From Sanyukta, Seasons Correspondent
Amitabh has seen it all. From path-breaking films like
Zanjeer, fatal accident on the sets of Coolie to huge losses
in running a mega company. He has always been described
as a phenomenon and his life story is full of phenomena
and incidents. It is not easy to chat up the mega star in
a single attempt and return with entire details of his life
history. Hence, we attempted to have a few glimpses into
his successful past, shimmering present and promising future
on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati at Film City recently.
The talk invariably focussed on his two current obsessions;
Star Plus' Kaun Banega Crorepati and son Abhishek's recent
flops on the big screen. Excerpts:
You are the only Bollywood actor who has a wax statue at
Madame Tussaud's museum in London, how do you find this
Actually, I never thought of myself to be someone who deserved
it. I can think of so many names who deserved it more than
me. However, it is a great honour and I feel obliged to
those who bestowed it upon me.
Earlier, you were selected for the coveted star of the millennium
by a net poll. Suddenly, it looks like you have lots of
honours coming your way?
(Smiles) I have never given it a serious thought. I am a
mediocre actor, I have so many flaws, which I have to yet
What was this controversy over
an interview by Pooja Bedi, why was it not telecast?
It was a decision by the channel, I have nothing to say
about it. Its a old matter, why rake it up again and again?
How do you feel hosting KBC for
TV after a three-decade long innings on the big screen?
Very nice. In the beginning, I felt very nervous and shy
as it was a totally new job for me. There is no prepared
script, very few possibilities of retakes and it needs one
to sustain a temperament and mood.
But the industry looks down at
television as inferior to the big screen, so how do you
justify your entry into the small screen?
I have always experimented with my career, always taken
risks. As a newcomer, I did films like Ek Nazar and Reshma
Aur Shera. Zanjeer gave me the so-called angry-young man
image but I was also doing films with Hrishida and Yashsaab,
which were in a different genre altogether. My company lent
a corporate kind of set-up to making films. I have featured
in a video album as well. I have tried my hand at different
things and I wanted to try out television as well so I am
The programme is a Monday through Thursday one-hour fare,
won't that affect your busy film schedule?
Not, really, as I have to shoot only four days in a month
for KBC, I can allocate the rest of the days for films.
So far it has been good and as I am doing only few films,
I don't see any tension in the future.
Do you enjoy doing this show?
Well, the whole atmosphere is disciplined and under control.
The floor is air-conditioned, I get good make-up and clothes
to wear. In the 80's when I used to shoot for 16 to 18 hours,
I never had such facilities. That apart, it is adding to
my general knowledge.
Do you intend to do more programmes for television?
I'm openů but at the moment I'm committed to Star Plus.
My commitment with Star Plus is for 130 episodes which means
that the show will be on air with me as an anchor till July,
2001. I cannot say whether I will take up anything else
after KBC or not.
What do you feel about Abhishek's
debut film Refugee?
I watched Refugee a little earlier before its release. I
liked the film and the concept of the story. Mr Dutta is
a brilliant director. As far as Abhishek is concerned, I
think he was okay but has to learn a lot more. But he is
improving with each and every picture. Experience counts
in this trade. He has improved a lot in 'Dhai Akshar Prem
Ka'. I liked the movie but the unfortunately the audiance
Do you guide your son in choosing
Abhishek has studied abroad in his early childhood. He has
not grown up in a typical filmy atmosphere. When he came
back to India about three years ago he told us that he wanted
to be an actor. Till then he did not know anything about
films. As he does not know the ropes, it is my duty to guide
him whenever he seeks my advice.
All his films have not done well
at the box-office, especially his debut film 'Refugee' which
had the hit director J.P.Dutta at the helm. Any Comments?
It's wrong to compare Mr Dutta's earlier film Border with
Refugee. According to my knowledge, the film has done well
and it had taken a great initial. The expectations from
the film were too high. As the film launched Abhishek and
Kareena who are star son and star daughter respectively,
and as Mr Dutta's last film Border was a huge hit, the expectations
were too high and that perhaps has affected the performance
of the film. A person or his talent cannot be judged by
just one film or two.
Could you tell us something about
AB Corp's current liabilities?
had gone wrong in certain calculations. The equations of
Bollywood and that of corporate companies are totally different.
Once bitten twice shy. I am now extra cautious in this matter.
I have already repaid 90% of the debt and just DoorDarshan's
liability of about 10 crores is remaining. I am determened
to start afresh and concentrate only on the core areas which
I have little bit of expertise.
But it is said that you have accepted to host KBC only to
get over these problems?
I cannot do anything about what
people think and feel. Everybody has the right to have his
or her own opinion. I cannot change it by merely accepting
or denying anything. But the show has helped me get back
in the reckoning or else I was planning to just fade away
from public memory.
What about the charge that you are not playing your age
I am playing more than my age
in 'Mohabaatein'. I hope you have seen the film. I am doing
what the makers want me to do. There is not much choice
in our set-up. I am trying to reinvent and innovate in whatever
little possibilities are available in the kind of set-up
we have. Sometimes you are not playing your age but the
film does extremely well at the box-office. At others, even
a taut script, character that suits your age and flawless
performances cannot salvage a film. The whole business is
very unpredictable. I enjoy acting that is why I am here.
The Bachchans are back in full form