Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s name is synonymous with Hindi cinema, and he is considered one of the finest actors in the world. He has played a variety of roles over his 40 years in the Industry and he is still creating exciting new characters and performances. Coming up on July 1st is the highly anticipated Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap, which has Mr. Bachchan fighting, dancing, singing and, of course, acting as only he can do it, with style, flair, brilliance, and above all being cool! We got the honor of conducting an email interview with Mr. Bachchan and he talked about about all things Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap, how he stays in shape, what he thinks of Hindi cinema, and so much more!
How do you decide on which roles you will play?
The role should be challenging, the story around it of importance, and the maker should be one that I feel shall be able to do justice.
What was it about the character in Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap that made you want to take on the challenge of playing him?
When you are nearing 70 any role that comes to you is a challenge! It’s a wonder, first, that you are being considered at all! But when Ram Gopal Varma brought Puri Jagannath to meet me and urged me to do his film, I readily agreed after hearing the story and its treatment. The character was trendy, unapologetic, and strong. It excited me to be doing something that I had not done for a very long time, in fact, not since my early years. Apart from the character, the storyline was interesting too, and so I went ahead.
Can you tell us about your character?
He is an ex-gangster, living out of the country, but back in town on a mission.
What is the story of the film from your character’s point of view?
Well, telling you the story would not be very prudent at this stage; it would not be ethical to put down a spoiler, but as I said he is on a mission and he will try to make sure that the mission is completed amicably.
What was it like revisiting the role of the angry young man?
I am not so sure how to address this question. Revisiting the ‘angry young man’ would mean a classification, which I have never believed in. I believe in the role to be played and I believe that anger is a very natural human phenomena. I was angry in Mohabbatein and as much in Black too, but the character was angry. To specify that it is being revisited in Bbuddah would not be entirely correct.
In Bbuddah, you are fighting and dancing. How do you stay in such good shape to do that?
Oh, Dear! It takes far too much effort to be able to do all that has been asked of me in the film at this age. But yes, I follow a strict gym regime and hope and pray that all goes well when the camera rolls. I also feel that there is an additional rush of energy and adrenalin that goes through all actors once they face the camera. The location, the ambience, the fellow artists, the encouragement from the working team all together somehow gears you up and you get through it.
Tell us about working with Hema Malini and the rest of the cast Sonu Sood, Raveena Tandon, and Sonal Chauhan.
Hema ji has been a long time colleague and co-artist. She has been most dignified and accomplished in whatever she has done with me; we have done some rather interesting films. She is playing opposite me in Bbuddah and that is all I can reveal at the moment. Sonu Sood is a first time with me. He comes with an excellent record and has been a joy to work with. Raveena is an old hand at it and we have done films together in the past. It is wonderful to see her continuing to work with the same amount of gusto and energy as before. She has virtually grown up in front of me; her Father Ravi Tandon directing me in Majboor. Sonal Chauhan is another first with me. She is lovely to look at and pretty, and like all the younger generation of today, comes with great confidence and preparation. There is another young lady, Charmee, in the film. She comes from the South films and is very spunky and talented. In all, the entire team has been a privilege to be with.
What about working with the director Puri Jagannath?
I had seen Puri’s work in Pokhiri, his Telugu film, which I had enjoyed greatly, so I was aware of his calibre. His approach is modern and fresh, young and of today’s generation. He has good story sense and has of course his own unique style of presentation. I have greatly enjoyed working with him and would love to continue doing more films under his direction.
What are your thoughts when first approaching a new project?
They are most frightening and full of nervousness. Ask any actor and they shall reveal that the first day of the shoot is always the most stressful and filled with uncertainty. But as the days and hours go by things begin to ease out, the working conditions and process look comfortable, and then you settle down into it. After that it’s the completion and the anxiety of the results, and then the hopes of its reaction from the audience. If it does well, you start worrying about how to continue the streak with the next; if not, you get down to working on how to make the next successful. You see, it’s just a never-ending process.
How do you prepare for your films?
Most of the preparations are done by the director. It is his vision and story and how he would like to treat it, so mostly you go by what they have to say. If there are inputs which you feel need to be expressed, that is done before the shooting starts. If there are specific areas where research is required, that is undergone, like learning the language of the physically challenged in the film Black.
What excites you about making films?
Well, first off that you are employed! Ha! No, but jokes aside, its the opportunity of playing varied characters in different situations and trying to tackle those moments with some amount of ability.
You also sung on the OST for Buddha. Tell us about that experience. Do you have a favorite song?
OST! I had to ask Abhishek what that was .. ha ha .. Its the Official Sound Track, right ? Yes, I have sung 3 of the songs that are related to me. One, the theme of the title sung in the style called ‘acapella’, which is that every sound that you hear on the track is from my voice, even the instruments! The second is the title again but done on a style called ‘DubBeat’, which is very hard rock and they tell me a first for Indian Film Music. And there is a lyrical soft number ‘Haal e Dil’ which is my favourite – a beautiful melody, with a great feel. Its the theme for Hema ji and me in the film.
How has Hindi cinema changed since you first played the angry young man until now?
I think technically there has been huge advancement. The speed of narration and presentation has become immense. There is brevity in expression, but the language has deteriorated. The lyricism and poetry in dialogues and song words has virtually disappeared, and that is sad. Also, the content of the writing on the screen plays and stories has depleted. Perhaps that is what the new generation wants. Who knows!
Looking back over your career how would you describe your journey as an actor? Did you ever imagine when you first stepped onto a film set that all these years later you would be where you are today?
Looking back, I need to thank my stars, and the blessings of my parents and the Almighty and my well wishers, for putting me where I find myself today. It’s been over 40 years in the business and I am indebted that there are still some that give me respect and admiration. I am fortunate that I had the opportunity to have worked with some of the greatest makers this Industry has seen, as well as given me occasion to have worked with the most talented bunch of artists as my colleagues. I do not think that I am at any special place today. What really has been special is the tolerance of those that have loved and wished well for me – my fans!!
What do you think makes Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap a film everyone wants to see?
It is entertaining!!
The early response to the promos was fantastic. How much does your fans support mean to you?
Fans are the be all and end all of what we are. They make us, and they have the capacity to break us. We shall always respect their love and affection, either way.
If we weren’t huge fans before, we certainly would be now! We would like to thank Mr. Bachchan for taking time out to answers our questions. Be sure to check out Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap when it opens on July 1st! We know we are going to be there first day, first show!