Abhishek Bachchan, who turns 39 on Thursday (February 5) is fresh off a great year. His film Happy New Year (HNY; 2014) did well at the box office, and his maiden year as owner of a football and a kabaddi team has been a good one too. The actor tells us about his plans for his birthday, as well as what’s in store for his sports ventures as well as his films.
Abhishek Bachchan with Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah in a still from Happy New Year
* Are you hoping your good run in 2014 continues this year too?
I have no complaints about 2014. HNY was a labour of love, and both my sports ventures were successful. Now, on the acting front, I have sequels to Hera Pheri (2000) and Housefull (2010) lined up, along with director Umesh Shukla’s next.
* How will you celebrate today?
I like to work on my birthday, because I want to spend my day doing what I love, which is making movies and spending time with those who are with me all year round, taking care of me, tolerating me and being a huge source of happiness for me. Throughout my career, there have been very few birthdays on which I haven’t worked. I’ll be shooting with Umesh today. Also, Shamitabh (which he has co-produced) will release tomorrow (February 6), so everyone is consumed by that. Also, I love gifts, but I don’t expect them.
A poster of Dostana, where Abhishek starred with John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra
* This year, you will be working with some of your friends such as Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and John Abraham.
I love working with everyone. I’m an industry kid, so I’ve grown up with many of these people. John, Riteish and I belong to the same generation, so we spend a lot of time together off the sets too. Akshay is a senior, but he’s very special to me. Before I started acting, during my college breaks, I’d spend time with him on the sets of Angaaray (1998), which was made by my friend, Goldie Behl. Unfortunately, we’ve done only one film together. John is like my brother. At the mahurat of our upcoming film, we realised it’s been seen years since we worked together. He has been my favourite co-star.
* You’ll be seen in one scene in Shamitabh. Didn’t you want a full-fledged role in the film?
Actually, I’m not even in one scene. I had landed at the airport when they were shooting there, so I went to meet dad (Amitabh Bachchan). I was having coffee with R Balki (director) while the shot was being set up, so the cinematographer, PC Sreeram, asked me to just remain seated there. You can’t even make out that it’s me. When Balki and I had spoken about the film, we had discussed casting and I didn’t think there was any place for me.
Abhishek Bachchan with Aamir Khan (extreme left) and wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at a Jaipur Pink Panthers match
* Do you train with the members of your football and kabaddi teams?
I try to, but their level of fitness is a lot higher. I was part of the kabaddi camp, but I was on tour for Happy New Year (2014) while the football team was training. However, I don’t last beyond warm-up. I used to be flat on my back, and they would say, ‘Dada, we still have to play.’ I’d tell the coach, Marco (Materazzi), ‘How about coming on a film set and shooting a scene? We’ll see how good you are.’
Abhishek spotted with Aishwarya at a red carpet
* Your wife, Aishwarya, has started working on her comeback film. How do you feel?
She showed me an outline of the script, and I liked it. We’ve all missed her on the big screen, so it’ll be nice to have her back. Apart from being her husband, I’m a big fan of her work. She and Sanjay (Gupta; film-maker) will make a good team.