From being ‘Bollywood’s Angry Young man’ to a ‘global Grand Old Man’, Amitabh Bachchan has always left an impression in the minds of the audience and the critics with not just his choice of roles, but
From being ‘Bollywood’s Angry Young man’ to a ‘global Grand Old Man’, Amitabh Bachchan has always left an impression in the minds of the audience and the critics with not just his choice of roles, but also his impeccable sartorial elegance. Keeping true to his ‘Timeless Fashion Icon’ image, Bachchan, who was in the capital for a promotional event, looked dapper in a well-tailored purple suit paired with a crisp white shirt. Not just this, the actor known for his penchant for customised high-end shoes, ditched his loafers and sneakers for a cute pair of bow tie footwear, and looked every inch comfortable in them! In a freewheeling chat, he talks about his recently released film Pink, the issue of women’s virginity, how he handles criticism and more.
The great virginity debate A strong supporter of women rights, Bachchan questions: “If you ask a woman about her virginity, then you should also question a man about it. Why is there a difference in treatment ”
He adds, “When you ask a woman, then there comes a question mark in the minds of people, as if there is something wrong about it; however, if the discussion involves a man, then the question mark changes to an exclamation mark, as if he has done something laudable and praise-worthy.”
Safer India When asked if he ever feels a sense of vulnerability (considering he has granddaughters and a daughter) given the kind of news one reads everyday, he puts forth, “That goes without saying. Whether I have a son or a daughter, I have always maintained them to be equal in my life. And even when I die, whatever little that I have will be equally divided between my daughter and my son.”
The star strongly feels that each part of the country should be safe for women. “We should not say that Mumbai is safer than Delhi or vice versa. The discussion should not be around Delhi or Mumbai. We are one as a country, and women should be safe in every part. If an untoward event occurs in Delhi or Mumbai, the whole nation feels bad and gets worried about it. The issue is about the whole nation and I feel kids should be taught the concept of equality, right from childhood,” he says.
Progression matters The actor strongly feels that we should work together to make India a developed nation. He elaborates, “It’s very embarrassing when we visit abroad and people there say, ‘You are from India, the land of rapes’. I want that to go. I do not like it when people call us a third world country or developing nation. Let’s work together to make India a first world nation, and not a developing country but a developed country.”
Letter-aly speaking Recently, a letter penned by Big B for his granddaughters Navya and Aaradhya talking about everything from gender issues to marrying for love, from making your own identity to listening to your heart, had gone viral. While most of the audience found it inspirational and heart-warming, others saw it as a gimmick to promote his film. Expressing his take on the issue, he shares, “While we were doing film promotions, we were often asked questions revolving around the movie Pink, its title and storyline. We were reluctant in sharing the details because it is a thriller movie, and we didn’t want to reveal the details. This is when our filmmaker Shoojit Sircar suggested that why don’t I write a letter addressing my granddaughters and indeed, all the granddaughters of our nation. I liked the idea. We sat together and drafted the letter, and it later got published. This was the essence of the film that we wanted to put across to the audience, without revealing the storyline.”
Critical point Angry young man, eccentric old dad, son with a rare disease and now a lawyer— the veteran actor has played several unforgettable roles in his career. Is there any personal favourite He says, “All roles have been special in their own ways for different reasons, and great learning experiences for me. I have acted in more than 200 films but we all commit mistakes and learn; nobody is foolproof. Every time I play a character, I try and put in my level best. I take criticisms and reviews very positively. I try and work on the mistakes and evolve as an actor.”
A touch of pink The actor is receiving rave reviews for his role of a fierce lawyer in the recently released movie Pink. The movie that also stars Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Andrea Tariang highlights the discrimination girls face about their sexuality. Elaborating on what made him give a nod to the film, he shares, “Shoojit came with the concept of this film, and gave me a brief for a couple of minutes and I immediately gave my nod to it. I did not know about my role in the film, nor did I know about the star cast but just the concept attracted me. It is only later on that Shoojit designed the film and did a lot of research on the subject.”
Sharing about the research that went into the making of this film, he says, “Shoojit went to several legal bodies, met different justices, and visited different courthouses in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru. He also went through several real life cases to understand the topic. It has been a great moment to be a part of the film, as all of us somewhere believe in what the essence of the film is. Every dialogue that I have spoken in the film If I would have been asked if I was not a part of the film or was not facing the camera, I would have said the same words.”
He adds, “The script was so strong, and all the legal references, sections were already well-researched by the writer, I just had to understand and mouth those dialogues that were written for me. In fact, on our set there was an esteemed lawyer to help us in getting the legal references completely right.”
When quizzed if the film has initiated the much-needed discussion on the topic of gender empowerment, Bachchan says, “As the society evolves with time, a lot of progressive ideas and thoughts also encounter the minds of creative people. For our films, we draw inspiration from what is happening in the society, and the films are a reflection of that. So the idea was anyway there, we just developed it into a film.”