It’s a good phase in Abhishek Bachchan’s life. On the personal front, the reason for his joy is obvious — the man is enjoying being a father to baby Aaradhya. But even on the work front, after a spate of unsuccessful films which made many question his position in Bollywood, he is back with a hit — Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan is just the kind of fillip his acting career needed. In a candid chat with HT Café, Jr Bachchan speaks his mind.
How does it feel to do a successful film after so long?
I feel on top of the world. We work for appreciation from audiences and critics alike. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, and I take it in my stride. I don’t believe in moping over the past. I live for the moment and, currently, the moment is very nice.
Do you think your daughter Aaradhya has brought luck?
I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on her. It’s unfair! My daughter is separate from my profession. I can’t blame her for my failure or my success. She’s brought immense pride and happiness, and that’s what I’m happy about. As for luck, it has a weird way of improving. The harder you work, the faster it moves. I attribute my film’s success to the whole team, especially Ajay (Devgn) and Rohit (Shetty).
There’s a lot of curiosity surrounding Abhi-Ash’s daughter. Who does she resemble more?
A baby’s face changes every two days. It’s a general consensus that she’s the perfect mix of the two of us.
There have been reports that Aaradhya is so fiercely guarded from the Indian media because you have a deal with an international magazine for her first look.
That’s not the case. I take offence to the words ‘shielding’ and ‘hiding’, which have been so generously used. My daughter is not an object to flash around or a prized item to put on display. She’s a small baby. As a parent, it’s my choice how I want to bring her up. I had a middle-class upbringing. We weren’t given special treatment. I didn’t realise dad was a star till my teens He was Pa, and mom was Ma. We were not made aware of their celebrity status. Mom ensured that. I want my daughter to grow up as normally as I did.
Is that possible in this day and age?
Most definitely. With so much media around, I understand she’ll be photographed, but I’ll ensure that she has a normal upbringing.
Would you say you’ve silenced your detractors with Bol Bachchan?
I don’t believe in taking the credit alone. The whole team has worked on it. It doesn’t matter if I do or don’t silence my detractors. If this Friday was a sad one, I know next Friday is around the corner. I need to put my head down and work for that. You can sit on your laurels only when you are retiring.
Do you think a contented personal life is the key to professional success?
I don’t think your personal life has anything to do with your professional life. They are separate things. Whatever is happening at home shouldn’t be carried to work. Everyone has his/her own journey. Some revel in the fact that they derive that from personal contentment, and others draw it from extreme sorrow. Actors use all kinds of emotional sources.
Before this film, you had a phase when quite a few films flopped. What did you tell yourself?
There are no free lunches in life. You have to earn it. I am paying my dues. People have accused me of having it easy because I am Amitabh Bachchan’s son. Yes, I am his son, and I’ve never run away from it. I work hard to make him proud. I know I have a silver spoon in my mouth, and there are other talented people around, but I never thought it my place to refute that. People won’t understand. Yash (Chopra) Uncle told me during the premiere of my first film, Refugee (2000), that people will come for the first show because of my lineage, but after that, if I’m not good, it doesn’t matter who I am. I’ve experienced it, and I paid my dues. It’s God’s way of saying, ‘You had it easy, so now pay for it’.
Have your priorities changed after Aaradhya’s birth?
My priorities are the same. My films are of paramount importance to me, the same as my family. That’s not going to change. This is a balance I have to strike throughout my life.
How much time do you spend with your daughter?
I want to spend more time with her, but work keeps me busy. When she was born, I was busy shooting for Bol Bachchan. Now, I start shooting for Dhoom 3 this week.