Friday, December 10, 2010

Abhishek Bachchan on his career, flop films, career and future films

Abhishek Bachchan did not aspire to be the nation’s biggest star; he just wanted to be an actor but had a mountain of high expectations set on him.  Since he is the son of Big B, his flops have been seemingly magnified and his hits have always seemed smaller. Though he turned recluse after the failure of Raavan, he was subtle in his promotion for Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se. Though the movie did not do well, people who saw the film as well the critics acclaimed the film, and this is something that makes Jr. Bachchan smile.

Let us go through the ride as Abhishek Bachchan dissects Bollywood, unrealistic expectations set on him, dissects the reasons for Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se’s failure and his prospects for the forthcoming year.

On his decision to play the role of Surjya Sen, despite the project not being commercially viable:
When Ashu (Ashutosh Gowariker) told me the basic idea of the film, I felt it was a story that needed to be told. I didn't look at it as a commercial film, because as storytellers, it is sometimes important to tell a story without wondering how it is going to do commercially. Something in me stood up and said 'This is a film you should do'.
Ashu was not going to emphasise on the Bengali aspect. He very strongly felt about this freedom fighter who we've all forgotten. I didn't know about him, and I felt ashamed. But to take 55 kids, five friends and do what they did, is an inspiring story and I thought it would connect with the youth. I didn't see any reason why Surjyada should not be spoken about in the same breath as Bhagat Singhji and Chandrashekar Azadji, because he was that great. Like Ashu says at the end of the film, 'It's never too late to salute our heroes'. I think it was driven by that.

On Khelein Hum Jee Jaan not being promoted well enough:
If you say that, I will accept it, because I look at it as a reaction. But I also feel that a film like this cannot be promoted like any other normal film. I can't promote this film as the same way as Dostana, by going on reality shows etc, because you have to maintain the dignity of the film.

On analyzing a film’s failure
Postmortems are very, very essential. I learnt something important from Ashutosh during the making of this film a completely different way to analyse a film from what I have been doing. He always says to ask yourself: What goal did you set yourself when you decided to make this film? Have you achieved that? If you did that, that's a form of success. Success should not always be measured with box office. I never thought like that before. I am an industry kid. I believed that if you make a film, it should make money, it should be a box-office success.

On Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se’s satisfaction quotient
Yes, it is a commercial medium. That is our main aim. But with this film, what did we set out to do? Everyone in this film set out to put out a message, everyone wanted to pay their tribute to Surjya and I think we did that. The fact that he is spoken about today is far greater than any box office success.

On the length of KHJJS
No. At the end of the day, you are representing history so you can't depart from that. Having said that, it is incorrect if we think of entertainment as slapstick humour. Raajneeti is a fantastic example. It is one of the biggest hits of the year and it's a very serious, intense film. Sarkar and Sarkar Raj were successful films, there were no songs or light moments in both. They had heavy drama. I think at the end of the day, the audience needs to be gripped and it doesn't have to be comedy. Comedy is a safe option, as people want to see stuff that makes them forget all their woes, but dramas also work. As for the length, it's 2 hours and 35 minutes. It's Ashu's shortest film yet. But the subject determines the length of the film. I picked up a little trivia the five top grossers in Hindi cinema are all three hours plus. (smiles) It's a nice thing to know.

On his bad luck run that just does not stop
I don't know. Luck plays a huge factor, but we take the easy way out by saying it's bad luck. Having said that, everybody's making a big deal about it. My last two films have not worked but people are conveniently forgetting that I had a Dostana and a Paa before that. But it's a mixture of everything. At the end of the day, the genre doesn't matter. You just have to connect with the audience. Maybe they didn't connect with the films I have done.

On him getting more brickbats because of being a star-son
No. I've never thought like that, because I would like to believe I am not given special treatment, in the positive or the negative way. I think you get what you deserve. I've also been on the other side of the fence, when my films were doing well and no one was criticising me. In the end you have to give a successful film, that's all they want.

On his reaction to audience reaction and the media
The media is an audience as well, I don't differentiate. That's something people don't understand about me. I equate them on the same level. I don't get affected by criticism. After my first two films, I did. I was young, immature, and I was like, 'Hey, I am working very hard, why are they doing this to me?' Then when you gain a bit more experience, you wonder, 'Why am I fighting this?' 'Why have I got it into my head that somebody has an agenda against me?' The fact of the matter is that my films are not working. So if my films are not working, there has to be a reason for that. If my movies were doing exceptionally well and I was still getting criticism, I could have got negative about the whole thing. Why do actors think, 'Oh I have been singled out!'? To think that I am being singled out because I am my father's son would've been a very easy crutch and convenient. What's the fact of the matter? My last film did not work. If it did work, would you say the same thing? Oh, they are being nice to me because I am my father's son? No, it's a very easy crutch to use. You should go out there and take it on the chin when you deserve it.

On his father being caught in an eye of storm due to defending Raavan
To set the record straight, he never defended Raavan. If you read the tweets, you will see he was misrepresented. I think it was very sad for people to treat him that way. He is my father. Apart from that, I consider him to be the most respected person in the film industry... and in the country. I don't think he deserved that. You can't take something he said and misrepresent it. My father has never thought it to be correct or his place to defend my films or promote them. There also lies a dilemma. How does he react as a father? He is in a position today where people don't allow him to react as a father. Is that fair to him?
For a parent, I think that's very sad. Any parent reading this would agree. You've made a father so aware that he cannot pass comments on his own son's work. But we have to accept the fact that some people don't appreciate Amitabh Bachchan, the icon, passing comments on his son's work. So be it. I know what he thinks of my films because he tells me to my face. When I do a good job, I get a big hug. When I don't, I am told what I've done wrong and how to improve it. I've done a lot of work to get my parents' approval and it puts me on the top of the world when they like my work. And when they don't, I get advice from two of the best actors in the industry, so....

On Prahalad Kakkar’s digs at him
I didn't react to what he said about me. I know Prahlad. He was at my wedding. He is a fun guy. I have no absolutely no problem with what he said about me and that's because it is the truth. He says that I had given 'X' amount of flops. I have. I can't run away from that, it's my reality, I accept it. He said I should be in the Guinness Book of Records. I am already there (for breaking a record during the promotion of Delhi-6). I have absolutely no problem with what he said about me. But I have a huge problem with people taking potshots at my film industry. A large group of people work very hard and make films with a lot of blood and sweat. It's unfortunate that we are always targetted. To call the industry a mom-and-pop store where only sons and nephews (get a chance)  is unfair. You want to say something about me, fine. No problem, go ahead. But don't take potshots at the film industry. I feel very strongly about it maybe because I have been born and brought up in this industry. I have grown up in this fraternity, playing with the spotboys and lightmen on my father's sets. They are all like my extended family and that's why I reacted.

On Anurag Kashyap's comments on KHJJS and his dad
I have nothing to say about that.

On his future films
I have . Players with Abbas Mustan, Dostana 2 and Rohit Shetty's film.I also have Dum Maro Dum, Game, Anees Bazmee's Hera Pheri. It's just what I felt like doing. I have come off two heavy films, I wanted to do something light.All of them won't release next year, three or four will. Starting with Game, then Dum Maro Dum, then Players, Aneesbhai's film and Rohit's film.


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