Abhishek Bachchan talks to Subhash K Jha on his films and co-stars…
Two releases within a month, both taking you into space that you’ve hardly been in before. Any trepidation?
If you believe in what you do, it doesn’t matter how soon the films are released. But yes, ideally I’d have liked a gap between the two films. It’s not in my hands. At the end of the day we actors are only needed to act. But I’m proud of both films. I leave the rest to God. I’d like to believe my audience expects a lot from me. As a film actor, I’d like to fulfil their wishes. Our main aim is to entertain. Game and Dum Maaro Dum (DMD) are separate genres of films. Game was a whodunit, a genre I’d never done before, where as Dum Maaro Dum is an action thriller,
Last year you did films that were more epic in nature like Raavan and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. Were they tougher to shoot?
No, I don’t think the genre of a film should dictate how much of yourself you give to your films. As an actor it’s not my job to prioritize my projects. Every film has to be equally important. Every role has to be your favourite role. You just have to go with your instincts and do what you like. Basically I want to do entertaining films. Beyond that I don’t need to question my choices. I just follow my heart.
I treated both Abhinay and Rohan like thorough professionals
Game was directed by first-timer Abhinay Deo while DMD was with one your oldest friends Rohan Sippy. How different were they?
I treated both Abhinay and Rohan like thorough professionals though Rohan is one of my closest friends. But on the sets Rohan allowed me no liberties. We had to be thoroughly professional. Even when I work with my family I don’t bring my inter-personal relationships on the sets. Abhinay and I became great friends. I’ve wanted to work with him for the longest time. I admire all the ads he has done. When he offered me Game, I took it immediately. Nowhere can you make out that he’s a newbie.
So you think it can cross over to non-Indian audience?
No. I think there’s a language barrier .That glass ceiling prevents us from penetrating the global market. But we aren’t complaining.1.2 billion Indians watch our films. That is 1 out every 6 people in the world. We should give the others a chance too.
Incidentally, Abhinay’s parents Ramesh and Seema Deo worked with your father in Anand?
Oh yes, the bonding did happen because of that. He is an industry kid just like me. But that’s just a nice back-story. We formed our own relationship on the sets.
In fact all your co-stars in Players-Bobby Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sonam Kapoor, Sikandar Kher-are star kids…
Yes, we realized that we were all industry kids while we were shooting in New Zealand. It was a nice bit of trivia. Players is special on many counts. It’s been one of my dreams to work with Abbas-Mustan. We’ve been trying to work together for almost ten years. I’m so glad it finally happened.
You worked in Rohan Sippy’s last film Bluffmaster. Do you see a growth in him?
Most definitely. He has grown as a filmmaker. I really troubled him by making him wait for so long before starting another film. It took a while before we could lock in on the script for Dum Maaro Dum. Today he is so much more confident. As his friend I feel very proud of Rohan. I’ve had a lot of faith in him since we worked together in Kuch Na Kaho.
It took a while before we could lock in on the script for Dum Maaro Dum
All your films this year have an ensemble cast.
I like it that way. I like it when there’re other talented actors whom I can observe at work. I really do enjoy the process of working with my friends. It’s very stimulating to have talented actors around. I am not vain about being seen solo on the posters. I enjoyed working with all the actors in Game and Dum Maaro Dum. My co-star in Game is a new girl Sarah Jane. She’s very good. We had a lot of skilled actors like Anupam Kher, Boman Irani and Jimmy Sheirgill. But she wasn’t intimidated. I remember how nervous I was when I had to face the camera in my first film Refugee with Anupam uncle.
You’ve worked with another newcomer Rana Daggubati in Dum Maaro Dum?
He isn’t a newcomer. He’s done Telugu films. I know his father Suresh Babu and his uncle (the actor) Venkatesh very well. I’ve known Rana from the time he was a kid. It was wonderful working with him. A real fun guy.
Don’t you think the generation that has come after you is very confident?
For sure. I think they’re so well-prepared. When I came in I was learning and searching. The newer generation has come so well-prepared.
You are doing a lot of cool films now.
I haven’t thought of it that way. But yes, I haven’t done films like Game, Dum Maaro Dum and Players in a while. But cool or no, each film has to be a challenge. So far I’ve been lucky.
I’d like to do only one film at a time, get that out of the way and then produce another film
With Balki’s Paa you’ve turned into a successful producer.
We’ve just started a new production Bbuddah with my father in the lead. It’s directed by one of my favourite directors from the South, Puri Jagannath. I’d like to do only one film at a time, get that out of the way and then produce another film.
What other films are you starring in?
Yash Raj’s Dhoom 3, Tarun Mansukhani’s Dostana 2, Ram Gopal Varma’s Department and Rohit Shetty‘s Bol Bachchan. Thankfully, my hands are full in the coming year.