Bollywood actor Jeetendra was one of the top stars of his era and the actor would frequently appear in south films as well. In many of his interviews, the actor has shared that sometimes, he would live in the south for months on end and his wife Shobha would bring kids Ekta Kapoor and Tusshar Kapoor to meet him during the weekends. In 1976, Jeetendra was supposed to leave on one of his scheduled trips to Chennai but his wife stopped him.
During his appearance on The Kapil Sharma Show, Jeetendra recalled the incident when he was saved from the 1976 Indian Airlines flight crash where 96 people died. Jeetendra said that his flight was scheduled for 7 pm but when he reached the airport, he found that the flight was delayed by two hours. The day also happened to be Karva Chauth so he thought that he could go back home and help his wife in completing the ritual of the fast.
He recalled, “Maine phir Shobha ko ghar pe phone kiya. Maine kaha flight delayed hai, abhi jaa rahi hai 8.30-9 baje. Chand nikal raha hai ki nahi nikal raha hai dekh lo, khatam kar lete hai kissa (I called Shobha and told her that my flight was delayed by two hours. I told her I could be home for the moonrise so she could complete the Karwa Chauth ritual).”
Jeetendra reached home but his wife was still waiting for the moonrise so she wouldn’t let him leave for the airport again. Jeetendra recalled that he went into his balcony and saw a ball of fire head towards the ground. “Mere balcony se dekhta hoon ek aag ka gola aise aise jaa raha hai (From my balcony, I could see a ball of fire in the sky). It went towards the airport and…,” he said.
The Himmatwala actor recalled that a few hours later, his phone was ringing off the hook as everyone who knew was calling to check on him. “My ticket is there, I am supposed to go, that flight crashed,” he said. The Indian Airlines Flight 171 headed from Mumbai to Chennai turned around towards the airport soon after taking off, and the subsequent plane crash had 96 fatalities. One of Jeetendra’s co-stars Rani Chandra died in the plane crash.