By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Amitabh Bachchan speaks to Subhash K Jha about Kapil Sharma, the Chopras, the children and Yo Yo Honey Singh
Q: Kapil Sharma can’t stop raving about your presence on his show. How was that experience?
I see his program often and have enjoyed his show immensely. When asked to promote our film on his show, I did feel it would be a daunting task, but the comfort level that he extends to all his guests along with his team calms apprehensive nerves. I have enjoyed myself thoroughly being on ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’, as I am sure many others have too. He has a great sense of humor and repartee in is own inimitable style. I can only wish him the very best. Had not laughed so much in a long time, as I did on his show.
Another film Bhootnath Returns is on release. This time your co-star is a child actor.From the time you sang Mere paas aao in Mr Natwarlal, you’ve shared a very special rapport with your young fans?
‘Child is the Father of man’ said Wordsworth, and not without reason. Yes, working with children has been a wonderful experience. They are unpredictable and spontaneous, completely innovative and a joy to be with. Parth, who plays the little boy in Bhootnath Returns(BR) is a commensurate performer, a mature artist and the hero of the film. Even seasoned professionals sometimes are unable to convincingly go through the gamut of emotions that this boy has in ‘BR’. He is an exceptional young man.
What was Parth Bhalerao like to work with? How different is it working with a child co-star from an adult co-star?
As I just said, his performance does not look like that of a child. He performs as an adult, mature and confident and full of self-belief, completely uninhibited, a rare quality !
Your association with Mr B R Chopra’s banner goes back to Zameer?
Ravi has been unwell for several years now and bed-ridden. It has been painful to see him in such condition. Not for me or for the film or for any other, I hope that the film does well. It would give him some respite.
How do you manage to keep the faith alive for so many decades?
I think ‘manage’ is a rather harsh word when we talk of relationships. In creative processes what matters is the value of the content, and of course the confidence that each party has on the ability of the other. Ravi Chopra made his directorial debut with Zameer and has remained a friend since then. We may not have worked together for a long time since, but the relationship has been constant. Then when he came with Baghbaan we readily agreed, followed by Baabul and Bhoothnath and now BR.
You’re about to start Piku with Shoojit Sircar where you share screen space with Irrfan Khan for the first time. He expresses immense excitement at the prospect of working with you?
Shoojit and I have worked together very often, first in commercials that he directed, and then in a film that lies unreleased with the producers .There is a mutual respect that we share. We have discussed many subjects for feature-films on and off, and now finally he wishes to make Piku, which we start in a month or so. I look forward to working with him again. Irrfan is a talent most rare. I have loved all his work immensely. Even the work he does in commercials. I am equally excited to be in the same frame as him.
You’ve been characteristically generous in your praise for recent films specially Vikas Behl’s Queen and its leading lady Kangna Ranaut?
Today’s generation of talent is a revelation to me. They are all exceptionally good. In their very first film they exhibit a completeness which surprises me and fills me too with great admiration. Yes, Kangna, Alia and Parineeti ,Ranveer Singh,Ranbir Kapoor,Arjun Kapoor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Richa Chadha the list exciting new talent is endless .. Are all exceptional. It is a joy for me to see their work their dedication and their performance. How wonderful to be living at a time to witness this, and at times to be a part of their creativity. Yes, I am moved sufficiently to acknowledge their work personally, have not been able to stop myself from doing so.
Do you feel 2014 is an exciting year for Hindi cinema specially women-oriented films?
Women-oriented films have been our pride for long. Nargisji, Nutan ji, Meena Kumari ji through the years and Hema ji, Jaya and many more have been associated with women-oriented films. Why, the last couple of years itself saw Vidya Balan in a few and some films made and directed by women. Women have always been an integral part of cinema in India and shall continue to be so. Each year is an exciting year, why just 2014? And may it continue to flourish as it has now, for over a 100 years !
You jammed with Yo Yo Honey Singh for a song in Bhootnath Returns. Please tell me about the experience.
Honey Singh is a super talent. He’s a musician , singer, lyric writer and a performer. I heard of him from my grandchildren and loved his music. When Bhushan Kumarji suggested a song in the film from him I was thrilled. The younger generation loves him and his music. I hope they enjoy this number in BR too.
Besides Piku which are the other film projects that you’ve agreed to take on?
I start R. Balki’s film this month and shall go on with that for a couple along with Shoojit’s Piku. There is simultaneously work being concluded on the TV serial that I am doing with Endemol , Anurag Kashyap and his team for Sony. That shall be followed by KBC and by the end of the year there will be Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s production with Farhan, being directed by Bejoy Nambiar. Sudhir Mishra’s Mehrunissa and a few others are also on, and shall take shape early next year ..