The neon-lit streets of Ahmedabad wear a mint fresh look with the first rain of the season. There is a flurry of activity inside the swanky hotel playing host to superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
But the restlessness in the air almost magically settles down when he enters into the room for an interview. It’s difficult to miss the spring in his step.
Even after a hectic day, he looks dapper in a cream suit. He settles down on the sofa and laughs when one says to him that “Oh, you brought the rains to Ahmedabad.” He says, “Ya, I have just put that on my twitter and my blog.” And then you tell him, “you must come to Gujarat more often.” He laughs heartily, “Ya, I am coming back to Gujarat soon for the next round shooting of Khushboo Gujarat ki campaign.” As a brand ambassador of Gujarat Tourism, he feels a sense of affinity with the state and “enjoyed visiting the Gandhi Ashram and Rann of Kutch.”
He is an actor with an eye for detail. So, before posing for the photo op, he asks in his baritone, “where are the flowers? Who has moved the vase? Bring it back fast.” For a moment you forget that he’s the legend, the superstar whom millions across the globe love, adore and worship. The flowers are back on the table and only then he poses for the camera.
Four decades of weaving sheer magic on the silver screen and yet he’s going strong with people flocking multiplexes to see Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap. Today, his challenges are different. Ask him about the changes in Hindi film industry and he says, “Technology and speed of communication are the biggest changes in today’s times. Acceleration defines the way we talk, the way we think. So, films are now psychologically designed to keep up with the changing times.” His hands move effortlessly as he tries to make a point and he says, “Today’s generation is impatient. You might tell them 10 sentences but in the end they will just say, “Ya cool.” Films, television, internet — everything has changed for the quicker version.” In the age of ‘speed communication’, Bachchan does long for the earlier years of his career when ‘there was poetry in dialogues and lyrics.”
In an age of teasers and promos, even a legend like him can’t escape the process of doing publicity campaigns. So, how does he deal with it? He admits, “Yes, I feel strange to promote a film. But I have to do it. Publicity is a necessity now. If you are going to watch a film in a multiplex along with your family, you got to spend a lot of money. Gone are the days, when we used to spend ‘athhani’ for front seat and ‘do rupiya’ for balcony. So, audiences also want to make a choice before actually watching a film.”
At the same time, even after illustrious years in the industry, he’s unable to understand the pulse of the audiences, “I wish I had understood what exactly clicks with audiences. Then I would have given only hit and hits,” he says with a laugh.
He sounds almost like an economist when he dissects the dynamics of film-making, “The amount of money involved is huge now. So, the first weekend is very crucial for every film. Everybody wants to recover their money.” Then he asks, “When did you last hear of a film celebrating golden jubilee? Everything now comes and goes in a flash.”
He can definitely put Generation Z to shame by his sheer energy and the ability to multi-task. “I flow with life. My craft is related to people. Like a sportsperson, I will work till my body allows me to do,” says Bachchan. He adds with a laugh, “I am no management guru.”
It’s easy to notice his flair for words. His tweets, blogs, conversations are all testimony to it. And he has an enviable life. So will he tell it all in an autobiography? “No. My life is not worth-telling.” On that note of modesty, the conversation ends. But then Amitabh Bachchan is someone who even has a monopoly over modesty. TOI