Amitabh Bachchan, by far the most famous Indian alive, doesn’t believe in resting on past laurels. He never tires of challenging himself. Air-dashing from Dubai to Kolkata to Delhi, he keeps pace with a choc-a-block schedule. Whether it’s a new movie on the block or his blog, both are tackled with unbridled levels of passion. As he gets ready for the release of his next film ‘Te3n’, he makes time for a quick chat at his tastefully-decorated office, Janak. Straight off, you ask…
Namaste Sir, what drew you to this film?
Sujoy Ghosh and I had been wanting to do a film for a while. He thought of a story, based in Kerala, and felt it should be done. While working on it suddenly one day he said, first let us do ‘Te3n’ and then the other one. That is how it happened. I have known Sujoy since our film ‘Aladin’. However, he wanted Ribhu Dasgupta to direct ‘Te3n’. Ribhu and I got acquainted when he helmed a television serial for us. We had originally requested Anurag Kashyap to direct it. However, since he was busy, he agreed to oversee things but entrusted Ribhu with the responsibility. I was comfortable working with him. I liked the idea and the story.
Weren’t you meant to shoot in Goa?
We were. But they had some problems with permissions, so we went to Kolkata instead. I am very fond of that place.
Is ‘Te3n’ a remake of a Korean film?
Yes, it is. Sujoy got the rights. I didn’t see the original. I preferred not to. I don’t like to watch the originals of the remakes that I do because it unnecessarily puts ideas into your head. I would rather do something that is relevant to what is written and what the director wants me to do.Have you ever recommended Abhishek for a role in a film that also stars you?
I have never recommended Abhishek for a part in any of my films. Most of the ones that we did together like ‘Sarkar’, ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’, ‘Paa’ or the song in ‘Bol Bachchan’ came on their own. It is for the writer and director to decide who they wish to cast. Lots of people come to us with ideas where they feel the two of us should be together. But we haven’t finalised anything yet.
Ram Gopal Varma wants to make ‘Sarkar 3’ with you?
Yes, Ramu and I met and he wants to make ‘Sarkar 3’. But we are still going through the process of the story, etc. Let’s see.
You recently won a National Award for ‘Piku’. Do such awards put any pressure on you as a performing artiste?
I do not know what people expect from me or a film. My guess is that when people go to see a film, they want to see something they like. And, that is what we artistes work towards. Receiving a National Award is a great feeling. However, if you live with the burden that you hope to be appreciated, then you lose interest. I do not think that is the intent with which we set out to work. We should like what we are doing.
In ‘Ki & Ka’ where Jaya and you appeared in a cameo, it was suggested that if she had chosen to pursue her career and you had sat at home, things may have been different. In real life, do such thoughts ever cross your mind?
These are hypothetical situations. They are nice to talk about in a film but not applicable to real situations. You cannot take a story idea from a film and suddenly put it into reality. That will have different reactions. Then again, on second thoughts, even if it were to pan out like it was suggested in the movie, so what?
One heard that ‘Mehrunissa’ with Rishi Kapoor and you is being revived?
I do not know. Sudhir Mishra (the director) and all of us worked quite a bit on it, but I think there is some other issue.
How are your piano sessions going?
I play the piano now and then. But mostly, it is work that keeps me busy. My digital interests and my blog are things that I enjoy.
You are the most followed Bollywood person on Twitter…It is a wonderful medium. It helps you connect with people and get to know their views. And some of them are so valuable. They will criticise a film or give ideas. It is just so wonderful to hear from an absolutely unknown quarter about what people think. At times, it is wonderful to be able to incorporate what they feel. They are the opinion makers. These are some of the things I value very much. There are some very intelligent people out there with whom I interact every day. They are a part of the EF (extended family). They sometimes travel here and meet up. I know 300 to 400 of them by their first names. I have met almost all of them. Whichever city I travel to; I try and meet the EF of that place. It is a very warm feeling.Any special demands that Aaradhya makes from her dada?Aaradhya is quite busy. She goes to school, returns and has her own routine. On a special occasion, she will draw something and present it to me, which I cherish.