Actor Amitabh Bachchan. Photo: AP
Actor Amitabh Bachchan. Photo: AP

Amitabh Bachchan | Today’s generation is a league apart from ours

The internationally-acclaimed actor speaks about his life and work just before he turns 73 on 11 October

New Delhi: In a career spanning four-and-a-half decades, actor Amitabh Bachchan has seen the best and worst of stardom. A 15-year undisputed reign at the box office was followed by a sabbatical and some confused film choices, before he made a comeback in the new millennium having reinvented himself. This year, his 46th in the industry, he continued to warm hearts with his turn as the hypochondriac father in Shoojit Sircar’s Piku. His tryst with television continues as well—he will soon appear on Star Plus with Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi. In an email interview, the internationally-acclaimed actor, India’s most popular television host and the face of numerous brands spoke about his life and his work just before he turns 73 on 11 October. Edited excerpts:

You have a new television show called Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi coming up on Star Plus. How is it to collaborate with the channel yet again? What is the show about?

Yes, Aaj ki Raat Hai Zindagi is a new venture on Star Plus, and it’s good to be back with them after a while, albeit temporarily for I am still contracted with Sony for Kaun Banega Crorepati and have to complete that. Life is beautiful despite many obstacles that we face, and this is what the essence of the show is.

It was reported that you’re personally looking into every aspect of the show—from creative to content. How is the preparation going?

It’s always a joy to be involved in different aspects of a creative project that one is committed to, and this one is no less. From music to the structure of presentation and some additional ideas, it’s always good to share things with the team. If they are approved, fine. If not, you just follow what the team wants.

Piku was loved universally and is one of the most acclaimed films this year. What do you think worked most for it?

I think it connected with every home and family. It was a slice of life from almost every individual’s daily routine. The writing was brilliant and the “not to fuss" vibe about its presentation, by Shoojit Sarkar, the director, was what made it work, I guess. There was no story, just events and chatter over the course of a few days in the life of Baba Bhaskor Bannerji and Piku, his daughter.

Be it Piku, Shamitabh or the upcoming Wazir, what do you look for when you sign a film today? Over the years, has the criterion changed in any way?

I do not look for anything. I just look for another job. And I am grateful that I get one.

When you invest time and effort into pre-release marketing and promotion today, do you get reminded of the time when films would be released without these imperatives? Does it ever exhaust you?

Times have changed and one has to change with time. Marketing has become an essential tool to strengthen the commercial prospects of any film. When you have just one weekend to recover your investment, you or those who are involved with the film need to promote and put the product out there in the most effective way possible. It is exhausting, but you have to feel the exhaustion of the investor, too.

You’re a hugely popular brand ambassador and fans and audiences are likely to take seriously anything you choose to endorse. Is that a consideration when you choose your brands?

I am not a hugely popular brand ambassador or anywhere near such an accolade. I just do what is asked of me. Some of it works, some does not.

How do you make time for your blog and social media presence regularly?

If you find time, time shall have time for you.

Given your hectic work schedule, what do you look forward to the most at the end of a long day or week?

Sleep.

Do you get time to see new films? Which have been your favourite films and performances this year so far?

Yes, I do. And a lot of interesting films are being made these days. I marvel at the makers and those who perform in them. I am most impressed and in awe of the talent that connects with our audiences today. It would be very difficult and unfair to pick an individual choice, but suffice to say that today’s generation is a league apart from ours. That is a compliment to them and a challenge to us.

Is there something you’re most grateful for this year?

Yes, of course. That I still breathe.

Is there something in particular that you’ve learnt this past year? Do you have any regrets?

There are no regrets at all. In fact, every nano-second is a lesson on life and the world. The more one exists, the greater is the capacity to gather more knowledge.

Any wishes for the coming year?

Yes. Dear Lord, protect and save me from the perils of self expression.

Close