MagazinesPost Magazine

My life: Abhishek Bachchan

The Bollywood megastar tells Mark Footer about a childhood spent among screen legends and why he dislikes all of his own movies

 

HOME CINEMA I was born in Mumbai, India. I grew up and did my initial education there and went on to boarding school in Switzerland, then to university in Boston, America. Growing up in a family in which I was surrounded by actors came very naturally, actually, because it wasn't as though we had anything to compare it with, any other lifestyle. The lifestyle I grew up having - you know, film people in and out of the house, creative discussions going on all day - was something which was the norm for all of us. At that point of time, when you're a child, these are your parents' friends and colleagues - only when one grows up and joins the business do you realise there were these huge legends who were walking in and out of your house.

I was very close to (his grandfather, Hindi poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan) - I was lucky to have all four of my grandparents alive. Unfortunately, I've lost three of them now, but I spent a lot of time with my grandfather; he was a huge influence on me.

THE ACTOR WITHIN My parents (actors Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan) were wonderful and they left my choice of career up to me. They said, "Look, educate yourself; do what your heart tells you to do." There was never any pressure to become a film actor. As a child you want to be something new every day; one day you want to be an astronaut, the next a race-car driver, a doctor, a businessman - and then there came a time when I was a teenager when I realised that there's this one profession called acting in which you can play all these characters and get away with it. When I did tell my parents I wanted to be an actor, they were very happy and extended their full support.

A BOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY When I was a production assistant, before I became an actor, I met [former Miss World Aishwarya Rai; pictured with Bachchan] through a friend on a shoot. We became friends because we later did quite a few films together and one of the first in my career was with her - and that's where I really became friendly with her. I ended up marrying my favourite co-star.

Acting with family is quite easy (Bachchan has worked alongside his father on many films, too); all of us being professionals, you realise that when you're in front of the camera it's a job that you're doing and you have to do it to the best of your ability. When the camera goes on, you forget all interpersonal relationships and they become the characters that they are and you become the character that you are. It makes a huge difference, nonetheless, because there is a comfort level. Our film industry is very close-knit; everybody knows everybody, and all are socially aware of each other, so we don't have much of a problem; but it's always beneficial when there is a comfort level between actors.

ACTION REPLAY I think if you ask any actor, whenever they get a bad review, as brave as we like to appear, it does hurt; it does shake you up and inspires you to go out and work even harder, so that the next time round you don't get a bad review. You live and you learn and the important thing is to keep on improving with every film. You look back and you lose some and you just keep plodding along. I don't like any of my own films. I dislike all my work. Loads of actors would probably agree with that because I think when you go back and revisit your film and you see it, you always discover a new way you could have performed a particular scene or better way you could have portrayed your character. Actors are organic creatures; we're growing every day. I do go back and watch my own movies religiously and very often; I make notes. It's all good to keep learning and keep trying to improve.

DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL Fatherhood is an absolute blessing. My daughter, Aaradhya, is 1½ years old and she's been an absolute blessing for the entire family. I now have one very good reason to finish work and run back home. It did take a long time to name her (more than four months); there was no conspiracy, it just took a long time to arrive at a name that everyone in the family liked.

GOING FOR A SONG I have sung a few of my songs and people keep trying to arm-twist me to bring out an album - but that plan is on hold right now; I'm too busy with my film commitments. I do enjoy singing; I look on it as an extension of being an actor. I haven't been on stage since drama school, but I'd love to - I enjoy the theatre and I look forward to the time when I can perhaps take a year off and maybe work on a play and take it round the world - I think that would be a very interesting thing to do.

HELLO HONG KONG! I come to Hong Kong quite often; I was there in November last year for a charity dinner and I have many, many old friends over there. In 2009, I was in Macau (for the International Indian Film Academy Awards). We didn't really have an opportunity to go out and see the city because all our functions were inside the Venetian and I was performing, so I was very busy rehearsing. Although I am performing this time (at this year's awards), too, I'd love to go out and see some of the sights.

And let's hope it turns out to be a fruitful weekend.

 

Abhishek Bachchan will be in Macau as a host for the 2013 International Indian Film Academy Awards (from Thursday to Saturday); he has also been nominated for the best performance in a comic role gong for his turn in the film Bol Bachchan.

 

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or