Every step he takes, he’s compared to his illustrious father. Every move he makes is credited to his equally famous wife. It isn’t easy to be Abhishek Bachchan. But the actor has learnt to live it up, irrespective of comparisons and insinuations. Sure and very secure of his place, Bachchan junior doesn’t bother about what others think.
If anything, he is rather happy to be compared to his dad and be in his shadow. "Tell me one actor who Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t overshadow. In fact, it’s a great shadow to be in. I’m his biggest fan, and I’m immensely proud to be his son. I hope and pray that I work hard enough, so that tomorrow my daughter also talks about me in the same way," says Abhishek.
Father, maybe, but what when he’s compared to his globally famous wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan? As if on cue, there’s a phone call from wifey to check what Abhishek wants for dinner. "Yesterday’s leftovers," he says with a straight face, hanging up the phone and continuing, "Where’s the comparison with Aishwarya? She isn’t as popular as me, she is more popular. She is a bigger star than I am. I’m very happy and proud about it," says Abhishek.
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"It makes me happier when I stand behind her and see the world applauding her. I hope more men begin to think like that. It is not competition if you love someone and marry that person; you should be always happy about them," he says.
Abhishek seems just as secure about work. Dismissing any claim that he cannot manage a solo film, Abhishek believes that it is rather arrogant to not be able to work with other actors. "A film is a film is a film. It is convenient to say, ‘Why don’t you do a solo film?’ I think it is an arrogant statement. An actor shouldn’t be arrogant to believe that a film works because of him.
Amitabh Bachchan with Abhishek and Shweta.
Film-making, in any case, is a team effort, and an actor does the least work in a film. The other departments work to make you look good, be it the camera crew, lighting crew, editing, etc. An actor has the least amount of influence in the eventuality of the film," says Abhishek.
A "solo hero film" (he implies a film with just one actor) would get very boring, he says, "Most of my films have had an ensemble cast. Even Guru (2007) had three heroes. People conveniently forget that the film had great actors like Madhavan and Mithun Da (Chakraborty). It had solid performers like Aishwarya and Vidya (Balan). Bol Bachchan (2012) had a host of actors. How can the credit be given to just one person?"
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Even his next release is an ensemble cast. And Abhishek feels it’s more like working with family. Talking of his co-actor in his much-awaited next release, Abhishek says that Shah Rukh Khan is not his friend. "I wouldn’t call SRK a friend, I have too much of respect and love for him. He is too senior. I can be friendly, but never on backslapping terms with him. He’s more like an elder brother to me. If he walks into the room, I will stand up," he says.
Films and family apart, the big priority in Abhishek’s life currently is his newly bought football team. The game, he says, always fascinated him. "I was educated in a British boarding school, football is a part of your everyday life," he says.
Though originally a basketball player, being in a British school, where he followed football regularly. But it was only recently that he started playing the game "when Bunty (Walia, co-owner of the team) and I started our club— All Stars Football Club".
Calling it a time for revolution for Indian football, Abhishek is happy to be a part of the process. "The goal is to have an Indian team qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026," he says with a smile.