All I have to do is continue to focus on my work, actor Abhishek Bachchan tells Harshikaa Udasi, while discussing his latest comic caper, upcoming Dhoom 3 and his ability to handle failures

Abhishek Bachchan has been doing double duty. And we are not talking only about his dual role as actor and dad nowadays. For his Rohit Shetty film Bol Bachchan, the Bachchan scion gets under the skin of two diametrically opposite characters — Abbas Ali and Abhishek Bachchan! That famous surname seems to be getting even more popular. Asked what happened first, the title of the film or the casting, Abhishek flashes a smile that reveals a perfect set of ivories. “I think it was kind of decided that Ajay (Devgn, co-actor and co-producer) and Rohit (director) wanted me as Abbas and Abhishek. By that time, the title of the film was also frozen,” he says.

Bol Bachchan is a north Indian slang for someone who tells tall tales. The story of the film revolves around a character who has to resort to telling lies as he is cornered. Delhi boy Abbas Ali (Abhishek) comes to a village with his sister in search of work. He finds work with a pehelwan who is a lie-hater (Ajay) but has to lie to him given certain circumstances. What ensues is a hilarious comedy with Ajay falling in love with Abhishek’s sister (Asin) and Abbas’ fabricated non-existent ‘twin’ falling in love with Ajay’s sister.

Comedy after action

Post a slew of action thrillers (Game, Players and Dum Maaro Dum), Abhishek is back on the comic circuit after a long time (Dostana, 2008). Does he enjoy it more than the other genres? “I don’t think actors can choose one over the other. I simply enjoy whatever I am doing,” he says, easing into his seat.

While the basic concept for Bol Bachchan has been borrowed from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s classic film Gol Maal, it has been changed totally for a new flavour. Abhishek says the classic wasn’t a reference point for actors at all. In fact, he says it took him a good ten days to get under the skin of the characters he was playing. That seems strange for an actor who is blessed with a good sense of humour. (Even while giving interviews, it is difficult for Abhishek to rein in the laughs. He keeps cracking one-liners to guffaws from all present.) “I know, but my sense of humour is very different. It’s more deadpan. So my interpretation of the role was very different from what was required. For Bol Bachchan, we needed physical humour too. Rohit and Ajay had to tutor me to get that sort of high-octane performance. It was very difficult to sustain the energy levels for both my characters.” Apart from the moustached yarn-spinning accountant of the body builder, Abhishek plays a kathak teacher in the film. “He had to be so different from the regular guy that we had to give him these genteel characteristics. He is flamboyant and hence the floral prints and the stance and gait.”

Successful franchisee film

Abhishek is eagerly awaiting the shoot of Dhoom 3, his most successful franchisee film, where he plays one of the two permanent characters, ACP Jai Dixit. “Jai and Ali are Dhoom. I don’t think there can be Dhoom without them. They are very popular with the kids and I am waiting to join the team again. Uday (Chopra, who plays the character Ali) is also a dear friend and it’s fun bonding with him. And we are only too happy to welcome Aamir (Khan, who plays the villain this time) into the fold!” he says.

Asked if he is a diaper-changing expert by now, he laughs. “I know how to change one definitely!” Would he have preferred a quieter childhood for his daughter? “I am sure we are capable of giving our daughter a normal childhood. Our parents brought us up like regular kids and we can do the same. We’ll balance it out and manage to keep our sanity intact,” he says, brushing off the undue attention wife Aishwarya got throughout her pregnancy and after it and daughter Aaradhya is getting.

The actor, who has been waiting for a hit since his last film as actor and producer, Paa, in 2009, says he faces failures and successes with equal tenacity. “I keep what I call my most-trusted ‘duck’ face; looking all composed on the outside while I am paddling furiously within the waters,” he says, trying to joke about it too. “See, you have to realise why people are talking about my failures. Why do they want to know whether my next film will work or not? It’s because I am an actor. I am in the public eye. Had I not been popular, none of this shebang would have existed. So all I have to do is continue working. That’s it.”

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