Amitabh Bachchan speaks to Subhash K Jha on his new release the highly anticipated Te3n.
Te3n addresses itself to the extremely grave issue of children’s safety. Was that a major factor in your decision to do the film?
Frankly I had not thought about it till you brought it up. But yes, children’s safety is an important issue, though the film does not entirely focus on this aspect. It is a thriller, a film that wraps you around a grandfather, played by me, looking for and trying to find the missing pieces of the death of his grandchild. I liked the idea of the story and I was comfortable working with Sujoy and Ribhu, both of whom I had worked with before…
Every year thousands of children fall prey to the cancer of child abuse and child trafficking. Your comments on the issue?
Yes, this is an abominable crime and the guilty must be punished. Children too must be protected and more importantly educated and taught to bring such occurrences to the attention of elders and the authorities. Most children at that young impressionable age are too frightened to speak about it.
You and the very talented Ribhu Dasgupta earlier worked in the serial Yudh. In spite of its failure why did you decide to work with him again?
If failure is going to be the yardstick of prospective work association, then Ribhu should have thought a hundred times before working with me, because my multiple failures do not compare with his very limited, so-called failures. I liked his work and his mind and so I worked with him and would wish to work with him in the future also….
Te3n also reunites you with your purana bhakt Sujoy Ghosh. Was he the one who convinced you to do this film?
‘Bhakt’…! Ha ha ha. No, he is a passionate filmmaker and an intelligent mind. He brought an idea to me and we went ahead, because we liked what we wanted to make.
Te3n has a tremendous cast, led by you. Vidya Balan and you last worked together in Paa as, ahem mother and son. What sort of an equation do you share with her this time in Te3n?
Vidya has been an exceptional talent and is a wonderful co-star. It is always enlightening to be in her company in front of the camera. She plays a Police Officer in this one, who ‘mothers’ the complicated situation that John Biswas, the character I play in the film, undergoes!
During Elavya you compared Vidya with Waheedaji. How much has she evolved since then?
I still feel those Waheedaji elements in her, though of course with each passing film and year she has adapted herself to so many different avatars and roles.
For the first time you worked with the Nawazuddin in Te3n? He says it was an experience of a lifetime. How about you?
We actually co-starred in one film before Shoojit Sircar’s Shoebite an unreleased product. And that was just a passing shot. I was so impressed with his performance that I was wondering why he had not got bigger and more substantial roles. Soon enough as we all know he has established himself as one of the finest talents we have today. He is being far too modest in his own reference with regard to me, it really is the other way round .It’s been a cherished moment for me to be working with him.
Both your releases this year Wazir and Te3n are about bereavement. Could we hope to see you in something happier soon?
Ok, point taken and we shall start the hunt! Though I must admit that the hunts have become pretty arduous and mostly without desired results these days!
Please tell me about your forthcoming films?
There is PINK produced by Shoojit Sarkar and directed by Anirudh Roy, completed and releasing by September. There is a project with YRF and Victor and a few more… Sarkar 3 is under the process of scripting and as soon as that is ready we go ahead…
You recently participated in Modiji’s Beto Bachao, Beti Padhao event. Does participation in such noble causes become a problem as they are invariably politicized?
In a democratic world everyone has the liberty of expression. I am not in politics. For me the campaign ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ is an endeavour to support the girl child, an effort that I have a great interest in and also am UN ambassador for. Since this was a Government Of India initiative, it was really for them to consider whether I should be associated with it or not. They invited me and I accepted. If they had uninvited me I would have stepped back from the event. But that would not have stopped me from my belief in the campaign and the work that I do privately, or shall be asked to do by UN or other non- governmental bodies.