Abhishek Bachchan is back on the big screen and Taapsee Pannu helms another lead role with elan.
Frisky, to the point and comfortable in his own skin; actor Abhishek Bachchan is a delight to converse with. After being off the (showbiz) radar for nearly two years, the Junior B is back in action — with Manmarziyaan, a Bollywood rom-com, which outlines the beauty and eccentricities of modern-day relationships. The film also sees Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal play the lead. In an exclusive interview, Abhishek and the immensely talented Taapsee share the inside track with us.
‘Anurag’s the reason I chose this movie’: “I liked the script, I liked the idea. But, when I got to know Anurag was directing the film, it kind off tipped the scale. I knew Anurag would do something intriguing with it. It's important to trust your director, Anurag inspired me to take on the role.” he says.
Robbie (The character, which he essays in the movie) is quite the ideal man, but Abhishek feels there are more shades to him, in reality. “As much as I'd like to believe that a little bit of your personality always syncs with the characters you play, I do have a personality that's slightly different from that of Robbie's. Robbie is an introvert. I'm a people’s person. I like Robbie's patience, dignity. He's pretty close to being the ideal man.”
‘I've become choosy, and there needs to be a connect’: While he's kept things low-key on the cinema front (the last we saw him was in Houseful 3 in 2016), it's also fuelled his creative thought process. Speaking of the most integral aspect that he factors in while picking roles, Abhishek says, “There needs to be an emotional connect with the roles I play. The script has to touch you. In this case, I was looking at something that would challenge me. I wanted to work with a director who would help push my limits, and make me uncomfortable.
It’s important for a creative professional to not be comfortable in their craft. There's no way you'll grow is you develop a tendency to be comfortable.
‘Reacting to trolls is a choice’: “That’s the beauty of social media. if you can’t take trolls, you shouldn't be on it. It’s not the main focus of what I do, I’m a film actor and sports entrepreneur. Looking at the bigger picture, I’m least affected by it, and I also believe that trolls help you develop a great sense of humour,” he quips.
‘I'm not as hands on as I'd like to be’: He’s one of the celebrities with a successful marriage. And, Junior B attributes it all to his wife. “Aishwarya has allowed me to go and do my work. She almost single handedly takes care of our daughter. She’s never put that pressure on me. She understand what I do. She gives me freedom to just be, and perhaps that’s what I really respect and admire about her."
Taapsee Pannu: ‘I don’t have a grey area in my life. I'm not iffy about things. My life, my rules.’
Taapsee has been on a roll. After doling out noteworthy performances through projects like Pink and Mulk, she’s pinning her hopes on Manmarziyaan. From social media digs to living life via the ‘my way or the high way agenda’; Taapsee is at ease -when it comes to being herself- conditions not applied!
‘I’m a hopelessly dependant director's actor as I’m not a trained actor’: “So, even before I pick up the script, I’d want to know who the director is. I'm extremely raw, and can be moulded in any way,” begins Taapsee, who adds, “Be it a YouTube video or something very short, I feel its only fair if I see his/her work. There's a reason they came to me- and I'd to believe it’s after seeing my work. So, I’d like to develop a similar approach while saying yes to an offer.”
While she’s evolved phenomenally as an actor, Taapsee believes in taking up roles that challenge her to go further up the ladder. Rumi is a lot like her, yet diametrically opposite, she believes. “Rumi’s a Punjaban woman. On the outside, Rumi might be just like me – we both are Sardarnis, we have a carefree way of being, we don’t usually bank on second hand opinion. But, if you look deeper, you will realise that Rumi is convincingly confused. She's iffy and not sure about a lot of things despite speaking her mind. I'm not like that. I know exactly what and where I want to be. I’m not iffy about things. But, one thing thread that attached me and Rumi was this clause of Log Kya Kahenge doesn’t exist for the both of us. Look, nobody asks me how to live their life. So, why should I ask anyone?”
As an actress, who’s quite a social media buff (she responds to most tweets, btw), Taapsee has gotten around to handling social media and its demons with tact. “I used to block a lot of people. I still block people who use filthy language. But, there’s an other set of people who try to provoke me, I like to use them to entertain my genuine followers. So, in a way, I have a healthy relationship with my trolls!”
‘Big B is like a buddy’: Her equation with Big B is a rather interesting one. And, she likes to keep it that way. “I had switched off the button in my mind, which said, ‘The Amitabh Bachchan is here’ right from the time I met him first . Till date I have never switched it off. We share a healthy rapport. The equation is very chill. He’s very prompt with responding to my messages, and everytime I speak to him, it's more like having a casual chat with my buddy and not one of India’s biggest icons.”
‘I don’t wish to sell my personal life:’ I didn’t try to conceal my relationship, ever. But, I also don’t want to sabotage my professional life with personal details. I’m not selling my personal life. I’m only selling my work. I’m not dating a tycoon or cricketer. I’ve never hidden while stepping out for dinner with anyone, it’s just that not many people seem interested in covering it. I just feel people don’t cover it because it’s not very gossip-worthy.” Signing off, she drops major hints that a big south project is in the offing. “I have something big, in terms of a South film that I’m keenly looking forward to. The rest will unfold, when the time is right.”