Abhishek Bachchan: I would do anything it takes for Aaradhya and I wouldn’t allow anyone to come in the way of that – #BigInterview | Hindi Movie News

Abhishek Bachchan is returning to the silver screen after five years with R Balki’s Ghoomer. His last theatrical release was Manmarziyaan in 2018, after which he shined on the digital platform with Ludo, The Big Bull, Bob Biswas, Dasvi, and Breathe. Having completed 23 years in Bollywood, Abhishek had turned producer with his film Paa, and he has also produced his next release Ghoomer.In today’s #BigInterview with ETimes, Abhishek looks back at his journey in the industry, what it is like working withBalki once again after so many years, his process, his dad Amitabh Bachchan, wife Aishwarya Rai, daughter Aaradhya, nephew Agastya Nanda and so much more. Read on.

23 years in Bollywood and counting. How would you sum up your journey so far?

The journey has been memorable and I wouldn’t want it any other way. That’s the only thing in our control, no? We know what the destination is, we’re going to end up at the same place. You have a little bit of control over the journey. I have loved every moment of my journey so far. I have learnt so much, I have grown so much and I’m grateful that 23 years down the line, I still get to do what I love doing. That in itself is a kind of endorsement. The audience has tolerated you for 23 years, which means somewhere there’s an interest in you. I have got no complaints whatsoever.

When did you realise that you have got hold of what you were doing?

I don’t think you are ever truly there. But I would definitely say that after I came back from my sabbatical and I worked on Manmarziyaan, there was a lot more comfort in front of the camera. It’s not as much as I would like ideally, but compared to my first innings there was more comfort in front of the camera.

What was going on in your head when you started working on Manmarziyaan?

There’s implicit respect and love for Anurag Kashyap as a director. He’s just wonderful. It was obviously nerve-racking as it always is and continues to be and it should be. But there was this comfort in saying, “Alright, Anurag, here I am. Take care of me.” So, that submission was there.
It is a director’s medium. Unfortunately, actors are always given the wrong end of the stick. There are times when you need to step in and there are times when you need to go out there and protect. Sometimes you feel that I’m not treated emotionally the way the character is required to be. So, there are so many variables up in the air when you’re making a film. you’re lucky if you have a trustworthy and sensitive director.

What prompted you to be a part of Ghoomer as an actor as well as a producer?

Balki. He made me a producer in Paa. When he came and told me the basic idea, I thought it was unique and nice. More than that I enjoyed the character he wanted me to play. What’s wonderful about Paddy is that he’s the complete antithesis of what a coach should be. And I found it interesting and the fact that Balki thought of a character like this and to make him a figure of inspiration for Saiyami Kher’s character, I found it interesting and unique because there’s no common ground. And you know that there needs to be some combustion to make it work and that’s interesting.
Balki had a one-line story but when he told me how the character Paddy was going to be, my interest peaked. It was different, new and something that we have never seen before and it is something that we don’t expect. I enjoyed doing that.

How did you prepare for Paddy?

We did what we normally do. There were severe discussions and going through the script several times. The sad part of filmmaking is that even after the film is done you still want to tweak some things but you don’t have that liberty.
In terms of physicality, there wasn’t much that he wanted me to do. Saiyami had more physical preparation to do.
As for the look, we were racking our brains over what Paddy’s look should be. He is an alcoholic and we wanted to show him a bit drab. But when it came down to actual features, I said, “Balki, I like your salt-n-pepper hair. Let’s try it.” And he said okay. That’s how it happened.

From Paa to Ghoomer, what about Balki has remained the same and what has changed?

Ghoomer is Balki’s most commercial film. I feel Balki as a director shies away from displaying emotions. I don’t know whether it’s a personality trait or it’s just the kind of cinema he likes to make. In Ghoomer, he has gone the whole-hog by putting it out there. So, that’s one change – he has become more comfortable in showing emotions on screen.

Has your way of choosing a script changed over the years?


So, how do you choose your scripts?

For me, the criteria are simple – is this a film that you’d want to see as an audience? That’s the most important thing, right?

At the trailer launch, you said that Ghoomer is a personal film for you. Why did you say that?

Well, I think that there are a lot of themes in the film that every individual associates with personally. Everyone knows what it is to lose. That’s a universal thing with every human being. There could be that one dream that you couldn’t fulfil, one goal you couldn’t achieve, maybe because sometimes you’re not good enough or you didn’t work hard enough or it just went out of your hands. Everybody has seen this kind of disappointment. I think that emotion is going to connect with every audience member.
When he says that dialogue, “

Ek loser kya mehsus karta hai

, I know.” We all have that one thing that has gotten away from us. That one thing that has left a bitter taste in our mouth. A certain sadness. It’s a very human emotion, something which we shy away from being vulnerable on film. I think it is a very powerful scene and a powerful dialogue for a protagonist to say and admit it.
I also believe that before you succeed greatly, you have to fail greatly. Because the greatest of the greats have all failed before they achieved success. They’ve all lost something and that sense of loss and of losing is what inspires them and spurs them to achieve and become the achievers they want to become. It’s very important.
Ask anyone, sportsman, actor or businessman – failure teaches you how to be a success. That’s a universal emotion and that makes it personal. Everyone would be able to draw parallels with their lives with certain moments in the film. That’s why I said it’s very personal. And Balki does it beautifully. He talks about a very important messaging but he does it very subtly. It’s not in your face and I like that.
The cricketing moments, training and interactions between Paddy and Anina (Saiyami Kher) is very entertaining. But I really hope that ‘I know what he must have felt’ resonates with the audience.

When did you feel that in your real life ke ab bahut ho gaya…

I think as an actor you go through that every Friday. There’s always that one thing that doesn’t work out. And the sad part I have realised is that if you feel bad about something not working out and if you’re honest with yourself, you know that you’re part of the reason why it didn’t work out. Could I have worked harder? Could I have sacrificed some more to achieve that? What if I had been better? And I think any true honest human being will realise that part of the reason why you could not achieve your dream has to do something with yourself. And that’s what spurs you to not make that mistake again.
Blaming it on others is a defence mechanism. I have always tried to analyse this cold war between critics and film actors. I have never had that. My perspective is very different. My way of looking at it is that why am I looking at it as a personal attack? Here’s someone telling me how to improve myself, why am I not receiving it like that? and I receive it like that. I attribute a lot of my success to innumerable film critics because they pointed me down the right path. Deep down every actor knows whether they have done a good job or not.

You were good in Dasvi. Tell me about working on that film.

I loved Dasvi. I loved playing Gangaram Chaudhary. It is one of the most fun characters that I have played. I loved his attitude, debonairness and I just loved the fact that he’s just a boss. And to be that and suddenly realising that I’m inadequate and then doing what needs to be done. It was a great story.

What was shooting at Agra jail like?

It was amazing. The inmates used to be around us. It was the first time I was inside a functional jail. I was pleasantly surprised with the jail authorities and what a wonderful job they do. It’s quite contrary to what we expect jail to be.

How did you feel when your father said you’re his Uttaradhikari?

You feel a bit numb, right? Apart from being my father, he’s my hero, he’s my idol. And to get words of praise from your idol is unbelievable. You become numb. I think I was shooting when he wrote this.
People forget that apart from being a huge icon to the nation, he’s also a father and he’s allowed to be a father. I would do anything it takes for my daughter and I wouldn’t allow anyone to come in the way of that and so would any other parent. Why do we judge him with a different yardstick? He’s allowed to be a human.

What kind of cinema have you enjoyed doing more?

I think those lines have blurred. In the 70s there was a parallel movement in cinema. Those lines started blurring in the mid 90s. Now I don’t think they exist. It is only about cinema and that’s the way it should be. Cinema is cinema. You need to make a good film, that’s it. My favourite genre to do is the quintessential Indian masala film. I grew up on that and I love it.

What tips do you give to your nephew Agastya Nanda who is going to debut with The Archies?

I don’t think I need to tell him anything. This generation is so well-prepared and confident. In fact, he advises me on a lot of stuff and I like that. you get a new young perspective. I ask him what he thinks about my films and he’s generous with his opinion. I am very proud of him for the way he conducts himself. Whatever I have seen in the promos of The Archies, it looks very exciting. I pray for all his success because he deserves it. He has worked very hard but quietly and I like that.

What kind of cinema are you going to do? Are you doing a South film?

Like I said earlier, I think about whether I would like to see this film? What other criteria could there be? It’s a big director? You’re already doing the film for the wrong reason. It has to be the subject. And a lot of times we make those decisions and that’s firm. The genesis or the bedrock of any film should be the script.

You have done some films for relationships. How important are relationships to you?

Relationships are very important to me. I am a very loyal person. But today, I would not do a film only for the relationship. Not for selfish reasons. I won’t be doing justice to the person I am loyal to. That means there’s nothing about the film that I have liked. I’m doing it just for you.

Any project with Aishwarya?

There’s stuff offered to us but it comes and goes. Nothing has peaked the interest. She is very clear about the work she does. As an artist and as an individual she needs to feel inspired to do it.

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