"I almost gave up after seventeen failures" - Abhishek Bachchan
By Subhash K. Jha, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Guru which most consider your finest performance to date came at the start of 2007. Do you think it's forgotten at the awards at the end of the year?
Why do you say that? Rang De Basanti had also been released in January. Awards are no doubt very encouraging. But there have been many notable films in the past that haven't won awards. At the end of the day, the greatest award is a successful film.
One chooses a film because it seems interesting, not to see how many awards it will finally get. Guru was an acclaimed and successful film. It's one of the biggest hits of 2007.
Are you more possessive about Sarkar Raj than Jodhaa Akbar since the former stars you with your wife?
No. At the end of the day I am an actor. And we're both thoroughly professional. It would be incorrect for me to be possessive about our film together. I am both an actor and her husband. I'm possessive about her, not her films. It doesn't matter whom she works with. In fact, I really like her pairing with Duggu. I think they looked good together in Dhoom 2 and Jodhaa Akbar. I wish that pair all the best.
Interestingly the first and second turning points in your career were both courtesy Mani Ratnam?
Yes, Yuva and Guru. Mani is very special. He had faith in me at a time when most people had lost faith, including myself. He's a friend and mentor. I hope I never let him down. I'd love to work again and again with him. He knows I'm only a phone call away. According to me, he's one of the most talented directors we've ever had. Mani is very reserved. If he has another film for me he would tell me when he's ready.
You went through a prolonged lean phase at the beginning of your career?
During the times when my films were flopping I had friends like Karan Johar who kept my morale high. I can't deny access to the industry was easier because you are a Bachchan. And I guess I did have it much easier than many people. But once you get a chance you've to prove yourself just like anybody else. I had to struggle. I almost gave up after seventeen failures. My father kept saying, just keep working and believe in yourself. Thankfully, better days were around the corner. You've to work very hard to get anywhere in this business. And I'm working hard. However, there's no formula for success. When I decided to do Guru, a lot of my friends thought it wouldn't work at all. By the grace of God it did well.
Are you pleased with your assignments?
Of course! How wonderful to be working at a time when an actor gets to do a Sarkar Raj, Drona and Dilli 6 during the same year. It's a dream come true for any actor.
Why did you initially opt out of Dilli 6?
Rakeysh Mehra mentioned the subject to me many years ago. He finally decided to shoot it in winter 2006 when I was committed to shooting Drona. I suggested he do it with someone else. He asked Duggu who asked me if it was okay. I was perfectly okay with that. But then Duggu's dates didn't work out. Then Rakeysh decided to re-write the script. By then it was December 2007 and I was thankfully able to do the film. The rest, I hope will be history. Rakeysh is a very sensitive director and I love working with him. I was meant to start my career with him.
How has the experience in Jaipur been so far?
It's like attending acting school every morning. When would I again get an opportunity to observe and work with actors like Waheeda Rehmanji, Chintu Uncle(Rishi Kapoor), Om Puriji, Deepak Dobriyal, Pawan Malhotra,, Vijay Raaz, Atul Kulkarni, K.K Raina….It's school! It's cool!!
Both you and dad are huge fans of Waheedaji?
Who isn't? This is my second film with her after Om Jai Jagdish. I just keep staring at her. Actors would do anything to be in one frame with her.
And what about your co-star Sonam Kapoor?
I saw Saawariya and thought she was wonderful. When I started my career I wasn't half as good as Sonam or Ranbir. It's wonderful to see this whole eager enthusiastic new generation coming in.