Singer and former ‘Bigg Boss’ contestant Anup Jalota says he was able to pull off the title role of the upcoming film Satya Sai Baba because he knew the late godman well.
“I met Satya Sai Baba for the first time 55 years ago. I was only 12 when I met him in Lucknow, and at that time he heard me and my father’s bhajans and blessed us. Since then, I was in touch with Baba. I visited his ashram in Puttaparthi several times to meet him. I had also met him in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Ooty. I think I have been able to do justice to this role because I knew him well. I am one of his followers, so I knew how he used to sit, walk, talk and interact with his followers, because I have seen him doing that all these years,” Jalota told IANS.
The 67-year-old singer also revealed that the late godman used to call him “Chhote Baba”.
“Whenever he used to meet me, he used to call me Chhote Baba. I would ask him why he called me by that name and he told me that one day you will realise that. Now, I realise why he used to call me Chhote Baba — I think because I was destined to play his role on screen,” said Jalota.
Satya Sai Baba was a guru and philanthropist, born into a Telugu-speaking Bhatraju family. At the age of 14, he claimed that he was the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, and left his home in order to serve society. He died in April 2001 at the age of 84.
Satya Sai Baba’s purported materialisation of vibhuti (holy ash) and other small objects such as rings, necklaces, and watches, along with reports of miraculous healings, resurrections, clairvoyance, and alleged omnipotence were a source of both fame and controversy. His acts were believed to be signs of divinity by his devotees.
The biographical drama is scheduled to release theatrically on January 22 in Hindi, English, Telugu and Marathi languages.
“I don’t think there is a bigger superstar than Satya Sai Baba. Now not many films are released in theatres but our film is releasing all over the country and the world. There are only 10 to 12 days left for the release of the film, and I feel fortunate that so many people are going to watch our film,” said Jalota.
“Last year, I worked in ‘Paatal Lok’ but there still are people who don’t know I can act as well. So, this is a good opportunity for me to show my acting skills apart from singing,” he added.
The film is directed by Vicky Ranawat and it also features Jackie Shroff, Sadhika Randhawa, Govind Namdev, Arun Bakshi, Sudhir Dalvi and Mushtaq Khan in key roles.