Abhishek Bachchan 2.0 is on a roll. The actor’s OTT stint, which began with Breathe: Into the Shadows, is going from strength to strength. Ludo, The Big Bull, Bob Biswas and now Dasvi from Netflix, the actor experiments with the genre and the characters at the same time. Bachchan, however, is grateful to be “employed”. As he sits down to talk about Dasvi, he talks about his films, dad Amitabh Bachchan calling her his ‘uttaradhikari’, daughter Aaradhya and how he and his wife Aishwarya Rai raise her to respect her privilege.
You’ve had feedback on earlier releases since the pandemic, The Big Bull, Bob Biswas and now Dasvi.
It’s wonderful to be employed. Part of being an actor is also getting a job. What people need to understand is that it’s not in your hands most of the time whether you get a job or not. So it’s not like we don’t want to work, but someone has to give us the movies. I feel very lucky and blessed that people regularly think of me to be in their movies, and I’m more than happy to do the work that I do.
Dasvi has come to an OTT platform at a time when people are returning to movies. How hard will it be to bring the audience back to their home screen to watch a movie?
There is a very famous dialogue in an English film called Field Of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”. I think if you make a good movie, they will watch it.
Your character, Ganga Ram Chaudhary, is a very desi character, from the heart. What made you choose the character who is so present?
I think the story and the circumstances make him a wonderful character. He’s larger than life there, gregarious…it’s so much fun to portray. Before the character, that was the story that Tushar (director Tushar Jalota) wanted to tell. When I read the script, I also loved the character. I just loved some of the traits he had and felt it would be a lot of fun to do.
Bollywood stars are inseparable from vanity and glamour. How do you reduce that when playing such real roles? How much of you do you bring to the roles you play on screen?
Vanity and glamor are off camera. On camera, every actor wants to be that character. I think every actor brings a lot of themselves to their characters, because it’s your physique. Even if you gain or lose weight for the movie like I did for Ganga Ram Chaudhary. I had just finished Bob (Biswas) so I had to lose that weight I had gained. Whatever you do for the character, at the end of the day, it’s all you.
You play a politician in the film. How political are you in your beliefs?
Being political or apolitical is an entirely personal choice. I think every adult at some point in their life would discuss politics, that doesn’t mean you have to politicize something. Discussing world affairs is a very common thing.
I am very apolitical. I don’t think I know enough to talk about the subject. By this I mean politics as a subject. I notice everything and I have opinions but I keep them to myself. As actors, your voice is heard, so you have to be very responsible because your voice is heard by more than one person. As a public figure, you have to be more responsible about that, I think.
Your father, Amitabh Bachchan, called you his “true utradhikaari”. Does it put you under social and professional pressure?
Of course it is. It was his reaction to Dasvi. I never talked about the pressures actually because I don’t think about it. If you think about it, you will waste the energy that you should rather channel to do a good job. In the end, that’s all that matters. I just focus on the task at hand. The pressure and all that you have to deal with. Nothing you can do will change that. So use that energy to do a better job.
As a parent, how safe do you feel that photos of your daughter Aaradhya have been circulating the internet, some even leaking from her school?
No, they were not disclosed at school or elsewhere. You will shoot her every time she comes out of the house. It’s like that. It is useless to analyze it. She is the daughter of two actors, the granddaughter of actors as well. Her mother teaches her to be very grateful and humble that people will want to see her, appreciate it, and not take it as a privilege. And know that in time to come, as and if you become a professional in this field, you will have to work very hard. My wife had told me about it when, she (Aaradhya) was much younger that it was going to happen anyway, so we had to accept it.