‘Media plays a role in portraying that my schedules are hectic’ – Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan went solo to promote the much awaited film Zamaanat as the other cast members – Karisma Kapoor and Arshad Warsi – were not to be seen at a recently organised press meet.

The film has been in the making for seven and a half years. Nonetheless, director S Raamanathan seemed to be quite happy at the arrival of Big B. Incidentally, Raamanathan was the one who gave Big B his first break in Bombay to Goa.

Excerpts from an interview with Amitabh Bachchan:

You are one superstar who readily extends his co-operation to friends hence you are here for your friend S Raamanathan. What is your role in the film?
It’s not the question of extending co-operation only to friends but it’s my duty to promote films I act in. Well, I am playing the role of a blind lawyer – Shivshankar – who decides to stop practicing due to certain circumstances. Karisma is pitted opposite Arshad Warsi, who is wrongly implicated and put behind bars. She then approaches Shivshankar who refuses her proposal much to her anger. She accuses him of not knowing the pangs of love as he lives in a secluded place far away from the maddening crowd. Shivshankar gets provoked on this accusation and narrates his unfulfilled love story. I can’t reveal more than this… you will have to watch the film for the rest.

It seems that you are playing a cunning lawyer?
A lawyer can’t be termed as cunning. His job is challenging. He has to work in support of the truth and for this he needs the support of the people in terms of witnesses. He has to be well versed in his arguments so that he can intellectually win the case. In real life it is different as everybody likes to be away from the court and police but on reel, we have added drama to it.

What is the difference working in the South and Bollywood?
The south directors and their working pattern is quite disciplined. They like to be on time and finish their work on time. Nowadays, Bollywood too has started becoming more organised. Everyone wants to be prompt and give their best.

Some of your films are being remade like Sholay and Don. Comment.
It’s nothing new or noble. Remake of films has been prevalent. Remake of films is also internationally prevalent in Japan, France and other countries It is the makers’ creativity and his interpretation with modern techniques, which enhances the film. So many films have been made earlier too, Devdas has been made three times , Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam has been made amongst others.

How was it working with Arshad Warsi, who has recently seen success with Munnabhai M.B.B.S?
If you remember it was ABCL and Jayaji who had chosen Arshad Warsi for our maiden venture Tere Mere Sapne. She had seen the lurking potential within him. He is consistently doing well I am happy for him as he is focusing on his work. Talent speaks more than words.

You are the central character even at your age and carry the film on your shoulders…
I don’t think it so. The length of my work is less compared to my yesteryear films. Earlier I used to be the sole hero. Producers cast Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan to support their film now. It would be foolish to cast me for what is not best suited for me at this age. Hence younger elements ought to be there.

Do you think publicity plays an important role in the promotions of the film?
Yes, definitely! During our times that is in the 80s, the print media was prominent. The advent of electronic media has enhanced publicity. Publicising your products has benefits and media support plays a vital role. Right ways of marketing are essential for the promotion of the product. During our days if the film ran 25, 50 or even 75 days, then it would mean that the film is a big hit but nowadays the success or flop of the film is decided within a week itself.

Has Zamaanat been chosen for IIFA?
I don’t think so. IIFA is being held in mid June in Dubai. I will know the names of the chosen films a little later. I shall definitely attend the function, that’s for sure.

Do you advice Abhishek? If yes, what is your advice to him?
He has grown as an actor. I just tell him to be focused. I certainly do not thrust my opinion on him. He is taking his work seriously and that is more than enough.

Is KBC on cards?
No final decision has reached me up till now. I too have heard about it but there have been no further discussions.

Do you think films have been delayed because of your illness?
I don’t think so. My directors and producers were very much concerned about my health and my unfinished films have already been completed. Babul’s release has been postponed because of other reasons. Delay happens due to so many other factors and not just the dates of stars. It’s all about adjustments at the end of the day.

Has your hectic schedule affected your health? And are you planning to
cut it down?

I do not have to cut down on my schedules because they are not hectic at all. It is the media that feels that my schedules are hectic and hence it affects my health. Only because the media has seen me regularly and continuously in ads, films and functions, they presume that my schedules are hectic. My health is taken care of with a planned schedule. Yes, I fell sick maybe due to some biological imbalance in the body but I am fit and fine with the blessings of God, my well wishers and audiences.

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