On a recent chat show, filmmaker Prakash Jha was asked which actors he’d like to ‘reserve’ for future projects. He retorted, “Amitabh Bachchan and Ajay Devgn.”
Bachchan, who plays a significant role in Jha’s forthcoming movie Aarakshan, admits that the producer-director has spoken to him for his next film on Shining India. “Yes, he has asked me to reserve time for the film and I will be happy to do so,” says Bachchan.
When asked to elaborate on the film’s theme of development, Bachchan points out that though Jha has a vision, he isn’t sure what angle he’ll be taking. “I’ll know that only when he narrates the script. Personally, I believe that the opening up of the economy has opened the eyes and ears of the rest of the world. And suddenly, everything Indian — whether it’s our food, fashion, films, sports or politics — is sparking off global interest. I’m happy we’ve got rid of tags like ‘developing nation’ and ‘third-world country’. Why should we be ‘third’, why can’t we be ‘first’?” he argues.
Point out to him that despite recent progress, a film like Aarakshan that talks about reservation in educational institutions for schedule castes and tribes is still topical, and Bachchan says his philosophy is akin to that of his character, Dr Anand Patwardhan. “Haan, iss desh mein do Bharat baste hain (yes, there thrive two Indias in this country), and it is up to us to wipe out these class and caste distinctions by ensuring that everyone gets equal opportunities,” he reasons.
“If along the way, certain weaker sections of society need a little push to excel, then why not? It’s our duty to abide by what our democratically elected Parliament and the courts of law have endorsed.”