Hungry for more

Hungry for more

Bollywood buzz

Hungry for more

Fifteen years after Refugee, Abhishek Bachchan’s desire to excel and be the best has never diminished. The long struggle of four years of flops has burnished the man personally and professionally, akin to the proverbial diamond. Come Hum Tum, the three blockbusters in the Dhoom franchise, Phir Milenge, Sarkar and Sarkar Raj, Bunty Aur Babli, Bluffmaster!, Guru, Dostana, Delhi-6, Paa, Dum Maaro Dum, Bol Bachchan and Happy New Year, the desire to be different in every character has only increased. And as we all know, he has also been a successful, money-savvy producer (Paa, Bbuddah... Hoga Terra Baap) as well.

New horizons

We begin our chat on this note, and Abhishek thanks us for this assessment and says, “I think that the best way for me is to look for new things and higher standards. I want to explore new horizons. I am hungry to do good work in diverse films and have never been complacent. If I do get so, that is the day I should stop acting.”

He is sincerely grateful to the audience and the media support for a fantastic 15-year journey. “I want to thank you all, for without your support, all this would not have been possible. I do not want to trade in anything from this ride, and I would like you guys to give me another 15 years at least in the profession.”

Abhishek’s latest release, T-Series’ All Is Well¸ has hit the screens. This is said to be a modern-day version of the classic Shravan Kumar story in Hindu mythology. “Actually, director Umesh Shukla has based this unique tale around the old fable,” he lets on. “In the film, I am actually a selfish son, and it is only later that I become a good and idealistic beta.”

All his memories of a fun association with Chintu uncle (Rishi Kapoor) from the films starring his father Amitabh Bachchan with him from the ‘70s to the ‘90s crystallised into an unforgettable experience while on the sets. This was their most intimate screen combination after Hum Tum and Delhi-6 and, since all we get is 10 minutes on the phone, Abhishek succinctly puts it this way: “It was an honour to spend so much time with Chintu uncle.”

As for his other co-stars, it is believed that he hit it off fabulously with his on-screen mom Supriya Pathak Kapoor and even taught her to discover new aspects of her cellphone and initiated her into online social media. Time constraints loom again and he quickly summarises: “She is such a fine actor.”

With Asin, it was an easy transition from sister in Bol Bachchan to romantic co-star here. “We are all actors, and it does not matter what roles we get to play,” he declares. “My father has been son to one of his most frequent heroines, Raakhee-ji, in Shakti. Yes, a real-life rapport enhances work together, as it happened with Chintu uncle too, though in films we sometimes have to be buddies on screen even if we do not get along with someone.”

A fresh pairing in All Is Well is of his special dance number with Sonakshi Sinha. Since their families have known each other for decades, how was their equation? “If you are asking me whether I knew her well earlier, no, I did not. But she’s such a wonderful girl and I do hope to work with her in my future films.”

Looking ahead

Abhishek echoes the same enthusiasm when asked what he thinks of the girls from GenY — Shraddha Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Alia Bhatt and Kriti Sanon. “They are all brilliant and I would want to work with them,” he says, neither confirming nor denying a forthcoming film with one of them.

A key feature of his career, in the many multi-hero and ensemble cast films that he has done, is not to be overshadowed by others and often stealing the thunder himself. Does he specifically work at that? “No way. Films are about staying true to your story, script and character,” he replies promptly.

About his new initiative on Twitter, the hash-tag #BePositive, he is happy that he has set in a train of thought that is about “not just complaining”. “I am glad this was trending for over 24 hours and been supported by so many people,” he says.

The actor is upbeat about his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s return to acting in Jazbaa. “The first look of this film is exciting, emotional and hard-hitting and I know that she will do a great job,” he says.

What does he have to say about endorsing kabaddi through his Pro Kabbadi team, Jaipur Pink Panthers? Of course, he has already spoken a lot to the media, so is there anything he can add? “I am glad to be a pioneer, for this is India’s own sport that is played by over 36 countries — much more than the nations that play cricket. I am thrilled that kabaddi is growing from year to year,” he sums up.

Abhishek is now set to do Housefull 3 and Hera Pheri 3. Does he have any game plan for his career, or any ambitions about newer (for him) filmmakers on his wish-list?

“I do not think that such things can be decided or planned in any way beforehand,” he replies. “I would obviously like to work with every good director, and as a creative person, I would like to be still around 15 or more years later.”