The ‘angry young man’ has aged, the creases on his face more prominent now, the hair greyer. And with the changing times have come roles that are as varied as they can be — from the constipated Bengali in Piku to the stoic lawyer in Pink.
But what his fans consider meatier and more meaningful roles are because of his age, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan said on Friday in a candid conversation with director Karan Johar at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.
“When you age those are the kind of roles you get…,” he said.
The 74-year-old actor, however, credited scriptwriters for his evolution as an actor and the films he has worked in the past few years.
The writers’ work is phenomenal. They are responsible for bringing in the audiences to the theatres with the quality of their work. The writers not just write but also visualise every aspect of the film. We (actors) finally just do what we are asked to do.”
In the 45-minute conversation, laced with banter and self-deprecating humour, the actor asked in mock surprise when Johar asked who would be the next Amitabh Bachchan, “What’s wrong with me?”
When Johar asked if he was a self-critic and knows “when you have hit the ball out of the park”, Amitabh said he also knows “when he is lbw and bowled”, referring to two cricketing terms of batsmen’s dismissal.
“There are a lot of times when you shoot something and keep thinking about it. You would then call the director after the day’s shoot is done and request if certain portion can be re-shot,” said Bachchan, adding it was the director’s call as he knew best.
“Also, insecurities play a major role in our profession. They help you perform better.”
One of the most prominent Indian celebrities on social media, Bachchan said one of the pitfalls of being too active was that he was trolled heavily.
“There’s a lot of abuse, but one needs to be prepared for that. If you can’t take it, don’t be on it (social media),” said the man who has nearly 24 million followers on Twitter, the highest among Bollywood celebrities. He also has 25 million likes on Facebook.
Naming Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Marlon Brando as his role models when it came to acting, Bachchan said the role-models in his life were his parents.
The conversation wasn’t limited to the two people on stage, though. The audience, too, had their share of him.
When a member of the audience asked how his famous TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) would work after the demonetisation, an amused Bachchan said he would pass on the question to the show’s producers.
When Johar asked what it felt to wake up every morning as “the Amitabh Bachchan” and what he carries with it, the amused superstar signed off in his quintessential humble self: “I carry only my night suit with me… It’s just another name, a name my parents gave me.”
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