Director Tarun Mansukhani's Dostana has hit the jackpot at the box office and Abhishek Bachchan, who pretends to be a homosexual in the fun flick, is happy to be a gay icon.
"I'm very happy with that. Why should I be surprised or shocked? I think homosexuals are as human as anyone else. It's a matter of great pride if I'm their icon," Abhishek told IANS.
Abhishek described his pairing with John Abraham in the film as the 'jodi' of the moment. "Other screen couples can go eat their hearts out."
His effeminate gestures in Dostana have raised eyebrows and there's talk that his father hasn't liked his character or performance in it.
"Why should he take offence? Not at all! The film is not about homosexuality. Dostana isn't Brokeback Mountain. It was just a comedy. My whole family has thoroughly enjoyed it. Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh? It's a normal fun film. Aishwarya (Rai) is very happy it's a big hit...my second big hit of the year after Sarkar Raj," he said.
Though Dostana is a fun flick, Abhishek said he slogged while shooting for it.
"We had a lot of fun making the film, but we were serious about the making of the film. I worked very hard on the gestures and mannerisms. We, in this country, tend to take comedies frivolously. Good locales, good songs and that's it.
"In Dostana, I had to work very hard to portray a straight man acting gay. It could easily have gone overboard. I wanted to avoid making the character caricatural. Barring one portion (the flashback about how John met Abhishek), we kept it controlled."
This was the toughest character for Abhishek to play.
"It's unfortunate these kinds of films aren't taken seriously. It wasn't a character I could sleepwalk through. People think we partied hard while shooting Dostana in Miami (in Florida in the US). Wrong. We worked from early morning till night."
Abhishek said he isn't surprised by the success of Dostana.
"I knew it was workable when I heard the script. I was convinced it'd be a very entertaining way. We knew the audiences would laugh with us, that they wanted something entertaining to get their minds off a hard day's work," he said.
The actor said the disappointment of Drona has been wiped away by the success of Dostana.
"It's always wonderful to be part of a hit. Dostana was the name of Karan Johar's Dharma Productions' first film and it starred my dad. When Karan and I put our heads together, we spontaneously decided 'Dostana' was the best title for our film."
Far from the madding appreciation, Abhishek is enjoying the hit.
"It gives you back your self-confidence. I worked very hard on Drona. I felt hugely disappointed when it didn't do well. Drona will always remain close to my heart."
Far away in the jungles of Kochi, shooting for Mani Ratnam's movie, Abhishek has had no time to celebrate the success of Dostana.
"Of course, we'll have a party when we get back. But at the moment I'm celebrating by doing more quality work."
Abhishek next moves to Munnar with Ratnam. "Munnar is where Pa shot Nishabd with Ramu (Ram Gopal Varma)."
Reacting to media reports that he wore a cap in Mumbai to hide the special look for Ratnam's film, Abhishek said: "I know Mani is secretive about his characters' look. But there's only so much one can do. An actor has many commitments to fulfil besides the film on hand. I'm sure Mani understands that. No, I wore a cap for no particular reason," he said.