Amitabh Bachchan made his debut in 1969 with Saat Hindustani and yes, this year marks his golden jubilee in the film industry. He is currently looking forward to the release of Badla that reunites him with director Sujoy Ghosh and co-star of PINK - Taapsee Pannu. We got an opportunity to have a tête-à-tête in which he shared his thoughts on various things ranging from his film to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Badla brings you and Taapsee together, again, in a most unusual and unexpected combination. That you and she can be cast in the lead, is that a sign of the maturation of Hindi cinema?
I am not the lead in the film. I am just another performer. Credit titles adhere to the age-old formula of bringing the names up with regard to age and seniority in the industry. Indian Cinema has never been mature!
How different was it working with Taapsee this time as compared to Pink? She tells me she had loads of fun shooting with you and can't wait to do a film with you again.
Taapsee is a competent and comprehensive artist. It has been a joy working with her. I am humbled by her remark!
Sujoy Ghosh and you go back a long way - to his very first film Alladin. How much has he evolved as a filmmaker?
Sujoy is an intelligent mind and he brings that to the forefront when he is creating.
It's really amazing how far your spectrum of influence spreads from a director's first film to the summer of his career. Do you ever feel you have completed 50 years in Hindi cinema?
These issues have never been of any interest to me. The affection and love and blessings of the audience are all that matters. That is most important for me, nothing else.
2019 has already given us some remarkable films like Uri, Gully Boy and Sonchiriya. What did you think of these films? Can we hope for Badla to be as remarkable?
Yes, Gully Boy and Uri I have seen and appreciated them. Sonchiriya I have not seen. Badla’s fate shall be decided on the 8th of March.
Speaking of Gully Boy, you sent tokens of appreciation to the performers and they all were so happy and proud. Why is this generosity of spirit lacking in the film industry?
Yes, whenever I have liked a performance I have appreciated and expressed it. I am grateful that they are happy with it. They are deserving of much more. Why do you say this spirit of generosity is lacking in the film industry. It is not! There is always great affection and praise shown by the fraternity towards the work of others. It may not have been made public, or the media may not have got to know of it, but it has been there ever.
You have also been shooting for Jhund with Nagraj Manjule. How is that experience? Do you love football as much as your son Abhishek does?
Jhund is complete. Post-production work is in progress, and it was a delight to work with Nagraj Manjule. I try to follow football, but never quite as much as Abhishek.
Our real-life hero Abhinandan Varthaman is home. Your thoughts?
Can there be any other thoughts than the joy and relief that he has come home? Before I say anything else I wish to pay my condolences and respects to our brave hearts that sacrificed their lives in Pulwama and those brave hearts that stand and fight to save and protect us
You and Lataji have shown your gratitude and appreciation for the Indian army by donating generously to their welfare fund. Do we as a nation need to grow more appreciative of the sacrifices our soldiers make for the country?
Not just this, but I have been sending my gratitude, monetarily and through kind in the past as well, to several other institutions - martyrs’ families, desperate and despondent farmers, socially ostracised nationals and the needy common. It is an individual thought, not for any aggrandisement or public proclamation. I am awkward talking about it. But if it can become an example for others to follow suit, many other countrymen and women would benefit.