Saturday, August 22, 2015

Abhishek Bachchan

“All we do as a generation is blame people”

By Ankita R. Kanabar
(From the August 22, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)
He says we’re becoming a generation of complainers which is true because how often do we meet people who don’t whine or crib? No wonder then, that he chooses to see the positive side of things, and urges people to do so through his tweets about ‘belief’ and ‘faith’ time and again. When sleep-deprived, he says, ‘Sleep is for the weak’; when injured, he says, ‘pain is just a state of mind’. Well, either he is crazy or an eternal optimist. Meet Abhishek Bachchan. Being the owner or rather cheerleader for the Jaipur Pink Panthers has kept him busy, apart from the promotions for his latest release ‘All Is Well’. Amidst all that, he makes time for a quick chat. Excerpts:
Photo credit : Rohan Shrestha
You might have moved into ‘All Is Well’ from ‘Happy New Year’. Does a character in a slice-of-life film like this come more naturally to you than a Nandu Bhide where there’s less scope for relatability?
I was actually shooting for both the films simultaneously. After my first schedule of ‘Happy New Year’ in Dubai, I started shooting ‘All Is Well’. So, it’s been much delayed. We didn’t shoot the film for almost a year and resumed it only in January this year. But I think what’s brilliant about Umesh Shukla’s writing is that everyone can draw a parallel to their own life. So you can easily relate to what he’s saying. Even when I was doing the film, I was only hoping that people would see the scenes and find them similar to what’s happening in their lives.
While the film is largely about this family’s journey, did you also prepare to make the musician part of your character look authentic?
I learnt how to play the guitar when I was a kid, I’m not very good with it, because I’ve not kept up with it. Hence, I knew the basics. But honestly, we didn’t lay much emphasis on the characterisation because the film is an emotional journey of a father and son and we wanted to be very true to the emotion of the script. Umesh was very clear about that because he is someone who pays more attention getting the feel right. So we just did a lot of reading and rehearsals which we do for all our films.
Talking of emotions, which has been the most draining film for you in that sense?
In the last 15 years, the most difficult film I’ve done, emotionally and physically would be ‘Raavan’. It took a huge toll on me.
You’ve also worked with some wonderful actors over the years…does having great co-stars put you at ease rather than add pressure, because acting is a lot about reacting? 
Absolutely! Your scene and your performance, is as good as your co-stars. No actor can perform brilliantly in isolation. You need to someone to bounce-off; you need someone to react to. When you work with great actors your performance automatically goes up two notches higher. I definitely believe that your co-stars make a gigantic difference to your performance.
Does your choice of films depend on your state of mind at that point? For instance, because we evolve as individuals, the choices we’ve made a few years ago might seem wrong at this point…
Possibly! That does happen. Sometimes a movie takes a very long time to be made and by the time it’s released, you’ve moved on and are in a different mind state. But then you have to also think as a professional. I’ve never really been in a situation where I’ve been at a crossroad thinking ‘Oh what do I do now?’ But that does happen a lot of times.
While you’re so involved with Pro Kabaddi and ISL, as much as your films, is shifting gears a bit of a problem sometimes?
I guess with time you learn to schedule or prioritise things and in that process, just become more efficient to get work done. I’ve been juggling with Pro Kabaddi and the promotions of ‘All Is Well’ since the last few days, now I’ll be flying to London to shoot ‘Housefull 3’, and I’m enjoying all of it. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at compartmentalising (smiles).

You recently initiated this ‘Be positive’ hashtag on Twitter. Is that something you’ve been wanting to do for a while or was it rather instinctive?
I was on my way to Pune for one of our matches, so I was reading tweets and felt that all we do on social media is complain. ‘Oh I’m stuck in a traffic jam or the potholes are so bad, so on and so forth.’ I’m not saying people shouldn’t air their views, but I feel that once in a while, people should be positive as well. We’re becoming a generation of complainers. Whenever people start raging about the lack of infrastructure or lack of anything, I feel that all we do as a generation is blame people. I always take examples. I love this quote of John F. Kennedy which says, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ I felt, why do people always rage or rant on Twitter? It feels so good when once in a while you see something positive. So, I was like, ‘hey let’s be positive for a change!’ I hope it made some difference. 

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