Clearly, Abhishek Bachchan needs no introduction. He is to the manor born and in his 12-year-long career, he has a body of work that automatically qualifies him as a pedigreed actor, and yes, even a superstar in his own right. Excerpts of an interview with Junior B:
One can see from the photograph that there’s two of you in ” Bol Bachchan”. How much fun was it?
If memory serves right, this is actually my first ever double role. I have done films in which I have had one character donning various avatars, like I did in “Bunty Aur Babli” (2005), in which I played a con man. But “BB” is the first bona fide double role that I have done. It was challenging.
Challenging? Why would you say that of what seems like an over-the-top comedy?
I have been very lucky that in a relatively short career of 12 years, I have had the opportunity to do some really interesting roles. “Yuva”, “Guru”, “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Paa”, “Raavan”, “Bluff Master” are just some of the names that come to mind immediately. I’m fortunate to have had many opportunities where I could depart from roles that people would normally not expect of me. “Bol Bachchan” is also one such opportunity. That is one of the reasons why I said yes to the film, because I knew it would be very exciting. I was fascinated that I would get to play two very different characters in the same film. I can’t name any actor who’ll say no to this film. The only place where I went wrong is that I thought I would have a breeze making this film. Instead, it turned out to be the most difficult film of my career.
Why do you say that?
I have to digress a bit before I actually answer your question. We have to understand, our film industry is very different to other film industries in the world. According to me, there is a certain amount of uniformity in the rest of the film industries; the kind of cinema they make. But our audience demands are diametrically different. In the Indian film industry, especially those of us who are in mainstream cinema, we invariably play a typical hero’s role. More often than not, we cater to the public perception. However, there is a latent desire in most actors to do a role where you can go all out and experiment. In England or America, actors do not have to cater to an image. In India, it is almost demanded of us. Very seldom do you get a film where you can walk away from your image. This film gave me the opportunity to break stereotypes (sighs).
Go on, admit you had fun doing it…
It was my most difficult film to date. You see, my approach to comedies is completely different from what Rohit Shetty had in mind. When I came on set, I came prepared to perform in a particular way. Rohit made me realise that there is a particular pitch and tone that is required for this kind of a film. We both agreed after much discussion that the approach I had brought in was incorrect. My style of comedy is more deadpan. My timing in comedy is slightly off and it suited a film like “Dostana“. However, for “BB”, a more physical kind of comedy was required. This, I learnt from Rohit. And after the “BB” experience, I doff my hat to evergreen comic greats like Mehmood saab, Johny (Lever) bhai, Asrani sir. One has to maintain an unbelievable level of energy to see a comic film like “BB” through.
Which of the twins was more demanding – Abhishek Bachchan or Abbas Ali?
Both Abhishek and Abbas Ali have unique characteristics. They couldn’t overlap in any which way. Keeping the divide was difficult. They are poles apart. They are not identical twins with similar traits. I have literally played two separate characters. If you must know, between Abhishek and Abbas, the most demanding was Rohit Shetty.
On a scale of one to 10, how would you rate your “BB” performance?
I’m dubbing the film now. I’d give my final performance a five. I’m very harsh with myself.
You’re with your dad again in the title track. From what one sees of the video, you are not nervous around him.
It is weird, but dad is the one co-star with whom I have done the maximum work. We’ve done “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Sarkar”, “Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna”, “Sarkar Raj”, “Paa”, “Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap”, “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” and now this song in “BB” – I have a feeling I’m missing some film. Coming to the bit about my not being nervous around him – actually I was not nervous around him even when we did our first film together. It is every actor’s dream to work with Amitabh Bachchan. And dad’s greatest quality is that he puts you at ease. Being an actor and having the kind of experience he has on his side, he understands that for an actor to perform at his/her optimum, he has to be completely at ease. If there is any tension, an actor just folds up and closes in. He is aware that people get gobsmacked in front of him, so he goes out of his way to make them feel comfortable. He does it for the sake of the film. Also when he is shooting a song, he likes to have a lot of fun.
Who is more fun to work with – dad, mom or Aishwarya?
All of them are fun actually. I’ve enjoyed my films with all of them.
How soon will we see Ash and you together in a film?
I have done some of my best work with Aishwarya – “Guru”, “Raavan”, “Sarkar Raj”. I’d love to work with her; but there has to be a script that would appeal to both of us as individual actors. I have always maintained this. In between there was talk of the four of us – mum, dad, Aishwarya and me – doing a film together. We Bachchans are not a package deal. All decisions on a movie involve four individual creative people. So unless and until all of us like the parts written out for us, there will not be a film like that.
Presented by Fox Star Studios, produced by Shree Ashtavinayak, LFS Infra Ltd and Ajay Devgn Ffilms, “Bol Bachchan” releases on July 6.