Interviews

Success breeds refinery. And Amitabh Bachchan is showing it in the graceful way he courting his age and the white in his bearded distinction. The superstar pentagenarian's eyes haven't lost their intensity. The self-assurance and poise are intact. But the superstar has lost some weight. But it goes down well with his royal demeanour, as the Emperor of Indian Cinema worldwide. Not to add, the King of the small screen too now, with his super successful KBC. It's probably the reason why he is. That is why he is the most famous Indian alive. Grace personified. The legend is busy at the age when other actors of his era and time have either retired or are lost in the oblivion of a media eclipse. But the Big B seems to be forever young, forever re-incarnated. This time, bigger than ever. The only Indian star whose statue finds a place at the prestigious Madame Tussaud's museum in London's Baker street. His humility doesn't permit him to consider this as a personal achievement; he attributes it more to a triumph and an achievement for Indian cinema, in all his modesty. Over to the man himself. As he ponders over some of his more recent moments.

Filmfare Online: Year 2000 ended on a happy note for. So many exciting things happened in your personal and professional life?
Amitabh Bachchan: Yeah. I agree that last year proved to be lucky year for my family and me. My show on T.V was appreciated so were my films. At the same time my son Abhishek also made his debut. It was quite an exciting year with plenty happening. But I was always content with my life and career. I don't believe in sitting and complaining about life. Ups and downs are god-given things. One has to accept it as one accepts success. One cannot have the best of things all the time. So you see I was always happy with the way my career was moving on.
Filmfare Online: Today at your age you are busier than any other actors around?
Amitabh Bachchan: Well. I can't say anything about other actors but I'm just doing whatever I'm getting. At my age - and I'm close to 60 mind you - I can't possibly expect filmmakers to come with leading conventional roles to me. I can't ask for roles that young actors like Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan are doing. But I'm glad that filmmakers are coming with roles which are interesting and challenging for my age. So I'm excited about all my forthcoming projects.
" 'KBC' was not popular and successful because of me. It was the magic of the show itself. The format, set and music was responsible for the success"

Filmfare Online: How much credit do you give it to KBC for giving a new lease to your career?
Amitabh Bachchan: I don't know but 'KBC' certainly happened at the right time for me. At first I was a bit apprehensive about doing the show. I didn't know how people were going to react. I must admit that I was overwhelmed by the response the show has generated. It just goes to show how strong television as a medium is getting to be.
Filmfare Online: And in the process you made TV more popular, watchable and exciting?
Amitabh Bachchan: TV has always been popular. 'KBC' did not become popular and successful because of me. It was the magic of the show itself. The format, the set and the music were responsible for the success. Not to add, the huge prize money being offered for the first time via a TV based game show. And it aided your knowledge too. The show would have been successful no matter who hosted it. It was a team effort rather than one individual's effort.
Filmfare Online: : Now I think you are being modest?
Amitabh Bachchan: No. I'm not. That's a fact.
"In my long career as an actor I was never confident at any stage. I was always hesitant as to what will happen next in my career".

Filmfare Online: How long are you going to host the show?

Amitabh Bachchan: As of now a one or two-year contract with the Star Plus binds me. And during this time I cannot host any other game show on TV.

Filmfare Online: Tell us about the film you are doing with Jaya and Abhishek for Rakesh Mehra?

Amitabh Bachchan: It was Rakesh Mehra's idea to cast the three of us in a film together. The script is ready and the final negotiations are going on. Both Jaya and Abhishek should also have the require dates to make the commitment. I'm looking forward to working with my family.

"I agree that Abhishek's films were not so successful at the box office. So what, even my debut films were not successful?"

Filmfare Online: Seems like you must trust Rakesh Mehra a lot to give your nod on behalf of your family?

Amitabh Bachchan: Yes, I do agree that I'm comfortable working with Rakesh Mehra. I have been working with Rakesh Mehra for quite some time now. He was involved with all my BPL ads and also did my music video. I like his style of working He has put in a lot of effort in 'Aks.' He always comes out with new and innovative ideas.

Filmfare Online: What's your role in 'Aks'?

Amitabh Bachchan: The film has a very different and nice story. After a long time I'm getting a chance to play my age. I play a cop. I'm afraid I can't reveal more that this as it will hamper the story of the film. But it is an exciting new concept.

Filmfare Online: It seems you are playing a negative role in 'All The Best'

Amitabh Bachchan: Yeah, I agree that the role has a certain element of grey shades. But at the same time it is not a villainous kind of role. My role has been properly justified about why it turns negative in the film.

"Lately I have been little concerned about my age. I am 58 now and I can't run around like I used to do in my younger days."

Filmfare Online: Are more confident about your career after the success of 'KBC' and films like 'Mohabbatein'?

Amitabh Bachchan:In my long career as an actor I was never confident at any stage. I was always hesitant as to what would happen next in my career. But I am on that show now and my films have also been appreciated by the people. I am now more confident about the whole thing.

Filmfare Online: Do you agree that Abhishek went through a lean period in his career last year?

Amitabh Bachchan: Abhishek just started his career; he has a long way to go. In his debut film he has shown his capacity to perform. I agree that his films were not so successful at the box office. So what? Even my debut films were not successful. But he was appreciated in all his films, which is very important. Now he has some great films coming up with director like Sooraj Barjatya. And I am sure with time he will improve.

Filmfare Online: Do you advise him on his career?

Amitabh Bachchan: Not really. I give him the normal advise what a father gives to his son. When I first saw him I tell him where he needs to improve be it his hair or clothes. Sometimes I found his movements were wrong to a certain extent. And I discussed it with him. But he is an intelligent boy and quite capable of making the right choices.

Filmfare Online: Is it true that you are currently concentrating on revitalizing 'ABCL'?

Amitabh Bachchan: Yeah, we are on the verge of pulling out. There are lots of plans towards which we are working out. Soon we get involved will number of projects. It looks good.

Filmfare Online: You have worked hard around the clock for as far back as one can remember. Hasn't the thought of retiring and leading a peaceful life ever crossed your mind? Aren't you tired of working non-stop?

Amitabh Bachchan: You mean to say that I am not leading a peaceful life? Why should I retire when I enjoy my work? But yes, lately I have been little concerned about my age. I am 58 now and I can't run around like I used to do in my younger days. As age catches up one's physical capacity too keeps on decreasing with it. And expectations go up. It's almost impossible to live up to people's expectations.

Filmfare Online: You have often been accused of speaking in monosyllables in your interviews?

Amitabh Bachchan: That's not true. When a question requires a lengthy answer I do give one. And more than that its up to the respective journalist to extract what he wants from me.

Filmfare Online: Which are your forthcoming films?

Amitabh Bachchan: After 'Aks,' 'Ek Rishta' will release. Then I have 'All The Best', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.' Rakesh Mehra will make two films for my company AB Corp. With Aamir Khan I have a film, which he signed five years ago. Mansoor Khan will direct it. Quite a schedule.

Filmfare Online: What about the film with Mahesh Manjrekar?

Amitabh Bachchan: He has narrated a couple of subjects for Abhishek and me. But everything is in the initial process. It's too premature to talk about it. But I would love to work with him.
-- Gautam Buragohain

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