Even after three films with Amitabh Bachchan, it’s never easy to get him to sign on, says R Balki
He has directed Amitabh Bachchan in three films — Cheeni Kum (2007), Paa (2009) and Shamitabh (2015), yet filmmaker R Balki says it is never easy to get “Mr Bachchan on board for a project or a film. It never was and never will be”.
It’s been five years since his last Bachchan and Dhanush-starrer, Shamitabh released and talking about it, Balki quips, “It feels like it flopped just yesterday (laughs). It is not always about whether a film works or not, but it’s more about what you remember about the journey. Shamitabh was special as we did something no one had done before. We may have gone wrong but we still cherish the experience. It was an ode to the greatest voice in Hindi cinema, that of Mr Bachchan. I am sad that the film didn’t work because of what it paid tribute to.”
Shamitabh is the story of a speech-impaired aspiring actor Dhanush who gets a chip fitted in his larynx to enable him to speak with someone else’s voice. A failed actor played by Amitabh Bachchan provides the voice, leading to stardom and eventually, ego clashes.
“Dhanush was fabulous in the film and so was Akshara Haasan. This was the first film where we recorded the dialogues before canning the shots, which was quite unusual. Dhanush had to act to the dialogues, and they were like the background composition. The techniques were novel and it was painful to shoot,” recalls Balki.
Though the filmmaker-actor duo have had a great working relationship, Balki admits that he always looks for something unique in a role or story before taking it to the senior actor. “My motto is to make a special film with him and push the envelope. Otherwise, why make it at all? Our associations worked because I never think too much about how a role or a story starring Amitji would work out,” he says.
Balki is currently working on a script and rumours are that his next directorial will star Bachchan. Ask him about it and he says, “I am writing a script, let’s see how it goes. Only once I finish the script, will I think about the next step. I have written scripts with actors in mind, but not every script takes that path. For the current script, I am not thinking of any actor right now,” he concludes.
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