Overexposed? Oh no, says Bachchan
Subhash K Jha
Megastar Ami-tabh Bachchan says he is the least worried about Cassandaras who warn that he is getting too much exposure. “I’m repeatedly asked if I am not worried about over-exposure since I’m doing so many ads and films. Right now I’m just worried about exposure, not-exposure,” Bachchan told HNS in an interview. “I’m fortunate to be getting so many parts at my age,” Bachchan, who is 63, added. He also thought that because of his age, “I can play all kinds of roles without bothering about my image and other repercussions”. At the same time, Bachchan admitted the rap song he did for the ‘Bunty aur Babli’ promo was “scary and tough”. “Doing a song-and-dance in a film is bad enough for me. But rap? It’s difficult for a 63-year old guy to do it,” he added. Bachchan said he was “excited” about the return of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (‘Who Will Become a Millionaire-KBC’) to the small screen. “Certainly (the first) KBC was a turning-point in my career. I was venturing into a different territory. There was the apprehension of the unknown. It got me into another level of my career. It also took care of my financial liability,” he explained.
Excerpts from the interview:
How would you describe ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ in one word?
Fun... Snazzy ...Everything happens in a small town. But the presentation is upmarket. The concept of two con artistes with dreams is ingenious....I’ve a small but significant role. The age factor aids the actor. Because of my age, I can play all kinds of roles without bothering about my image and other repercussions. I’m repeatedly asked if I am not worried about overexposure since I’m doing so many ads and films. Right now I’m just worried about exposure, not-exposure. I’m fortunate to be getting so many parts at my age.
Is the audience going to get a lot of you and Abhishek together in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’?
Well... Abhishek and Rani play con artistes, and I play the cop chasing them. So the moment we come face-to-face, the story is over.
After ‘Black’, they called you God. After seeing your ‘B & B’ promos, they call you dude?
That’s a perception created by the music video for ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, where they made me do a rap song. But I’m neither God nor dude. I’m Amitabh Bachchan. I was so surprised by the response to the music video. It was a fantastic gambit that paid off. It was Aditya Chopra’s brainchild. He walked in one morning and suggested I do it for the film’s promotion. It was really scary and tough. But I somehow I got through it (sighs).
Why scary and tough?
At 63, I can’t be singing rap songs, please! Doing a song-and-dance in a film is bad enough for me. But rap? It’s difficult for a 63-year old guy to do it. There’re many semi-clad girls in the video. But we can’t take our eyes off you.
That’s because they’re shorter. And the video was shot in a manner where I was more prominent. But they were all stunning women and stunning dancers from Shiamak Davar’s troupe.
What did you think of your ‘Bunty-Babli’ director Shaad Ali?
A very loving and compassionate human being. That shows in his work. His film is so different in attitude and sensibility. Look at his work and you know he has gathered his aesthetic values from his own childhood in Uttar Pradesh. There’s a great deal of culture and aesthetics coming to him from both his parents. There’s a lot of deliberate kitsch in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ but nothing jarring. Our cinema has been busy looking at the ambitions of the metro-centric characters. How nice to go into the dreams of the small towners as colourfully and romantically! The visuals in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ are so fresh and appealing. Shaad has paid a tribute to the cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. Farhan Akhtar is remaking your 1970’s blockbuster ‘Don’. Yes I’m aware of it. That’s wonderful. It’s a great compliment to the film and its writers Salim-Javed. Farhan will do a great job. He has the right sensibility to update the film and make it palatable to today’s generation. And Shah Rukh is the perfect choice for my part.
But do you think such cult films can have the same impact again?
Most certainly. ‘Devdas’ has been made four times. Story-wise I think ‘Don’ was very viable commercially. The idea was so original and exciting. I value Jeetendra’s opinion. He always chose rightly. When he heard ‘Don’, he advised me to grab it.
‘Don’ will have your song “Khai ke paan Banaras wala”.
Fantastic. Do you know it was an afterthought in ‘Don’? It came after the film was edited and
complete. I remember I was doing action scenes on the day we shot the song. So I was dancing with blisters on my feet. I took painkiller injections before every shot in the song.
And you’re still dancing with the same gusto in ‘Bunty Aur Babli’.
Am I? That’s your erception. I know better.