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Big B is bigger than Bond

He joins the ranks of Nelson Mandela, FIFA boss Joseph S Blatter and Paula Radcliffe, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 03:38 IST
Vijay Dutt

"What Sean Connery is to James Bond, Amitabh Bachchan is to Bollywood," gushed Ted Cassidy of De Montfort University.

Leicester would disagree. For the city which turned out in full strength to watch the university confer a doctorate on Bachchan, the Big B is bigger than Bond.

Which is why a function presided over by a saint revered by the Gujarati community turned into a “Let's catch Bachchan” affair with over 9,000 people thronging the hall. Which is why the Bollywood megastar had 10 events packed into his 10-hour visit to the city.

Wednesday clearly was Dr B’s day for Leicester -- where Asians are predicted to overtake the white population within a decade.

Bachchan was conferred the honorary doctorate for services to Arts at a convocation attended by over 1000 people.

He joined the ranks of Nelson Mandela, the former South African President, Lord Falconer, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Joseph S Blatter, President FIFA since 1998 and Paula Radcliffe, considered the greatest female distance runner ever in receiving the award.

Accompanied by host local MP Keith Vaz and SP leader Amar Singh, Bachchan met a select number of  guests at a special hall where £2001 was raised for the victims of the Mumbai blasts.

In London, MPs known for their stiff-upper lips, threw a warm welcome. An early day motion was moved in the House of Commons to place on the House record its congratulations to "Dr" Bachchan.

A dinner at the House of Commons with ministers and parliamentarians was also scheduled -- and an invite to the do being most sought after in London's chatterati. Big B was also scheduled to be photographed "with" the Big Ben.