Be it a soldier, a flamboyant father or a 60 plus photographer in love with a teenager - Amitabh Bachchan comfortably slips into roles that are as different as chalk and cheese. And he dons a new avatar yet again in Cheeni Kum, a comic love story.
Amitabh plays a 64-year-old arrogant, acerbic chef of London's top restaurant who falls in love and wants to marry a simple 34-year-old woman visiting London, played by Tabu.
Ad guru R. Balakrishnan, who makes his directorial debut with this film, says he scripted it with the one and only Big B and Tabu in mind.
"The idea came to me when I was shooting an ad film for Lifebuoy soap. I met Bachchan and told him about it. He liked it and after that I scripted the story. From the very first day I wanted to make this film with him and Tabu. I don't know what they are in their personal lives, but they were absolutely perfect to play the characters in my film," Balakrishnan told IANS.
The director is not the only one who is in awe of the superstar. Despite the fact that his face is splashed everywhere, his fans across the country are eagerly waiting to see him in Cheeni Kum.
<b1>"Just when you get tired of seeing Amitabh in yet another ad or film, he manages to bounce right back by experimenting with a new character or genre. And at his age too! I Am waiting to see Cheeni Kum," said Ritika Ganguly, a college student.
Well-known film critic Anupama Chopra expressed the same sentiments saying: "It looks like a real fun film. I would love to see Big B with Tabu."
Earlier, Ram Gopal Varma made a film on a similar subject titled Nishabd - which shows a man falling for a girl as old as his daughter - with Amitabh in the lead. But audiences rejected the film.
This may not be the case with Cheeni Kum though as the Amitabh-Tabu pairing looks exciting.
Balakrishnan believes the audiences never reject a subject. "They reject the film in totality. It's all about communication. You have to have every shot in place to build a proper communication with your audience," he said.
At the same time, he denies any similarity between Nishabd and Cheeni Kum.
"I really liked Ram Gopal Varma's film. I cant' comment on why it didn't work. But there is no similarity between the two films. Mine is out and out comedy."
The current lot of young directors are vying with each other to cast the Big B in their films. They are scripting stories for him. In fact, he seems to have left younger stars like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan far behind in this race.
"He is a terrific actor. His talent has withstood time. And it's a dream to direct him. I can imagine all these new directors, who grew up with his films, dying to direct him," said film critic Anuapama Chopra.
Commenting on the Big B craze, Balakrishnan said: "He is a star actor that the country has ever seen before. He is much more than an actor. Even if he comes on screen and just stands there without saying a single word, people would like to see him like that again and again," said.
The actor has quite a few interesting releases lined up, including Shaad Ali's Jhoom Barabar Jhoom.