Amitabh Bachchan, who plays a flamboyant gangster in his new film, tells Harshikaa Udasi he is open to all genres
You've got to hand it to him. Amitabh Bachchan has a knack of grabbing you by your neck and making you notice whatever he does. Currently the via media is his film Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap (BHTB) releasing on July 1. Co-produced by AB Corp and Viacom 18 under the direction of Puri Jagannadh, this can be added to the list of films written specially for him such as Paa, Cheeni Kum, Nishabd and Sarkar. “You give me more credit than I deserve. I'm happy that some roles come my way. I do not demand that something special be written for me. I just listen to the offers and decide what to do with them,” says the veteran.
The colloquial title, loosely translated as ‘Your father must be old' (not me!), has been the director's input. Clad in loud floral print shirts, colourful scarves, leather jackets, cool eyewear and printed denims and riding high on his Harley Davidson, the sexagenarian hardly qualifies to be called a ‘bbuddah' (an old man). Question him about his new dress code, and he laughs, “Yes the dress has attracted some comment. I think it was the brief given by the director to the designer (Leepakshi Ellawadi).”
The Vijay factor
BHTB is the story of an ex-gangster, now living out of the country, and being brought back to Mumbai on a mission for one last job. How he comes face-to-face with his past and his subsequent change of heart form the plot. The character is largely being portrayed as a revival of the angry young man of the Seventies, Vijay, in a new, stylised avatar. The actor has played ‘Vijay' in at least a dozen films to the effect that it has attained iconic status. But Amitabh downplays the image saying, “I am not so sure whether ‘Vijay' is an iconic character or not; yes I was called Vijay in some of the films I acted in, but that's about it. Director Puri Jagannadh came to me with the concept and I agreed because I liked the idea. It never occurred to me that it was being looked at as a revival of sorts.”
Also he does not agree that this character is an assorted mix of his various Vijays. He says, “The film is not an assortment of previous angry young man roles. It has a story of its own. The publicity design philosophy hinted at that assortment and perhaps that's why you ask this question.” Amitabh would like to see his role as that of a gangster “who is flamboyant, cool with just a touch of arrogance and panache! He has an emotional streak too.”
The tongue-in-cheek dialogues of the film have already created a sensation, especially the line, “Yeh aajkal ke bacche log…” hinting possibly at the current crop of heroes. Quiz him if he wants to send out a signal to the new generation about not messing up with the veterans, and he says, “It is part of the character's nature. It is not meant to offend anyone. But I shall leave it to the audience to decide whether the scene demanded it or not.”
With the serious issue-based film Aarakshan releasing just a month after BHTB, people are going to see him in two diametrically opposite roles. Is he concerned about audience acceptance? “Yes, I think actors shall have to perennially deal with this factor of acceptance. If a role is worthy of performance, I would like to go with it irrespective of expectations. Sometimes though, I must confess, it does not turn out right,” he says.
After the heart-warming Paa, this zany, action thriller is the next film that's coming from his home banner AB Corp. Amitabh reveals the company, which is growing from strength to strength, is interested in subjects as diverse as possible. “We are moving gradually but cautiously, and are open to all kinds of genres,” he says.