Mallika is a fabulous co-star, says Abhishek Bachchan ...

By Arpana, Indo-Asian News Service

imageNew Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) After Akshaye Khanna and Rahul Bose, it's Bollywood's rising star Abhishek Bachchan's turn to lavish praises on hot and happening Mallika Sherawat, who makes a special appearance in his upcoming film "Guru".

"Mallika is fantastic. She is a fabulous co-star. We shot the song 'Mayaa Mayya' in an abandoned church in Istanbul. She danced bare feet, practiced 8-10 hours every day but not once did she complain. She was always smiling and pleasant."

Abhishek has a lot riding on his latest and much-awaited release "Guru". The 30 plus actor says he has given his 100 percent to the film, which opens in theatres Friday in India and Canada -- and hopes it turns out to be the best of his career.

"The film covers the life of a Gurukant Desai. It was challenging to play the journey of a man that starts at age 15 and goes on till 70. Am I open to playing an old man's role? Yeah, why not! Everybody grows old, I am going to be 31 and I would love to play such roles," Abhishek said at a press conference here.

The film by maverick filmmaker Mani Ratnam is apparently inspired by business tycoon Dhirubhai Ambani's life.

Talking about his role, Abhishek added: "I have learnt a lot from the film. I learned how to put on weight in two weeks and how to lose it one week (laughs).

"However, on a serious note, I think if an actor gives to a character, he takes back as much from that character. In the film, my character is iconic and he is not apologetic about what he is doing. My character taught me about the right attitude and philosophies of life," said Abhishek.

After Ratnam's "Yuva", which marked a turning point in Abhishek's career, "Guru" is his second film with the talented filmmaker and he is thankful to him for giving a new dimension to his career.

"Mani Ratnam always inspires you not only by his work but also the kind of work he takes out of you. I was not confident when he offered me Lallan Singh's role in 'Yuva' but I will always respect Mani for having confidence in me - which I didn't have in myself at that time."

Playing the other lead roles in the film are Aishwarya Rai, R. Madhavan, Vidya Balan and Mithun Chakrobarty.

Before making it big with "Yuva" Abhishek had a string of flops. Did he ever felt like giving up?

"I come from a family which doesn't believe in giving up. But yes, at one point of time I wasn't sure about myself. I went to my father and asked him: 'Have I made a mistake?'

"When you are being criticised, you take it seriously and try to improve your bad points as I did, but when you fail again, it is certainly disheartening."

Asked which film he rated as his best, Abhishek said that none of them fitted the bill so far. "I hope 'Guru' fills that space," he remarked.

On the constant media focus on his private life, he said that he didn't mind media speculations but he couldn't share his private life with anybody.

"Public figures or celebrities enjoy publicity. If you have problems with media scrutiny, you shouldn't become a celebrity. But what a celebrity doesn't like is sharing his or her personal life because that's the only thing which they can call 'mine'.

"And I don't think the general public is interested in celebrities' personal lives. They are forced to take interest. The audience is only interested in the character a hero plays.

"But at the same time I don't even know what is being written about my personal life. Reporters are doing their job and I can't stop them from writing. I can't let it irritate me either. As far as sharing goes, as and when I would have something to share, I will definitely share it."

Abhishek also explained his new hair do, which is the talk of town.

"I am growing it because Shaad Ali asked me to grow it for 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' and then I am also doing "Drona" in which my character needs to have long hair."

After his hip-hop number in "Bluffmaster" became a huge hit, the actor is coming up with an album too.

"Music directors Vishal-Shekhar and me are working on an album which will most probably come out by the end of the year. So, I am going to haunt you with my voice."