The first time I met Abhishek Bachchan he was curt, almost to the point of being rude. The second time he impressed me with his eloquent conversations on many topics over coffee and snacks. He also gave me sage advice on my ankle fracture (which benefited a lot) and how to take care of it. Today the Bachchan Jr I know is far different from the moody and reserved actor I first met while he was shooting for Yuva in Kolkata. Off record he is witty, sarcastic, well-read and extremely courteous. Of course, on record he is still as concise and crisp with his one-line answers (and still hates talking about his personal life) but once you get to know the real AB Jr, you can never forget him. A tete-a-tete with the star...
You entered 2014 with a dhoom...
I don’t think the intention was to break any records but to make Dhoom 3 as entertaining as possible. Of course, I am extremely happy that we managed to live up to our promise to our audiences and make an extraordinary film. The year did end with a dhoom. I’m glad that so many people enjoyed the film.
Which amongst the Dhoom series is your favourite and why?
(Pat comes the reply) Dhoom 2. Because it has everything — great music, good plot, characterisation, cinematography, locations etc! All three Dhooms are very different from each other and though it’s not fair to compare them, I enjoyed doing Dhoom 2 the most!
Apparently, you worked out a lot for your role as Jai Dikshit for a leaner look in Dhoom3...
Honestly speaking I received a lot of flak for Dhoom 2 because of the way I looked. People expected an action-adventure-drama, I should have looked fitter. The criticism was harsh and it hurt but I took note of that. I was shooting for Guru and Dhoom 2 simultaneously and for Guru I had to put on 20 kg. Jai Dixit being a police officer and the kind of character that he is, he must have a certain physical presence. This time before D3 started, I paid a lot of attention to my physique. I have always worked out but for D3 there is a lot more emphasis on physical fitness.
The goal was not a beefed-up, but lean-and-fit look.
Last year came with its share of controversies. Also, you were not invited for an event. Do you feel that D3 was promoted as more Aamir Khan’s film than yours and you were kept out of the limelight deliberately?
My job is to do and not feel. If my fans were upset about that, they have every right to be as they are very protective about me and love me. But I do not react to these things and just do my job. This question should be best answered by Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra as they take all the marketing decisions. It’s true that I was never asked to participate in the beginning of the promotional events but I will never interfere in their decision. If someone asks me tomorrow I will gladly offer my suggestions. YRF evidently felt that my presence wasn’t required at certain functions and that is their prerogative, and so be it.
Apparently your entry could have been more grand — befitting a Dhoom film, especially when Aamir and Katrina had great entries...
You have to understand the reason and concept behind the entire action sequence. The idea was to shoot the film abroad and use different styles of shooting so D3 looks very Western. But Adi felt there must be something very desi in the film too and hence my entry in the auto rickshaw. I guess I was meant to be the desi stuff.
Do you always accept what the director wants from you?
It is part of my duty as an actor to express an opinion. It’s all part of the creative process and very normal. If I have a difference of opinion, I will discuss it with the team. If I don’t tell the team I won’t be fair to the team. It’s good to have creative differences, sit and discuss them in the open and resolve them then and there. I have no ego to do it in my way. I could be wrong but if I feel strongly then I need my director to convince me.
Jai Dixit is very popular today. What does he have that Abhishek Bachchan doesn’t?
He has beautiful bikes which he can ride. I can’t, though I enjoy riding them. I remember John and Uday had taught me how to ride bikes before Dhoom. Both would take me out at night to teach me and I loved the experience.
How similar are you both?
Not much... I admire Jai for his focus, dedication and relentlessness. Once he sets his mind to something he goes for it! That’s vital, especially if your are a police officer.
Now you have worked with Aamir and Shah Rukh tell us what’s the difference between both.
Both are unique. Both have individual qualities, are individuals in their own right and masters in what they do. It’s unfair to compare them with the same yardstick. I love and respect both. Every actor has their individual process of working and won’t do things other actors do. With Aamir I learned how to listen the way he does. He is open to other people’s ideas and give everybody a fair chance. With Shah Rukh I learned a new meaning of enthusiasm. His enthusiasm, humility and dedication towards his job is noteworthy. Both are great fun to work with!
Who is the hottest star in Dhoom3?
The hottest star in Dhoom 3 are by far the bikes!
There were rumours that your role was edited and could have been much better. Would you do a film with Aamir Khan again?
If the script is good, yes I will but I won’t do just another film because it has Aamir in it.
Aamir’s son saw Dhoom 3. Have you shown Aaradhya the film?
No. Aaradhya is too young to watch any films. Of course she recognises me when I come on TV but she does that with any member of the family. Right now she watches only cartoons. My daughter is too young to be watching films.
You are one star who has had hits but never thrown a success party. Why?
What makes you think I don’t throw success parties? When I throw it is for the team of the film and not to be used for publicity and PR purposes. People who have success parties and invite the media do it as a PR exercise. I will do it with each and every member of the team who has made the film a success.
Tell us about your next projects.
There’s Umesh Shukla’s All Is Well. It’s a social film with a message but not a preachy one. It’s about a father-son relationship which has Chintu uncle (Rishi Kapoor) and me. Then there’s Amit Sharma’s film which I can’t talk about now. AB Corp is also producing a film.
Are you taking a more active interest in the day-to-day affairs of AB Corp now?
I always have done that. Our next film is with my father and it is being directed by R Balki. I’m completely involved in putting together all the projects right from pre-to-post production in every aspect.
Have you ever thought of producing a film with Aishwarya?
As a producer I like to find the script and director first and then the cast.
Who is your biggest fan and biggest critic in your family?
They all are. My mother is biased because she is my mom but my biggest critic would be my father as he has the ability to break down my performance and explain what he liked and didn’t like. He also tells me where he feels there’s room for improvement and I love that.
People often perceive you as a very reserved, serious, intensely private person with no humour, yet your co-stars and directors vouch for a fun-loving, prankster Abhishek on the sets...
My friends and family know that I am just a normal person. It all depends on the situation and how I react to it. I am a bit of everything that you said — fun loving, serious, prankster and can be very reserved when I need to be.
Do you cry?
Of course I do! Simple things like watching movies make me cry. I cry on the spur of the moment. Every actor is very emotional and so am I. I feel it’s important to learn to see the brighter side of life, and possess a sense of humour for that. My sense of humour has saved me many times when I have felt low. When you are low you have to be very positive and think of the bright side and I think I am a very positive person.
Do you feel being a star you have to always put up a facade?
No I don’t think so. One just needs to be well-behaved. Good behaviour is not a facade but inherent when you are a public figure. When you are a celebrity you must understand the responsibilities that come with that and live up to to the expectations but the day it’s a facade your image will get broken. It has to be what you are as it’s your job to behave in a responsible manner. Also my behaviour will be different at a public event against what I will be doing at home.
How would you describe your journey till now?
Necessary. All that I have gone through in life till now — the pain, the struggle and the happiness was necessary for me to now move forward positively. One must experience all the high and lows, happiness and sadness to grow in life or it would be terribly boring. You have to have a bit of everything — that’s what makes life so exciting!
God is... Everywhere
Life is… Happy
Love is... Important
Most amazing actor... Amitabh Bachchan
I live to… Act
Freedom is... God given right
Happiness is… Most important
Plastic surgery is... Okay. It’s about each one’s personal space and choice
I wish I was... I don’t wish for things. I make them happen!
I will never... Do anything to disappoint anyone purposely
My most cherished moment is... When my daughter was born
My biggest asset is... My family and my fans
My sex appeal lies in... The eyes of the beholder
My first crush... Zeenat Aman
My fave delicacy... Home cooked food