Most films tend to have one male and one female lead character, but R Balki says that his next, Shamitabh — which is releasing today (February 6) — has three heroes. “All three actors — Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan — play powerful roles. The story is about the two men — about how egos can divide their team, and how it takes two of them to come together to achieve things. Akshara’s character comes in like a binding force between these two powerhouses, and keeps them together,” he explains.
The film-maker adds that two strong actors were required for the male roles, and when he sat with Bachchan to brainstorm about the same, they thought of calling Dhanush and asking if he’d be willing to read the script and sit with them to discuss the project. “I was overjoyed to get him. There’s amazing contrast between him and Mr Bachchan, but both are equally powerful. Dhanush is a very special actor, who you can’t take your eyes off. It is very easy to act like Mr Bachchan with his voice, but to bring in your individuality while using his voice effectively is a great task that Dhanush pulled off,” explains Balki. The film was apparently conceived as a birthday gift for Bachchan. “I presented this idea to him as I didn’t have anything else to give him. What can you give a person like him, who has everything? I hope he likes the gift when it hits theatres,” says Balki, describing how the story is based on Bachchan’s voice, which is considered iconic inIndia. Describing the effort put in by the veteran actor, he says, “Would you believe that he dubbed the film first, mouthing his as well as Dhanush’s lines? Then, once he saw the scenes that were lip-synced by Dhanush, he dubbed them again based on the way Dhanush enacted them. So, we had a lot of dubbing and acting sessions.”
Balki is all praise for Akshara, who makes her debut with this film. “She’s very committed, so it wasn’t difficult to put her in front of two established stars. It’s important for new actors to learn their lines well, and she would always come prepared. It doesn’t seem like it’s her first film, because she isn’t camera-conscious at all,” he says, adding, “I had met her outside an advertising editing studio, and I didn’t even know at that time that she is Kamal Haasan and Sarika’s daughter. I wrote her character based on just her face.”
Presented by Eros International and produced by RK Damani, Sunil Lulla, Gauri Shinde, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala and Abhishek Bachchan, Shamitabh, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan, is scheduled to release on February 6.