Time stands still when Amitabh Bachchan walks in and the same could be seen at the Connaught Place, New Delhi where the team of ‘Shamitabh‘ – Big B, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan had to come for their promotional duties.
A horde of fans thronged the streets of the venue as soon as they came to know that their most favourite star would visit the place. And he entered the hall in his own enigmatic and magnetic style carrying his unqiue sense of humour.
He started the meet with the story of his soon-to-release movie. ‘Shamitabh’ revolves around a mute actor played by Dhanush, a director Akshara Haasan and a ‘wasted’ man reprised by Big B himself. The one thing that Amitabh Bachchan’s character hasn’t quite wasted in the movie is his voice, the baritone that ‘Shamitabh’ is a tribute too, as said by the director R Balki.
The premise might seem easy. But shooting for it wasn’t such. “Since, almost all of the movie is in my voice, I had to record the entire script before going to the sets. Balki and I used to sit in the studio and do the recording. Then Dhanush and I matched the facial expressions listening to that recording. Sometimes the voice had to be recorded again. The whole process was very tedious,” said Amitabh Bachchan.
With the times, movie making has seen a lot of changes too. Comparing the movies and technology of yore with that of the present, Amitabh Bachchan said, “The technology has evolved so much. There wasn’t any social media before, nor was telephony or cell phones. Cinema has seen so many changes in itself. And hence the kind of roles, I am playing. At my age, I can’t be romancing young women. I am offered to play roles which suit my age. And that’s fine.”
But why would he say that? Amitabh Bachchan achieved the rare feat of giving a solo hit movie ‘Bhoothnath Returns’ “at this age”. Big B humbly replied, “I am grateful to the directors and producers that they make such kind of movie and come to me with such offers. But there’s a limit to the roles, I can play now. And one has to accept it.”
Amitabh Bachchan is completing his trilogy with R Balki with ‘Shamitabh’ after ‘Cheeni Kum’ and ‘Paa’, which made him win his third national award for playing a progeric child. He feels Balki is always refreshing to work with.
“It’s my third film with Balki and in all his films I played different characters. It’s always refreshing to work with him. In ‘Shamitabh’ too he tried to do something different. Abhishek saw ‘Shamitabh’ the other day and felt that it’s his best work till date,” he said.
Big B is also quite excited about his cricket commentary stint, as he would be joining the likes of Harsha Bhogle and Kapil Dev for the highly-awaited February 15 match. “I am excited about the live commentary and I will be joined by Harsha Bhogle and Kapil Dev. I am taking tips from them and getting all the ‘mid-off and mid-on’ right,” said an excited Big B.
“This is all Balki’s decision as there is an integration between the sports broadcasters and the makers of ‘Shamitabh’. As the film is releasing just a week ahead of the World Cup, we are just cashing in on the timing,” he added.
‘Shamitabh’, in a way, bears a close resemblance to the Indian Film Industry, as there is a section of stars which always gets overshadowed by what’s seen and visible on the screens. Amitabh Bachchan feels that the movie tells the story of all those people.
“It is a statement about our film industry and life. The film will see many directors and actors who are playing themselves in the film. The film revolves around voice,” he said.
There can never be a dull moment with Big B around. Not only did he turn translator for Akshara Haasan and Dhanush, he also pitched in as and when the two actors, who are new to the Bollywood photogs, ran out of responses.
Amitabh Bachchan uses the analogy of ‘Scotch’ and ‘water’ in the trailer to dynamics of ‘Shamitabh’. So, when Dhanush was asked about who the ‘Scotch’ and ‘water’ is, in real life, Big B pitched in and said, “‘Kyunki main toh peeta nahin hoon, issliye Scotch bhi yahi hain, aur paani bhi’ (Since I am a teetotaler, he is the Scotch and he is the water).”
Directed by R Balki, ‘Shamitabh’ portrays the personality clash between the dependent and the host. It’s slated to release on February 6.
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