Life would be dull without challenges

Amitabh Bachchan gestures to the audience as actor Jackie Chan applauds during an audio release function of Tamil movie Dasavathaaram in the southern Indian city of Chennai

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Published: Mon 28 Apr 2008, 12:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:45 PM

“HI, I’M Amitabh Bachchan,” says the voice that needs no introduction, as he gives you a firm handshake. Suave, dapper and charming, the thorough professional shows no signs of fatigue despite the long evening spent at the audio launch function of Dasavatharam.

Reacting to the clipping he saw of the film earlier, he says, “Kamal Haasan is truly remarkable. He keeps experimenting and coming up with new ideas. He has played 10 different roles and you can’t make out one from the other! He is setting great challenges for us actors to reach. I wish him all the best. It looks like a great film.”

LINKS WITH THE SOUTH

Big B’s links with Chennai, by his own admission, go back a long way. “I have worked with a lot of production houses like Gemini, AVM and others. The Southern actors like MGR, Sivaji, Gemini Ganesan, Jayalalitha and others always treated me with great respect and love. I was very humbled when MGR undertook a difficult penance in a temple for my good health, when I had a major accident in 1982. He was a great personality.” Bachchan recounts how he used to touch the feet of Sivaji Ganesan whenever he met him. “I admired him as an actor and I was a big fan. I acted in the Hindi remake of his Kai Kudutha Deivam and I was amazed by the energy and intensity of his performance.”

Bachchan can’t help but notice the mob frenzy that is generated when stars in the South meet fans. “I have travelled with Rajini and Kamal and the patronage they receive from fans is incredible. They are loved not just as actors but as human beings. Even Rajkumar, Mammooty and Mohanlal are such down-to-earth and warm people.”

FILMS AND THE MAN

The Bollywood film, Bhoothnath where he plays a friendly ghost who befriends a child who is kind to him, is what AB will be seen in next. Bachchan is also considering Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next venture. If he were offered a role in Tamil films, the Big B says, “I would like to say my own lines.” No dubbing for him! Would he consider acting in a movie along with Jackie Chan, Rajini and Kamal? “Sure, bring me a proposal first!” he replies.

BIG B’S FUNDAS

From brand endorsements to films, promos, interviews and world tours, life for Big B is a whirlwind of activity. Is there a special diet he follows which keeps him energised to face his day? “Everyone is busy these days so there’s nothing special about my day,” he shrugs modestly. Probe a bit deeper and he admits, “Maybe it’s diet control that keeps me energised. I follow a regimen and have controlled eating habits. I don’t drink and smoke nor do I have sweets. I have given up a lot of things.”

If there is one thing the Big B has faced in abundance, it’s challenges. Being in the public eye has drawn him into the eye of many a storm. Is there anything he would change about his life, were he given a chance? “No, I wouldn’t want to change anything. Life would be very dull without challenges,” he says thoughtfully. With the inclusion of Aishwarya in the Bachchan household, how does Big B view his role as father-in-law? “ It’s another phase of life. We feel we have another daughter at home and we love having her with us,” he replies.

ON A NOSTALGIA TRIP

He has been visiting Chennai for decades. How does he view the changes in the city? “I see a lot of progress. There are a lot of flashy buildings. But I miss the old Madras. It used to be a lot quieter. Today the pace seems more hectic. But then everything in India is becoming like that,” he signs off nostalgically.



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