Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, South Indian star Dhanush and Bollywood debutant Akshara Hassan attended a UK press conference on Tuesday morning to promote the upcoming comedy/drama Shamitabh. The press conference took place at the 5-star Taj Hotel in London, where the cast spoke about the film and more ahead of its release on 6 February.
Speaking about the film, Mr. Bachchan said the following: “A lot of people have been intrigued by the title and the fact that my name and Dhanush’s name has been incorporated in the title means that it has been done for some kind of sensation. That’s not true because Shamitabh comes from the script of the film and when you see the film you will know why it’s there. The other thing that can be said is that I will be giving my voice to Dhanush as a character in the film. And why that voice has been given is something I’m afraid we can’t give away at the moment but once you see the film you will come to appreciate why.”
Also discussing his experience of working with Mr. Bachchan for the very first time, Dhanush had this to say. “It was a great opportunity for me to learn from the best whether it’s Amitji, R. Balki or Ilaiyaraaja, who are such big legends of Indian Cinema. R. Balki is a taskmaster and he knows what he wants and he takes the best out from his actors. I’m very thankful to him for giving me this character, this script and for giving me Shamitabh. Working with Amitji was an amazing experience and a dream come true. Every actor’s dream is to work with him and to learn from him and to see him perform live in front of your eyes. He’s simply amazing and I learned a lot from him and I wish I had a bit longer to learn from him more.”
Bollywood newbie Akshara Hassan also spoke about her debut in Shamitabh and what it was like to work with such top names in her first ever film. “At first I was really scared because it’s my first film and did not know how I would perform. But Balki Sir helped me prepare for the film beforehand. And when I got on set both Mr. Bachchan and Dhanush made me feel so comfortable and at such ease that I found it a lot easier to perform.”
Mr. Bachchan also spoke about how humbled he felt that R. Balki gifted the script to Shamitabh to him, with whom he has worked with in other hit films such as Cheeni Kum and Paa. “I am also coming to know of this during these promotions (audience laughs). But he keeps saying that he was on his way to my house and was stuck in a traffic jam and he felt that he should be giving me a gift and thought of this story. Balki has a very sensitive and intellectual mind. He thinks differently and he always makes stories that are not the regular escapist fare that you see in Hindi Cinema whether it’s Cheeni Kum or Paa. It’s always something different and something which you have never seen before.”
Akshara was asked at the press conference whether or not she had support from her family, given that they are associated with the film industry as well. “I actually had just R. Balki Sir guiding me who was my teacher throughout. Yes I did ask my parents about certain things and their advice did help me a lot.”
Dhanush was asked how it was like to have Mr. Bachchan’s voice to be a part of his performance. “It was tougher to perform,” said the South Indian star. “To have constant prompting was tough and weird, especially during the first week of shooting. His voice is so majestic and we have grown up watching his films and learning from him. And to hear his voice and not to perform like him, that’s even a bigger task.”
You can catch Shamitabh in cinemas when in releases on 6 February! In the meantime, check out the cool pictures from the press conference, as well as a video excerpt of what took place on the day!