By- Aarti Kapur Singh
Even as he prepares to join the Dhoom franchise, the fourth film in the series, Aarti Kapur Singh discovers Amitabh Bachchan’s love for hot wheels on his 74th birthday
His wardrobe includes Giorgio Armani jackets, bespoke Dolce & Gabbana suits and a watch collection boasting of Bvlgari, Longines, Omega and Cartier. Mont Blanc is known to gift him a special edition-writing instrument for his birthday every year.
Amitabh Bachchan is also a serious fan of four-wheeled luxuries. It was perhaps senior Bachchan’s fetish for smooth drives that prompted Vidhu Vinod Chopra to foot the bill for his Rs 3 crore Rolls Royce Phantom. But it is only one of the eleven cars he owns.
In his garages stand three Mercedes, a Porsche Cayenne, a Murcie LP 640, two BMWs, a RR Vogue and a Bentley.
What car do you drive?
AB: If I am on my own, I love to drive my Lexus. I feel it is a powerful car and I have been lucky to be able to afford it and its maintenance. Another interesting feature that the car has is global positioning system. This system helps me to locate the closest food outlet or shopping mall in the area that I am.
What did you drive the first time and how old were you?
AB:I must have been a toddler when I had my tricycle.
What was the first car that you bought for yourself?
AB: A second-hand Fiat was my first car and I bought it in Calcutta when I was earning Rs 500 a month. And believe me, it was my biggest luxury then. My first luxury car was a Pontiac Tempest.
What does driving mean to you?
AB: When Mumbai was not so crowded, I used to love the Marine Drive – also since I spent many nights as a struggler there. Now, driving is a pain. However, driving Aaradhya around is rather joyful. I don’t need music in the car with her humming all the while.
What’s been your favorite road trip ever?
AB: I think the Bombay to Goa stretch is rather good. I am fond of it for purely emotional reasons too – my first movie, as a lead actor was Bombay to Goa. As a child, I also used to love traversing the geography of Nainital around Sherwood College, my alma mater.
Do you prefer being driven to driving?
AB: Who wouldn’t in today’s traffic and chaotic roads? But like I said I feel like a little kid with Aaradhya when I drive her in the Mini Cooper. That is utterly enjoyable.
What kind of music do you listen to while driving?
AB: That depends on what kind of music I want to listen to at that particular point of time. It could be Hanuman Chalisa one day or Aretha Franklin on another or Mohammad Rafi. Usually I listen to classic pop while coming back from the gym.
Favorite color for a car?
AB: Indubitably white – most of my cars are that color – but it needs maintenance.
Your next car will be?
AB: It isn’t good to be greedy and wanting. Today’s car manufacturers come up with new gizmos all the time. Today I want something, tomorrow somebody will better that. So now I just admire and buy only if I really want.