2014 was a busy year for the Amitabh Bachchan as he shot back-to-back films like 'Shamitabh', 'Wazir' and 'Piku' besides shooting his TV show 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. While Big B is done with KBC shoots, he is currently wrapping up 'Piku' and 'Wazir' and simultaneously promoting his next film 'Shamitabh'. In a candid conversation, the Shahenshah of Bollywood gets chatty about his third film with R. Balki, working with younger actors like Dhanush and Akshara and much more. Excerpts:
How eager and excited are you for 'Shamitabh' to release?
Just as much as you all are waiting for 6th February, even I am very excited. This is my third film with Balki, first there was 'Cheeni Kum' and then 'Paa' and in every film, he has offered me a different role & story. And I believe, this film will also be different from the rest of the films. The kind of story & plot which has been written, probably, has never been seen in the Hindi film industry, so, I am very eager to know the audiences' reaction.
Sir, tell us something about the filmâ€¦
'Shamitabh' is a story of two people, what one has the other doesn't and what the other person has the first one doesn't. Then one journalist, portrayed by Akshara Haasan, recognizes this and gets the two talents together which results in a lot of benefit in their profession. Then, as the story proceeds, how the ego comes in between those two people is the story. One feels the success is because of him and vice versa. What happens after that, you'll come to know in the film.
Sir, you play an alcoholic in 'Shamitabh'. In the past too you have played such roles. Did you ever take any cues from your previous roles?
My character in 'Shamitabh' is frustrated in his life and sometimes takes the help of alcohol. There were many roles in the past where I have played such scenes but in every film the situations and the characters have been different. Thus, it all changes the way you perform on screen.
Unlike many actors, do you believe in consuming alcohol for your character?
I strictly believe that drinking alcohol is not good for an actor. There are some actors who drink before doing such a scene but I don't believe in that and will never do that.
Since 'Shamitabh' is about an ego clash, have you ever faced that in Bollywood?
I can't say anything on that because I have never felt like that. I consider Bollywood as my family and there is no ego involved in family.
What is the reason for naming the film 'Shamitabh'?
The name of the film is 'Shamitabh' not because it has Dhanush & my name. It isn't for creating sensation and to draw people's attention towards it. People should get attracted because it is a part of the story. Only because of the story, the film is titled SHAMITABH. When you watch the film you'll get to know.
You have often admitted that performing in front of live audience scares you. Any particular reason?
A normal person dreams - sometimes it is good, sometimes it is scary. For me, performing in front of so many people is scary. I am a normal person. People have a misconception that I am a superstar! Truth is that I am scared doing everything. Since I am not a singer, I feel afraid to sing in front of the audience.
This has been your third collaboration with R. Balki. What attracts you to do his film?
I have been blessed to have been working with R. Balki. He has been kind to offer work to a hopeless actor like me. I am thankful that he has always thought about me. I say yes to work with him because it is necessary to find work. And when he gets a script for me, the story and characters are unique. But that is not enough. We discuss all the stories and then he makes the edits and after many sittings, Balki makes the final script. There have been times when he tries to explain me something which I haven't understood and vice versa.But then we work with open mind.
Our society has changed over the years. How do you cope up with it?
Society has been changing and the filmmakers have been taking a cue from it. Every 5-10 years society changes, generation changes and eventually the thought process also changes. And according to that, the script writers portray a particular character. In 70s the films depicted protests, 80s depicted romance and today's movies depict lot of modernization.
Sir times have changed but one thing that has remained constant is that you were a Superstar back then and you are a Superstar now as wellâ€¦
Madam there is nothing like that. I am not a superstar. In every generation, one has to understand, that every artist has a limited career. While a sportsman has the shortest career span, in films, actors have a small span owing to ageing and other complications. My era is over and I stay behind. We have new actors coming up in front of whom we have to bow down to!
Sir like the younger generation learns from you, do you also learn something from them?
I have been lucky to have got the opportunity to work with the newer generations and learn many new things. I like to work with the younger generation and enjoy working with them. But the best thing that I like in today's times is the increase in number of women working in the industry. Initially, there only used to be heroine's mother and no one else. Now we have a drastic increase in them in all departments - lighting, production, make-up etc.
How was your experience of working with Dhanush? Did you guide him for anything?
He is such an intelligent person, why will he need my guidance? Instead I will ask him, how a particular thing needs to be done.
You have been shooting for three films - 'Piku', 'Shamitabh' and 'Wazir' along with 'Kaun Banega Crorepati'. How do you manage to squeeze time for all of them?
You have to take time out according to the requirement. Paapi pet ke liye karna padta hai.I am an artist.