The year 2011 marks the beginning of a new decade in the industry for Abhishek Bachchan. Moving on from two major duds last year, Mani Ratnam’s Raavan and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, the actor has 10 movies lined up over the next two years. And many of them, like Game, Dum Maaro Dum, Players, Bol Bachchan, Department and Dhoom 3, have a good dose of thrills and action.
Surprisingly, the son of Amitabh Bachchan, who was synonymous with the ‘angry young man’ image of the 1970s and ’80s, started off with romantic films. Recall director David Dhawan’s words: "The audience is waiting to see Amitji’s son punch and kick the bad men on screen," before Ratnam’s Yuva proved a turning point in his career and Abhishek smiles, "There’s plenty coming in my forthcoming films."
In Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maaro Dum, his Inspector Kamath is a hard-as-nails, no-nonsense kind of a man. "More action, less discussion. The approach is very gritty, something I’ve never done before," enthuses Abhishek, who is also looking forward to speeding thrills in Players, Abbas-Mustan’s remake of The Italian Job. A self-confessed fan of car stunts, he says, "Amin (action director Allan Amin) is a friend and has promised to let me do as many stunts as the insurance company thinks is safe," he exults.
Later, this Diwali, Bachchan will literally have a dhamaka (explosion) of action in Bol Bachchan, as director Rohit Shetty is known for his edgy car chases and explosions. "After filming Zameen, I had said that I’ve never worked with a director who can shoot action like Rohit. I’m waiting to find out what the stunts are in Bol Bachchan. And with Rohit, I know I can feel safe," he asserts.
By the end of this year, the actor will also wrap up Department, Ram Gopal Varma’s dramatic thriller based on the police force. "We’ve had enough of the undercurrent of action in Sarkar and Sarkar Raj. So it’s high time we bring it to the fore in our next movie together. Apart from the intense drama, you will see a lot of high-octane action," he promises.
No talk of action can be complete without Dhoom 3. “Dhoom became an iconic film. We were scared before we started working on Dhoom 2. But since it became a bigger success than the first, Dhoom 3 is a huger challenge. As soon as Adi (producer Aditya Chopra) and Uday (Chopra) are happy with the script, we will proceed,” he asserts.
Looking back on his film career so far, Bachchan says, “What I’ve learnt about myself, my craft and the industry has been more than what I’ve learnt in my entire life so far.” As for last year’s disappointments, he concedes, “Sometimes you manage to entertain, sometimes you don’t. Every actor has hits and flops.”
The silver lining came in the form of a Best Film National Award for Paa, which he produced under the family banner, AB Corp. Calling it, “a huge deal,” the actor reiterates, “Albeit as a producer, a National Award is a big honour, as it’s given by the Government of India. The bigger honour for me was sharing the dais with my dad.”