier undergone a kidney transplant. Condolences and tributes have poured in from politicians cutting across the political circles for the veteran politician. One of the highlights of Amar Singh's life was his tumultuous relationship with Amitabh Bachchan. In the last few years, their relationship went a downward spiral after Singh made a spate of stinging remarks against the Bachchan family. Though, the Rajya Sabha MP regretted his remark in a video that he posted in February. He said, given that he’s on his “death bed”, he regrets his “overreaction against Amit ji & family”.
Amar Singh's association with Amitabh Bachchan goes back to the 90s. In 1995, Amitabh Bachchan ventured into business with the launch of ABCL. The company was formed with an aim to bring together every aspect of film business under one roof. It included film production and distribution, selling music rights, TV production and event management. It was marred by some ridiculous management decisions and a series of flops like Sazaa-E-Kalapaani, Naam Kya Hai and Bacchan's very own Mrityudaata. However, ABCL's decision to conduct Miss World beauty pageant tuned out to be a big debacle. The event management arm of the corporation, oversaw the contest and it was a success as well. However, the event was financially backbreaking, ABCL booked a loss of over Rs 70 million for that one night's work itself. And to make matters worse, the pageant demanded a fee of $2 million and combined with other costs, the bill ended up being $5 million. The Indian Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction declared ABCL a 'sick' company and it found itself steeped in about Rs 90 crore in debt. With his film career already in doldrums, Bachchan was hounded by creditors. It was at this time Amar Singh lent a helping hand to Bachchan and supported him in getting ABCL back on its feet. In 2003, ABCL was renamed as AB Corp with Singh given the role of vice-chairman of the company.
During the relaunch of AB Corp, Bachchan was effusive in his praise for Singh and called him a pillar of strength. "I am very fortunate that I have a younger brother like him. He gave his hand to me in that trouble and introduced me to the Managing Worker of Sahara Group Subrata Roy and industrialist Anil Ambani. They joined hands not to put money, but they gave me moral support and strength," he had said, according to a report in rediff.com.
In 2004, Bachchan’s wife and noted actor Jaya Bachchan began her political career with active support from Singh. She became a Rajya Sabha member with the Samajwadi Party, a position she has held ever since. Their relation, however, soured after Sing's expulsion from Samajwadi Party in 2010. Jaya's decision to stay with the party apparently irked him. The final straw in their relationship was when the Bachchans didn’t visit him even when Singh was languishing in Jail. But the actor only came once he was granted bail but Singh was not impressed.
"...Bachchan only came after I was granted bail and was in hospital. I was very cold and formal with him because he waited...," Singh was quoted as saying in the book India's Most Famous, written by Sunetra Choudhury.
Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha