IT was in 2000 when a young star made a huge sensation in Bollywood. He was not an established actor but an upcoming one – Abhishek Bachchan, who was ready to debut with Refugee. However, the movie didn’t do well on the box-office, though it was critically acclaimed. Critics liked the acting skills of Junior Bachchan and some called him “lambi race ka ghoda”. But the actor tasted commercial success a bit late with Dhoom in 2004. With successful films like Bunty Aur Bubly, Dhoom 2, Guru, Bol Bachchan and Paa, the 40-year-actor made his mark and acquired a fan-following. Post-2010, even though he didn’t enjoy a good time at the box office, he has been busy with endorsements and sports ventures. He recently made an appearance at Omega Boutique in Connaught Place, where he celebrated the success of the watchmaker’s offering Globemaster. During the event, the actor shared his love for watches, family and upcoming projects. Excerpts:
Q What made you say yes to the brand and how fond are you of watches?
I think there is great synergy between Omega and me. That is the main reason that the relationship has reached its 10th year, my longest association with any brand. In terms of love (for watches), I look for the technical aspects, not only how it looks. I know it has become a fashion accessory but what I like is its mechanical working.
Q Talking about fashion, there was a recent report that your daughter and wife sometimes suggest to you what to wear. Is it true?
Are you married? If yes, then, doesn’t your wife tell you what to wear sometimes? The same happens with me. We are a normal married couple. Whenever I wear something I ask my wife and daughter and they give their suggestions.
Q Can we see the trio – Senior Bachchan, Aishwarya and you together again in any film?
Yes sure. You have to have the right script. It can’t be like chalo, we want to make a film together. I am sure when the right scripts come we will love to do it.
Q Apart from films, you have been quite active in sports. In fact, you have invested in kabaddi and football teams. Why you choose these sports when everybody is running towards cricket?
You know I have always been an average sports person all my life. And one of my dreams was to do something in sports. I want to change the sports scenario in India. Keeping that in mind, and my vision, there is very little to do with cricket as it is running well and is an established game. So I had very little to contribute.
Q You started your career with a bang. But post 2010, your solo films were not doing well and you worked only in multicast films. Why so?
What is solo? Tell me any movie before 2010 when I played a solo role. Even in Refugee, there were so many actors like Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher. This is not my classification. I think this is an arrogance of an actor to call himself a solo actor. The (film) doesn’t run just for one person but a whole fleet of people, like many actors, directors, technical staff, distribution, and behind the camera staff. Among them the most important is your fan.
If every actor starts thinking about himself, he would never make any good film. At the same time, I will tell you one thing. You will never ask Aamir Khan the same question, that why he had done Rang De Basanti and Dangal, in which he was not a lead actor. You know, he taught me this thing in Dhoom 3, when he said I should not give importance to myself but films. If a film is good, your work will be appreciated.
Q On what basis do you choose your projects? Can we see you again doing films like Paa and Guru?
See, those had been made. You have to look for something else. Every individual has criteria to choose a film. Large part depends on the mind-frame of an actor. Another large part is its commercial viability. You have to think that because you are working in a commercial medium. If I expect the viewer to go to a cinema to watch my movie then I will have to think about the commerce of the cinema. If I want to make a purely artistic film, which nobody understands then I will watch it sitting at home. Why should I ask the audience to come and see the movie in theatre, which is not entertaining them.
Q There is a discussion going on demonetisation? What is your take on it?
See, if anybody is working for the welfare of the country, I support him. Initially, it is a little inconvenience but later it will give benefits to the country. I think we should not get into panic at all.
Q Do you get time to see movies like Pink and Ae Dil hai Muskhil?
I do watch films. In fact, I was one of the producers of Pink. As for Ae Dil hai Muskhil, it is a very good movie of Karan Johar.
Q What are your upcoming projects?
I am starting my own production house in February.
(the writer is a senior sub-editor and reporter (features), the statesman, New Delhi)