By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Mumbai, June 3 (IANS) "'Bunty Aur Babli' was like a picnic," says Abhishek Bachchan, his face lighting up at the mention of his new release.
"No, in fact, it was even better. All of us - dad, Rani and me - were getting paid for having fun. We should've paid them for giving us a chance to freak out, full-blast."
He chuckles a bit more. "It's a fun film through and through. We had a lot of fun making it. I'm glad audiences are enjoying it...
"This is Shaad Ali's ode to the kitschy cinema of the 1960s and 70s. Kitsch can be very creative while being entertaining. 'Bunty Aur Babli' proves it.
"It's a movie that takes you on a journey. 'Bunty Aur Babli' is about the dreams and aspirations of these two characters Rakesh and Vimi who become famous as Bunty and Babli."
Abhishek seems to have warmed up to his favourite subject.
"This is escapist cinema at its best. The average man and woman identify with Rani and me. We're stifled by the environment that we're born and brought up in. Our efforts to break away from the small-town environment will be understood by every member of the audience.
"We all have dared to dream. But few dare to implement those dreams. Bunty and Babli dare to do the outrageous and sometimes unlawful. It's a wish-fulfilment flick."
The film is set in the towns of Uttar Pradesh.
"We shot in the heartland of Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal. This is almost home ground for the Bachchans. We loved mingling with the people in Uttar Pradesh. I had never been to that part of the country.
"Usually our films have the protagonists based in the big city. 'Bunty Aur Babli' is about their journey. It's a film rooted to reality and yet it's a fantasy. Rani and I are living out a dream.
"And both of us got to get into various disguises. It was very exciting to go on the sets and get to play different people every day.
"Rani and I just freaked out. Shaad was so well prepared, Rani and I just had to get there and do it.
"It's always great fun shooting with Rani. She is a very good friend and a wonderful co-star. A lot of the plot in 'Bunty Aur Babli' depends on the chemistry between our characters. During the narration Shaad had stressed the compatibility factor between the actors. Having Rani on the other side made it easy for me."
Shaad and Abhishek were supposed to work together in "Saathiya". "It's always wonderful to have a friend on the sets. I missed out on the opportunity of working with Shaad in 'Saathiya' because of date problems.
"It's wonderful to finally step in front of the camera for Shaad, albeit in his second film.
"Shaad is a dear friend, and it is great to be directed by him. He understands both Rani and me very well. He knows how to get the best out of us. He's an immensely talented director. And for me he's the future of Indian cinema."
When Amitabh Bachchan joined the director and his romantic lead, it was a plain riot on the sets.
"We all come from a similar background, so there was a great comfort level. True, dad knows the Uttar Pradesh ambience better than me. But the film is about dreams. And we all have them, I'm no exception."
The qawwali featuring the two Bachchans brings the house down. The senior Bachchan had predicted audiences would be looking only at Abhishek in the item song.
"Ha, that's Pa being a loving father all over again. Do you think he can ever be overshadowed by anyone? It was wonderful to do a song and dance with Pa.
"I wasn't really nervous. Shaad's brief was - go out there and have fun. I did precisely that. I enjoy dancing."
He adds: "Every film of mine is special. But this one was extra-special because I got to work with the actor whom I consider to be the best in the business. It was a very big opportunity. I've another film 'Sarkar' coming up with dad."