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"I felt uncomfortable doing Nishabd" - Amitabh Bachchan

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By: Frankly, IndiaFM
Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"I felt comfortable doing Cheeni Kum, I felt uncomfortable doing Nishabd," said Amitabh Bachchan in a freewheeling confessional interview with Editor-in-Chief of Times Now Arnab Goswami in his weekly show Frankly Speaking. For once Big B gave a comprehensive answer to the repeated barbs of Naseeruddin Shah who has said at many an occasion of Mr Bachchan's minimal contribution to experimental or parallel cinema. "The kind of experimental cinema that Naseer talks of was perhaps a little limited as far as its box office content was concerned, therefore you tended to shy away from it," he said. Watch this most comprehensive interviews with the doyen of Indian cinema on Times Now this Sunday (9th September). Beet gayee so baat gayee….Hmmmm….Time to get hooked on to the magic….

Arnab: So much is happening actually, when one looks back since we last met, the last eight months since we last met on the sets of this show, new films, a lot of events in your personal life, Abhi-Ash wedding…
Amitabh: that's right.

Arnab: And professionally you are doing newer things. How do you look back? What's been for you the happiest moment, if there's not a….
Amitabh: Well… if you are gonna push me to the wall then I'll say obviously the wedding of the son…but you know this is life, everyday there is something happening and … and when you are in a, in a, profession which is high profile….then something or the other keeps happening this is life..

Arnab: are you working harder today than you worked earlier?
Amitabh: I… don't know..

Arnab: Like pushing yourself?
Amitabh: I don't know, I …have never considered using any yardstick to measure whether I'm working harder or less, but let's say that I'm occupied with whatever I'm doing, my day is full and I like it that way, it's something to look forward to every morning. I don't know anything else so I'm happy that I have a few films. And I enjoy going to the studio and attempting new things or whatever is offered to me, it's nice…

Arnab: You know, it was said…This comment had been once made by Naseeruddin Shah&he'd said that why has experimental movies, why have they not happened? And he had been quoted as saying that the one person who'd ruled the film industry-Amitabh Bachchan-in the 70'-80's even after that…didn't make an attempt to do it. But now the kind of movies you're doing are both experiments and they are unconventional. Are you doing it consciously Mr. Bachchan?
Amitabh: Firstly I'm happy, you know… that somebody is noticing that there is a change in our format and in our attempt to do something different, but yes, Naseer is right that in the early years there was this accusation that was leveled not just to me but to all the actors in the mainstream commercial, escapist cinema who had a following, who had a certain profile with the audience and they were often said look, you know you have the strength of the audience and the box-office to be able to make better cinema and therefore why aren't you attempting it? There were several factors I think that go into this…I think when you initially start off work as an artist the main desire is to get some work, to get the work, you want to succeed to get some more work and you realise that what succeeds is what does well at the box office. The kind of experimental cinema that Naseer talks of was perhaps a little limited as far as its box office content was concerned, therefore you tended to shy away from it, but yes after having achieved a certain degree of recognition this should have been encouraged again but I think, by that time there are several other factors that are working let us say a artist like…a prominent star whose stayed number one for several in the box office he agrees to do something experimental in nature, Will the people who are connected with him and in its business treat it in the same tense or with the same attitude that the actors going to that is really the question? I think not because, a lot of commerce writes ahead of and behind this object of 'Great Box Office success' and sometimes it can be very misleading to one. And sometimes it can be very misleading to work. I could be the number one seller at the box office but when I make an experimental film I could be making several considerations for the execution of that project. not necessarily not in the mind s of people who are exploiting it or selling it and that is the danger we feel .cause we never know what the distributor is paying for it and how is he recovering that money and how is he is further selling it and what the exhibitors are paying it and what are the expectations just because there is a cerebral star in it. He may think that this is another movie with lots of song and drama, the usual box office drama content in it, but may end up not finding none of it is there and therefore loose. but he may decide or configure his commercials of that project through that thinking that sort of pre-rights a commercial actor and therefore sometimes there are unfortunate happenings there can be huge losses just because he has bought a part of it thinking this is going to be a commercial film but in fact it is something middle of the road or even less..

Arnab: But when you are pushing the boundaries because you're recent films the themes themselves Mr. Bachchan, Nishabd and Cheeni Kum they are so unconventional, doesn't the fear of – that I will not be accepted by the masses or by the audiences not in Mumbai or in Delhi but in Gorakhpur in this role, doesn't that worry you?
Amitabh: See….when you are playing the leading man then you carry the onus of the birth not the success or failure of that film as well. That's the time to worry and perhaps that's the period of my career where this could have been legitimately argued. But I think that now that I'm 65 and I play character roles and the onus of the box-office doesn't entirely restrict me then I think it makes it much more easier to take these decisions. Also the fact because I'm 65 I obviously can't do something young therefore there are really no options and if there are enterprising people in Cheeni Kum, Nishabd or the villain in AAG, Ram Gopal Verma's Aag or several others that are being considered then its very fortunate for me as an actor cause I'm being tested and I'm being examined all over again and the enthusiasm levels to do something or attempt something becomes different all the more potent.

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