Amitabh and Covid Discussion Space

Thank you alert readers, while I was out on the sailboat with my dad, big BIG news dropped in India and you were on top of it and let me know.

Amitabh just tweeted:

Followed by Abhishek confirming and saying he is also hospitalized and the rest of the family is being tested:

This is it in terms of news, his announcement is the only confirmed fact, anything else you may hear is rumor.

But there are a few random things that occur to me as related discussion topics which I have been considering for days now.

With India being in lockdown, I have been wondering if that means the households designed to have staff are somehow struggling along without them, or if that means the more highly staffed households might actually be in more danger as even the bare minimum of daily workers is still a lot. It’s something I think about a lot personally, my 98 year old grandfather has three home helpers who give him round the clock care in 3 shifts. So while my fairly healthy household was having contact with literally no one for weeks, Grandpa was having close contact with three people, all of whom had to travel to him on public transit and so on. But it’s the balance of risk, canceling his staff could kill him within days just from the exertion of trying to get dressed without help. Keeping the staff going meant his risk of infection was far higher, but there was still a chance he could stay clean. By the way, so far (knock on wood) the gamble has been worth it, none of his helpers have been infected and in fact only 12 workers in his whole complex (hundreds of people coming in every day) have been infected.

And there’s Amitabh. I am sure his household requires staff, not just in a “it makes life more pleasant” kind of way, but a real “we cannot serve food or have clean clothes or keep the dust levels down so as to prevent chest infection without staff” kind of way. We’ve been hearing this all along, movie star households where one staff member or the other tested positive. And I’ve been thinking it must be very common for everyone at that level of society in countries where household workers are the norm, in fact the rich might be at more risk in a strange way because of it.

Amitabh Bachchan's House - Photos, Area, Interior, Address & More ...
This is a lovely house and a lovely yard and I can’t see how it can function without yard workers and cleaners and everyone else. Can you?

Other thing I’ve been thinking about, is the way the film industry functions and how work works, as it were. Filming is shut down, sure. But any kind of work would require contact, reading lines with co-stars, meeting with directors, and so on. I suppose there are loads of other industries with a similar balance of in person versus virtual kind of work. With Amitabh in particular, we know he has not just an enormous work ethic, but a liking for what he does. He could have retired, I don’t know, 10 years ago? At the very least, he could have slowed down. But instead he works harder and works more than actors a third his age. It must be for the joy of it. I don’t imagine he was taking crazy risks, he’s too smart for that, but I think he was likely one of the many older at risk folks that we all know who was so miserable being trapped without work that he maybe pushed himself more than his family would wish.

And finally, just to remind us of the risk factors and depress us all, in 1982 Amitabh had a massive accident on set in which his internal organs were injured and he was near death. He survived, but lost most of his liver function. He also contracted Hepatitis B from the blood transfusions that saved his life. After all of this, and unrelated, he was diagnosed with the nerve disorder Myasthenia Gravis. Myasthenia Gravis, luckily, has various treatments and can be managed without affecting life expectancy or quality of life. It causes drooping muscles in the eyes and face, and suddenly muscular fatigue in the legs and arms. One of those things you just learn to live with, you take your pills and see your doctor and know you will have good days and bad days. I believe it is this disorder that is most often at fault when co-stars talk about Amitabh coming into work “sick” and visibly struggling on set, or when he suddenly cancels commitments.

So he is 77 years old, has only a quarter of a liver, is living with Hepatitis B, and has a nerve disorder that can affect your ability to breath. A lot of risk factors there.

On the other hand, setting aside all his long term conditions, he is in excellent health, much discussion of his energy and agility and ability and so on. He will also receive the best medical care, and (equally if not more important) will be surrounded by a family who loves him and will give him much to live for.

Amitabh Bachchan loves watching his films with his entire family ...

32 thoughts on “Amitabh and Covid Discussion Space

  1. Well, I just read that he’s ok, some breathlessness but of course it could turn bad very fast because of his age and health issues. However I don’t think there’s any official status report yet, at least not reliable.
    I was thinking how difficult it must have been for him, used to working a lot, to suddendly having to slow down and with all the restrictions in place. And then, like you wrote the risk is high when you have ppl who work in your house and who have to come and go.
    I really hope he will pull through. I was also thinking about Jaya being somewhere else and how she must be dealing with this situation.

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    • I hope Jaya is home. But then, even if she is home, if she tests negative she probably can’t visit him in the hospital. My uncle had a minor heart issue a few weeks back, and a large part of the stress around it was that my aunt wasn’t even allowed in the hospital to see him, he just went off and disappeared into nothing. If Jaya tests negative, I am sure her family will insist on her staying home and not seeing Amitabh until he is fully clean. How hard for her!

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      • @Kainaat wrote that she’s home. And I agree with you, it is very hard for family members because they can’t be with their loved ones. And I assume for Jaya staying put won’t be easy.

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    • I was wondering about that too. It could just be celebrity? Easier to treat and control media in a hospital? Or pure kindness, if abhishek is positive already then it would be nice for him to stay with his Dad?

      Liked by 1 person

        • In the nicer hospitals they have those nice couch/beds in icu rooms so families can stay. It would be nice if that is all it is, he’s positive so he can sleep in the same room as his Dad.

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          • In the Co-vid wards in India absolutely no family is being allowed anywhere near the patient, so hopefully the hospital isn’t tweaking that rule for celebrities.

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          • I was thinking they might be tweaking that rule for everyone if a family member also tests positive, so the two related people can be in the same room.

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    • Thanks. I meant, since they are both there, he might be able to be in the same room. But I understand what you’re saying.

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      • Yes, here is the Abhishek statement:

        On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 4:59 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

        >

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s been a lot of confusion about testing so as a little PSA, there are two tests. One is a blood test for antibodies which only tells you whether you’ve been exposed to coronavirus in the past. And then there’s the acute test which is a swab in the nose and tells you whether you have an active infection. You can test negative on antibodies and positive on the swab test if you are in the early stages of infection. That’s apparently what happened with Aishwarya and her daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes logical sense, anti-bodies are “anti” something, so your body would need to be attacked first before they have time to martial their forces for a defense.

      On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 8:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  3. Anupam Kher’s mother, brother, SIL and niece all positive. His mother is in the hospital.

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  4. It’s all just sad, if I’m being honest. I was at a party when my friend texted me about Amitabh and Abhishek, and I was out again today when they released about Aishwarya and Aaradhya. My sister even knew about it, who doesn’t follow Indian film at all but saw it trending on Twitter, that’s how big this story is. I don’t know, there’s been so much stuff in pop culture that’s just putting me in such a funk lately, which sucks because pop culture is supposed to be the escape from the real world.

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    • I am surprisingly not sad, I think because I really don’t believe anything will happen to Amitabh. He seems so Big somehow, I can’t imagine him being brought down. I know that is probably false reasoning, but it makes me feel happy, so why not?

      On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 7:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rekha’s security guard and two helpers have tested positive. Rekha herself is apparently refusing to take a test. Normally, I don’t take Indian news seriously but they have videos of the city’s BMC team at Rekha’s house putting up quarantine zone posters on her gate and sanitizing the area. The reporter speaks to one of the people there and they said that it’s a city requirement that Rekha, Farzana and 3 staff members who live with them all get tested and they have visited 3 times but are getting no response from her. The first time, they were told that Rekha will only speak to them on the phone. They left and called her on the phone but she refused to talk. After that they have come back to her house 2 more times to try to reach her and convince her that she has to get tested.

    Here’s the video:

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    • That doesn’t seem terribly surprising to me. Rekha has said in interviews for years that NO ONE is allowed in her home, she keeps it as a private sanctuary. All that might be happening is an agoraphobia related panic over having strangers enter her home.

      Just spitballing in the comments where we can speculate and gossip, she also might be terrified of strangers entering their home and seeing the clear evidence that she and Farzana are a couple, and what that might bring down upon them.

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      • You know, I find it quite interesting to read how ppl are gossiping about Rekha and Amitabh, again. Twitter is all about ppl making fun of the whole situation and tbh makes me question if ppl forgot how to be empathetic or the disregard for JB and AB is so big.
        I don’t understand why Rekha would be refusing to take a test, however I can see your argument Margaret, as very plausible.
        I assume she can still say she’s not showing any symptoms and therefore she can refuse. But I don’t know if that the responsible approach.

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    • Yeah, none of this surprises me. Honestly, I was shocked that India’s infection rate didn’t rise much higher much sooner. I’ve been assuming it is at least double the reported figures because there are so many people who wouldn’t be included in any tally. If you live in an illegal dwelling, and work an under the table job, and healthcare is impossible, who is going to report you? Where would you even be listed for the authorities to check on you? And Bombay is filled with such people.

      I did a post recently on invisible classism and one of my examples was “Indian Medical care is affordable by anyone” as an invisibly classist statement. India is filled with private FOR PROFIT hospitals. And the party line (as in, the line you say at cocktail parties) is that medical care in the hospitals is so cheap, so much better than in the West where it is so expensive, so high quality, and so on and so forth. And it is far cheaper than in the west. But that’s still far more expensive than a regular person can afford. The movies (my area) are a part of this. We hardly ever see folks at government hospitals, they are normalizing a vision of the world where medical care is of course only available if you can pay for it.

      Also not surprising, the film stars are being called out and hung out to dry as a symbol of all that is wrong. Sure, Amitabh is getting better care than a poor person would, and that is wrong. But that doesn’t mean he should get bad care, it means the poor person should also get good care!!!!! This wealth disparity in medical care affects a lot of people, but of course it is the movie star who is used as an example, a sacrificial goat to shield and hide the wealthy and powerful who benefit even more from the systems they themselves created. If I am poor and dying for lack of medical care, Amitabh Bachchan has nothing to do with that. The Health Minister for my state DOES. Where is his article? What is his name even? Why are we saying “oh the brave and noble and hardworking BMC, BOOO Amitabh is killing the slum dwellers”? How does that make SENSE?

      On Tue, Jul 14, 2020 at 7:04 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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      • So more accurately, PRIVATE healthcare is
        expensive in India, there is a parallel PUBLIC healthcare system which is virtually free, but whose quality may vary, especially in terms of overcrowding and hygiene standards, even from hospital to hospital.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And the long term issue I’ve have seen for years is that rather than focus on the issues with the public healthcare system, there has been a a push towards talking up the perceived excellence of the private healthcare system. I’ve seen so many movies about the evils of private healthcare, which is important, but they don’t do the flipside of saying “and also there shouldn’t even be a private healthcare system, we should focus on improving the public healthcare system”. Same with schools actually, so many movies focused on the private school experience, no one talks about government schools and their issues.

          Like

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