sulabh swatchh bharat

Saturday, 17-November-2018

Interview: Amitabh Bachchan

He is always there in the headlines of newspapers, not even missing a single day, as if there is no end of things happening around him. Perhaps this makes more challenging to have a conversation with him and that too with relevant and novel questions. Big B spoke exclusively to Sulabh Swachh Bharat’s Gopa C

“My fans’ image of me is the final word”

Have you ever thought of taking retirement from acting?
When I will be 75, my body will weaken and hence obviously my stamina will reduce, and then I will do selective work. But if the audiences want to make me to step down before that time, their wish will be my command.
 
I am told you have set up a huge library in your bungalow ‘Jalsa’?
It is not really huge, big but you will find a collection of some very good books in my library. I inherited this habit from my father (the legendary poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan). Babuji used to read a lot. I am an avid reader too. However, due to lack of time, I haven’t read many of the books that I have purchased a long time back. But when I start reading a book, I don’t stop till I finish it.
 
In many interviews, you have shared your special sentiments for Calcutta…
Well, that is but natural. I remember that the first time when Babuji (father, poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan) and I reached Calcutta, he took me straight to watch a football match. That is when I witnessed Calcutta’s football mania. 
My first job, too, was in Calcutta, and I still recollect that never ever had I felt like an alien in that city. I grew up in the strict confines of Allahabad, so the sense of freedom that Calcutta offered me cannot be forgotten. 
 
It is there that you also met the cinema maestro Satyajit Ray, isn’t it.
True. However, it is a regret that I could not work with him much. He had said he wanted me to play the lead role in his proposed film, ‘Aryaner Deen Ratri’, but that never took shape. However, I am still lucky because I could do the narration for his film, ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi”
 
You have had a ‘never-say-die’ career, where you are still the ‘Badshah’. Does it make you anxious that people might someday forget you?
I am absolutely free from such anxieties. It is not only me. Every single actor or actress is well aware of the fact that a time comes when people forget you. Our careers depend on the fact of how long you appear on the screen. The moment you are away from their eyes, people forget you. 
 
Once Dharmendra was standing outside a theatre and nobody recognised him. Touched by that incident he wrote a heart broken poem…
He was quite honest to express his emotions for not being recognised.
Your working capacity really hides your age and ill health?
It is like a compliment for me. It is a wonderful experience. If my body allows me to work how can I sit at home? Doing different roles and acting in front of the camera is what I most adore. I like my profession, so I will certainly work till my health is fine.
 
Do you miss those special friends who are no more in this world, or may be not your friend anymore?
It is indispensable to have friends to live this life.But many a times I am happy alone. I miss my friend Rajiv Gandhi quite often.
 
Whenever you work with a serious actor in a particular film, is your presence or acting compared with him?
Such comparisons never disappoint me. I know that it is an interesting subject for media, but for us it has no significance, as there are some great actors apart me like Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar and many others. But when I am compared to a legendary actor like Dilip Sahab (Dilip Kumar) I feel embarrassed, as I learned a lot while working with him.I remember while reviewing the film Shakti a critic praised me a lot. I found it odd for the first time.
 
Your popular image of angry young man is still an attraction. In the film ‘Buddha Hoga Tera Baap’, you seemed to relive that image…
See, there are a few stereotypes in commercial cinema that cannot be changed. It is not surprising that you find my image of the angry young man in some of my roles these days. In commercial movies the choice of the audience stands above everything else.
 
How much does it satisfy your artistic instincts?
Those countless fans who have exalted me to cross such milestone, my satisfaction is in their choice. If they like any particular image of mine it will naturally appear in the script, more or less in all the roles. Moreover how can I forget that it is the audience which has also encouraged me in many different roles. 
 
Such comparisons never disappoint me. I know that it is an interesting subject for media, but for us it has no significance, as there are some great actors apart me like Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar and many others. But when I am compared to a legendary actor like Dilip Sahab (Dilip Kumar) I feel embarrassed, as I learned a lot while working with him.I remember while reviewing the film Shakti a critic praised me a lot. I found it odd for the first time.
 
Your popular image of angry young man is still an attraction. In the film ‘Buddha Hoga Tera Baap’, you seemed to relive that image…
See, there are a few stereotypes in commercial cinema that cannot be changed. It is not surprising that you find my image of the angry young man in some of my roles these days. In commercial movies the choice of the audience stands above everything else.
 
How much does it satisfy your artistic instincts?
Those countless fans who have exalted me to cross such milestone, my satisfaction is in their choice. If they like any particular image of mine it will naturally appear in the script, more or less in all the roles. Moreover how can I forget that it is the audience which has also encouraged me in many different roles.