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When I arrived at the museum and met a couple who had driven up specially from Nottingham, anxiously waiting for our star to arrive, I knew it was going to be a good day.

On the second day of our celebrations of Indian cinema’s centenary, Jackie Shroff gave a live Q&A in front of an audience of BBC Asian Network listeners in Pictureville Cinema, interviewed by Noreen Khan.

Jackie Schroff on stage with Noreen Khan (BBC Asian Network)
Jackie Schroff on stage with Noreen Khan (BBC Asian Network)

Looking back on the thirty years since his first hit, Hero, you can see why he still causes so many hearts to flutter and brought people to Bradford from as far away as Walsall, Wellingborough and Wembley.

Utterly charming, managing to combine being laid-back with an irrepressible energy (you can’t get him to sit still for too long), Jackie demonstrates a genuine interest in the world around him, from the welfare of street kids to the global threat to the bee population.

His life story—born and raised in a slum in Mumbai but going on to star in a string of superhit movies—is worthy of a film in itself: discovered at a bus stop, with legends like Dev Anand and Shubash Ghai intervening to give him his breaks—and learning English from Clint Eastwood (admittedly, Clint was on screen at the time).

Jackie Schroff
Jackie Schroff on stage with Noreen Khan (BBC Asian Network)

After 13 (counted while I was being crushed up against the car) ‘last one’ photo opportunities with his fans outside the museum, we waved him off, feeling that we had met an extraordinarily generous and genuine man.

Catch our Bollywood Icons: 100 Years of Indian Cinema exhibition until 16 June 2013, and visit our Indian cinema-themed family festival this May half term (Saturday 25 May – Sunday 2 June 2013).

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