Be it his movies or endorsements, Amitabh Bachchan is known to experiment with different characters — whether it is essaying the role of a friendly ghost in Bhoothnath (2008) or playing a child suffering from progeria in Paa (2009). Here, the senior actor talks about his criteria for signing films, how we can ensure a safer environment for women, and more.
While your open letter to your granddaughters Navya Naveli and Aaradhya Bachchan impressed many people, some were of the opinion that it had a patriarchal tone…
No one is perfect, and criticism is always welcome and expected. The letter was in consonance with the essence of my latest film, and it may sound that way, but I think when you see it, you will appreciate that the other aspect has also been addressed.
Do you believe that Bollywood is still male-dominated? Also, when it comes to issues such as pay disparity and role preferences, how can the situation be made better for female actors?
There is a great amount of consciousness on these factors, and many efforts and moves have been made. Women being the main protagonist, women in charge, women-centric stories, and pay scales are being modified, and so on (sic).
How can we make the environment safer for women in our country?
Through education, moral teachings and policing, tough laws, by inculcating from a very early age the need and importance to understand what women stand for, through setting examples, bringing in the factor of equality among all, and bringing change to some very ancient and archaic thinking and practices.
Are there any kinds of movies you would like to explore? What is your criteria for signing a film?
I wish I had the acumen to be able to decide what is it that I should explore. I leave that decision to my directors. I sign a film based on the story, the role I play, and the maker.
After playing myriad roles on screen, do you still go through moments of doubt when signing a film? Who do you consult at that point in time?
Yes, every venture is always filled with apprehensions. But if we were to conduct ourselves continuously on that aspect, then we would lose the most important reason to be in this profession — to challenge the art of and be part of what is commonly known as our creative instincts. At times, we do talk within the family on stories and decisions made.
Have you ever thought of writing a book?
I am not in the least eloquent or fluent with languages. My writing on social media is quite pedestrian. But even if it was near any acceptability, I would not be in a position to pen a script or a book.
You are working with Aamir Khan in the movie Thugs Of Hindostan. What’s his one quality that you admire?
Aamir is an established actor and a star. He is most accomplished in his craft. That itself is admirable, not just for me, but for any other [actor] too.
T 2390 - Sunday welcome guests .. and some smiling waves of namaskaar !! pic.twitter.com/9afd9mahho— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) September 25, 2016
Do you enjoy playing negative characters?
Negative characters are great opportunity givers for creative testing. I have played some.
Ram Gopal Varma and you have always had an interesting equation. Knowing his brand of banter, does it ever obstruct your working equation?