Big B welcomes Indian movie screenings in Pak
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Big B welcomes Indian movie screenings in Pak

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday welcomed the rare screening of Indian films in Pakistan.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 00:46 IST

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday welcomed the rare screening of Indian films in Pakistan, saying increased contacts could lead to a "healthy camaraderie" between the two nations.

Pakistan eased its ban on Indian movies this month, allowing just two films -- the classic Mughal-e-Azam and Taj Mahal, a new epic from Bollywood -- to be released in Pakistani cinemas.

"We do believe that we are the same culture, the same people. We are divided by a line that has put us into two different nations that cannot be removed and it should not be," Bachchan said during a visit to Dubai.

"But if they are appreciative of our work we are also appreciative of theirs and there should be healthy camaraderie and exchange of ideas and creativity amongst the two nations," Bachchan said in an interview.

The 63-year-old film legend returned to work recently, after being discharged from a Mumbai hospital in December following stomach surgery that doctors said could have been life threatening if left untreated.

Big B, was voted in a 2002 BBC Online survey as the most popular screen and stage icon of all time, ahead of Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness.

Bachchan said fans' adulation had little to do with reality but that he enjoyed it as an appreciation of his work.

"They get attracted to the image, to what they see on the screen. They have nothing whatsoever to do with me as a person. Most of the time they get very disappointed because we can't possibly live up to this fantasy that has been created for us...

"... We enjoy that, yes we love it, I would be lying if I said that (we don't)," he said.

Bachchan has acted in over 150 films, playing rebels, smugglers and vigilantes in a series of anti-establishment roles in the 1970s and 1980s. He now plays more mature roles, many of which are specifically written for him.

"How to handle it (adulation) is a totally different thing: Yes, if somebody asks me for an autograph, I will happily give it to him, if someone wants to break into my house and sleep in the same bed as me, I will say no."

There have been reports that Bachchan disapproved of a possible marriage between his son, rising actor Abhishek Bachchan, and former Miss World and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai, because their star signs do not match. But he said, "This is media-built. I don't know anything about it."

Dubai, a regional tourism hub in the United Arab Emirates with a large Indian expatriate community, will host the International Indian Film Academy Awards in June.

First Published: Apr 30, 2006 00:46 IST