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Men chase me more than women

Queer confessions from Abhishek Bachchan, the host of National Bingo Night.

tv Updated: Jan 20, 2010 19:45 IST
Rachana Dubey

Your father is the first guest on

National Bingo Night

. Nervous?

Not with dad (Amitabh Bachchan). He’s so chilled out. He was and is the best host on TV. He’s advised me to be polite with my guests, take it easy and be myself. He says it’s a humbling experience to connect with common people who only get to see you as a character. The episode with him should be shot sometime this week, followed by Shah Rukh’s (Khan) episode.

You’re calling him dad, wasn’t he


sometime ago?

(Smiles) That lead to major confusion at home. He is


, I’m his


, so who gets to scold whom?

Ha ha, I know. But seriously, wouldn’t you want to do a more serious show for a debut than doing National Bingo Night?
No, I can’t handle anything serious unless it’s a Ram Gopal Varma film where I stand in a corner and brood. (Grins) Then, in the next film, I get shot. The reason I took on Bingo was because it allows for ‘live’ interactivity with a 200-plus studio audience and lets me be myself.

Will your biwi Aishwarya come on the show? Hey, you could promote Raavan together?
I don’t know if she can make it. But I do know for sure that we can’t promote Raavan on Bingo because our promotion begins after the show gets over. There are just 13 episodes in the first season.

She joined you for the Udaipur shoot?
She accompanied me to Udaipur but the shoot was with common people. It’s so heartening to see them win, the expression on their faces is priceless. It’s not the same feeling with celebs.

Aishwarya and your maa Jaya Bachchan are reportedly doing their shows with Colors?
(Grins) Yeah, Colours has signed the next two generations of Bachchans as well. To answer your question, I don’t mind if my wife and maa want to do shows. They don’t need to ask my permission.

Have you seen the original National Bingo Night?
Of course, I was shown the Australian Seasons. It might sound a little rude but I haven’t adopted anything from them. They don’t dance, it’s not colourful, it is a straight game Down Under. My Bingo Night is full of naach-gaana (song and dance) and masti (fun).

Won’t it encourage gambling?
Gambling is disallowed on Indian television according to Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s guidelines. And Bingo is not gambling. I agree luck plays an important part but isn’t that true for our day-to-day lives too. Actors and filmmakers run on 98 per cent luck, one per cent talent and one per cent hard work. I will be asking questions on the show. One needs to answer them correctly to win the booty.

What games did you enjoy playing?
I love basketball. (Sighs)There’s no place where I can play it here. I played it in school and have never played again. I also enjoy skiing.

Any indoor game you played?
I don’t remember winning but I remember playing Tambola with my granny (Teji Bachchan). In the 1980s, the film industry virtually shifted to Kashmir for shoots. On one of these shoots, I accompanied dad and granny. We were staying at The Lalit, Srinagar. That’s where she taught me how to play Tambola.

Do you watch TV?
News and The History Channel are my tune-ins. I’m not a couch potato because there is so much work to do.

Wouldn’t AB Corp want to enter TV production?
Not right now. We’re focusing on the post-release promotion of Paa. Then, we have a Marathi film coming up and have to market it well. When AB Corp was ABCL we had a TV division. But right now, it’s too early to step into multiple areas.

Any more Hindi films?
I’m not treating this like a business though I know it is one. My company is not in a rush to make 12 films a year. There are no ‘favourite’ in terms of genres either. I’ll produce films I’m convinced about. And it may not feature any Bachchan.

Apparently, Aishwarya Bachchan has opted out of Crooked?
She couldn’t give us the dates. She has a film with Rajni uncle (Rajnikant), also, Guzarish and Action Replay. So, she couldn’t coordinate her timings with mine.

Wasn’t your dad retiring too?
No, he is working a lot more than actors his age would. I advise him to go easy, relax and take care of his health. He needs to look after himself.

I wouldn’t want him to retire but I would want him to rest well. He takes so much effort to pump life into a character, Auro for example. I don’t know how many of us would last as long as he has.

Is there a possibility of National Bingo Night 2?
Yeah, but only if we sail through Season One. Ciao!

Statue, one last question. What are your plans for your birthday that falls on February 5?
I’ll be working. We’ve just started shooting Crooked.

No aaram?
(Smiles) No, I don’t believe in resting on my laurels. Bingo!