In 2020, Abhishek Bachchan made a successful foray into the OTT space with Amazon Prime Video’s Breathe: Into the Shadows. He was also lauded for his role in Anurag Basu’s Ludo. Looking back at the year, he feels “blessed to have been offered a spectrum of roles” and is happy that “people are liking my work”. But, the actor maintains he’s not the one to rest on laurels and wishes to entertain in the coming year as well.
In this exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, Abhishek shares what he learnt in 2020, and his goals for 2021.
How do you look back at 2020? What is your biggest takeaway from the year?
It’s been a trying and a difficult year. The unprecedented situations that none of us has faced before have allowed everyone to sit down, reflect and ponder. The greatest thing this year has taught us is to evaluate our priorities. In this day and age, we are all running after success, but I think it’s also important to realise what success means to us individually and not what society perceives as success. Success might not be monetary gain, or happiness, or something materialistic. So, this year has taught me to prioritise what I really want to do and how I want to do it.
You were called the soul of your digital debut Breathe Into the Shadows. Then, you were appreciated for your performance in Ludo. How do you assess your performances?
Thank you for your appreciation. As an actor, there is nothing greater than getting appreciation and recognition for your work. I have always shied away from assessing my work as I have been my severest critic, and I believe most actors are. We all know whether we have done justice to our work, whether we have been honest with our work or whether we have given our best shot or not. We don’t like to admit it to ourselves when we haven’t, but an actor is the first and the best critic of himself/herself. We just need the ability and guts to speak about it publicly. Today, through social media and the critics we have, we get to hear how people assess our work, and that is as important as an actor assessing their own work. Certainly, an actor knows where he needs to improve, but at the end of the day we work for the audience, and it is the audience who has to assess our work and dictate if they like it or not. For me, the kind of response that I have received for Breathe and Ludo is encouraging. So now I have to work even harder to keep that up. You can’t rest on the laurels, and you have to keep surprising and entertaining the audience. That’s what I plan to do.
Are you satisfied with the kind of work you did this year?
I feel awkward talking about my work. I am just happy to do the kind of work that I am doing. I am blessed enough that people think me worthy enough to offer me a varied spectrum of roles, take for example, Breathe, Ludo, Bob Biswas and Big Bull. These are the four films that I have done this year and all of these are so different from each other. So, I am very happy and thankful to everybody.
What were your thoughts when you and your family were fighting with COVID-19 in the hospital?
I am genuinely a very positive person. I look at the brighter side of life. Even when me and the family were down with COVID-19, I was positive. Its kind of pointless to be negative about situations in life. It is better to stay positive in life, and that is the kind of person I am. What motivated me was the love and the wishes of well-wishers. I don’t know how will I repay them, but I am immensely thankful towards them.
Any show or film this year you wished you were a part of, and why?
I have always said there is a reason why a particular actor ends up doing a particular film. Sadly, we in India tend to put a lot of emphasis on which actor was offered the role before. I never like to do that. I think it is a matter of destiny and fate. I never wanted to replace another actor. I have never seen a film and said, ‘hey, I wish I could have done it,’ because I genuinely believe that actor has done a fantastic job and I don’t think I would have done a better job. So, there is no film or show that I wished I was a part of.
Your look in Bob Biswas gained a lot of attention and appreciation. What was your reaction to it? And, how was it to be back on a film set amid the pandemic?
I would have preferred for the look to be revealed through proper channels. But when you are shooting in public areas, it is not always possible to stop people from clicking pictures, and they make their way to social media. But the silver lining to this is that the reaction to it was unanimously positive and that’s a huge weight off my chest. Bob Biswas is a very popular character which I only realised after I signed the film. So I feel once you get the look right, it is half the battle won. I am happy that people approved of the look. That’s a huge boost for me and the film. At least the first move we made is in the right direction. Now we hope people like the film as well. Coming to working during the pandemic, well, it is different. We used to joke on the set that how everyone was in a PPE kit or mask and gloves, but only people left without these safety gears were the actors. However, apart from a depleted crew and taking all the precautions laid down by the government, it was good to be at work again.
View this post on Instagram
What are your goals for 2021?
To carry on working and continue making films. I am enjoying this phase of my life where people are offering me good work and people are liking my work. It’s a packed year already, and I am looking forward to more challenges. On a personal note, the goal that everyone should aspire towards is happiness and good health. These are unprecedented times, so I hope everyone stays healthy and happy. That is also very important. We have started chasing things that compromise happiness. But let’s not forget that we do what we do to put smiles on the faces of people we love, and the ultimate goal should be to stay happy.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines