Amitabh Bachchan turned 57 on
Monday. Early morning on, fans began festooning the hedges opposite the
supernova's Juhu bungalow, hailing his dominance over all of Bollywood.
In this Rediff Chat recorded some weeks before, Amitabh revealed himself, like never before. Check out the transcript.
Hi everyone, wonderful to be here with you on rediff.com
The Big B is supposed to be a punctual man. Where is he?
Trax09: I was given a time of 6 pm to appear on the Net and here I am, punctual as usual:-)
Hello, I'm Somesh, my birthday is also on October 11. Send me your e-mail ID.
Somesh: Wonderful to know we share the same birthday. I do not possess a
personal e-mail, but you could route it through Rediff.
Welcome to this chat Big B, tell us, how did you come into films at a
rather late age? Was it that you wanted to pursue your studies in your
Anthony Gonsalves: Yes. My parents felt that a complete education was
mandatory. So after appearing for my senior Cambridge in Sherwood
College, Nainital, I joined Delhi University where I graduated from. I
did my BSc.
What is your next movie in Bollywood?
Dilipbhapkar: My next film is going to be Mohabbatein, produced
by Yash Chopra, directed by Aditya Chopra, and starring Shahrukh Khan,
Aishwarya Rai and six new boys and girls. There is also Aryamman which is almost ready, directed by S Ramanathan and has Karisma and Vijayashanti from the South.
Amit: Were you living in Manhattan and commuting to New Jersey while you were with TV Asia?
Mr Amitabh: Which is your personal favourite film? (Among the ones you acted in)
Rshanx: Difficult to choose from over a 100 films. But some directed by
Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai and Yash Chopra
would be among the prominent.
Sir.. Have you given a thought to doing a sequel to Bade Miyan Chote Miyan? It could be Bollywood�s answer to the Lethal Weapon series of Hollywood...
Milind Desai: No we haven't, but thanks for the advice.
RP: Namaskar (Hi!) I am from Allahabad and understand during
your political tenure, there was a lot of progress in Allahabad. Don't
you think a responsible and mature leader like you should come forward
to help a dying city like Allahabad?
RP: Regretfully, I'm no longer in politics and have no intentions of
re-entering since I do not consider myself qualified and adequate for
the job. Thank you for your compliments. Ironically, no one said this
while I was representing Allahabad.
Hello BOSS...! How are you?
Chandran: I'm no boss but I'm doing fine.
Sir, when are you retiring from films?
Saheb: I shall retire when no further job opportunities come my way or when the masses do not wish to see me.
Mr B -- your current image -- any similarity to Sean Connery ?
Al Duderino: I think no, Mr Sean Connery works in a different environment and comparisons would be unfair.
Amitabhji, why do you refrain from giving your detractors a piece of your mind? I know that silence is golden, but sometimes lathi ki awaaz jaada sunai deti hai!
Rajeev Sharma: I do not deliberately refrain but sometimes it is wiser to let my work speak.
Hello Bachchan sir, how do you feel about this chat today?
Suraj: I feel fine.
What were your son's career options other than films?
Pradeep Mishra: I haven't asked, but he was studying in Boston and I
guess he would have decided something in line with that before deciding
to join films.
Bachchan sir, have you been to Goa?
Naveen: Yes, several times and enjoyed it immensely. My very first film, Saat Hindustani was shot in Goa.
Amit, since you are a personal friend of the Rajiv (Gandhi) family, do you think it is wise on their part to enter politics?
Venkat: Personal friendship should be kept personal. Decisions of the
Rajiv Gandhi family are their personal choices. I do not have any say in
Jeevan Thaper (London):
I have heard that you Website will be up and running soon. How much day-to-day input will you have?
Jeevan: Yes my personal Website is being worked on and I shall try and give it a personal day-to-day input.
When you first catapulted to success, did you ever think that you would
be bigger than Dilip Kumar and gang...knowing that you are modest, you
will say that they are bigger.
Sunny: Thank you, you have answered your question yourself.
Some of your best and ,most persistent images were your recital of your father's poetry, like Jeevan ki aapa dhapi mein. Do you also write poetry? Can we have a sample please, though, I do admit this can hardly be a suitable place...
Sir have you considered acting in remakes of The Rock, Color Of Money, Untouchables? The actors have won Oscars for the above movies. Sean Connery won Oscar for The Untouchables, Paul Newman for The Color Of Money. All the above roles suit your age...
Amisha: Thank you for your observation. I have limited my poetic
intentions to the recitation of my fathers poems. I do not write poetry.
Milind Desai: Thank you for the input, I shall certainly put it across to my producers.
Mr Bachchan, if you can read this, please tell me if a movie was to be
made about you, which current actor would you choose to play you and
Amitabhji, are you still contemplating to act as an angry young man?
Manisha: Very unlikely that someone would make a film on me.
Bachchan, you are not answering my questions...I think you don't like them.
Mr Bachchan, what are your hobbies ?
Ghee: Ghee, I still haven't got your question but thank you for your compliments.
Ghee: So we finally got your question. Right now it's working on the Net and photography.
Hi Amitabhji! There are rumours about your next film -- that you're going to do with superstar Rajni in Tamil. Is it true?
Chandran: Rajni is a great personal friend of mine and I have requested
him on several occasions to give me a small part in a Tamil film with
him. He still hasn't complied.
Do you think you have improved with age (I'm not being rude)
Sunny: Depends which sphere of improvement you talk of. Life is a great
educator and every day is a new experience. All of which improves one's
Are you doing any stage shows in Australia? We are looking forward to seeing you Down Under.
Amitji, do you strategically plan your career? What's your next move?
Mona: There are a few ideas for shows in Australia being contemplated.
It would be a great pleasure to perform Down Under hopefully in the
Rajeev Sharma: No, I do not so I'm unaware what my next move is going to be.
Amitji, Do u have any plans to work with Subhash Ghai film? What happens to the Devaa project?
M Khalid: No, I do not have any plans of working with Subhash Ghai. He will have to make the plans. Devaa was scrapped by him.
Was there any rivalry between Sherwood and Joseph's? Who came out better in dramatics?:-)
Amisha: Yes a very healthy and vibrant rivalry. Not just in dramatics but in all sporting activities. AND ALWAYS SHERWOOD CAME OUT ON TOP!:-) :-)
Mr Bachchan, I was wondering if you re-played the Al Pacino part in Scent Of A Woman with Abhishek in supporting role, wouldn't it be terrific?
Flamboyant: It's something that has been suggested to me. I do play a blind lawyer in Aryamman though.
Atul B Malviya:
Dear Mr Amitabh Bachchan, I heard that Nana Patekar
approached you to work for him in a film for which the story is written
by himself? Is it true? if yes, then are you planning to go ahead with
Keshav: What is your opinion of Sonia as PM ?
Atul B: Yes, Nana has discussed a script with me. As yet no plans for the future have been discussed.
Keshav: My opinions will be personal and cannot be shared publicly.
Amitji, what is your plan on the New Year's Eve, I mean 31st Dec, '99?
Dear Amitji, why was the name of Abhishek's first film changed from Aaakhri Mughal to Refugee?
Do you think Ghai has deliberately released Taal with Kohram, just to take revenge for Devaa? How are your relations with him now?
Zain: To be with my family.
D: Aakhri Mughal was a different subject. Refugee is another story.
Binay: Releases of films are not planned with revenge in mind, it is
dictated by terms of commerce, availability and convenience. It would be
wrong to think someone would deliberately indulge in such a practice.
My relations with Mr Ghai are fine.
Third Eye Fourth Nose:
AB, See Hell. In one word, ABCL. Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited.
How to lose Rs 1 billion in two years? Why don't you write a book like
Third Eye Fourth Nose: See success in a couple of years. This is not the
first business venture that has run into problems and it will not be
the last. A book shall be definitely written and when it is I hope you
will buy and read it.
Mr Bachchan, I am wondering why you are not allowing Abhishek Bachchan
to act in films. Don't you like the idea that fathers promoting their
sons and daughters in to the film field, at least by producing one?
Angry Young Man:
Amitabhji, do you dictate or influence Abhishek as to what roles and films he should act in or do you let him make his own decisions?
Das: Abhishek is not being prevented to work in movies. His first film Refugee, directed by J P Dutta of Border fame, should be releasing early next year. At present, he is working in several projects -- with Sohail Khan as director in Aryan, with Raj Kanwar as director in Dhai Akshar Pyar Ke with Aishwarya Rai, in Vashu Bhagnani's next titled Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya
and with Rohan Sippy, son of Ramesh Sippy, as director in his next
venture. There are three other projects on the anvil, two of which will
be starring the two of us together.
Angry young man: Abhishek makes his own decisions but we confer and discuss within the family what is best for him.
MilindDesai: Sir, why is it that although you have acted in many movies where Gulzarsaab has written the script, why is it that you have not acted in any films directed by him?
Sir, what happened to the movie you were supposed to do with Aamir and Madhuri? Is it still a go?
Why media hates you? Why are you held responsible for failure of recent movies and not the directors or scripts?
MilindDesai: Because there has been no offer.
project was to be directed by Indra Kumar. He backed out and for the
moment we have not thought of an alternative.
Neeraj Mehta: Ask
the media. Since they have all the criticisms on the failures they
should ideally also have all the answers for successes. It would be
interesting to see some comments from them on this score.
I think my question didn't go through. I feel that there's an
anti-Amitabh lobby which works against your movies. Partly because of
that, some of your movies have failed. I also feel that your movies need
more publicity and advertising prior to their release. Could you please
Akshaye Dave: I would not entirely agree with that. Healthy rivalry has
always flourished in the film industry and no one can lobby a success or
failure. But I agree that in today's times, marketing and advertising
do carry a lot of weight.
How come you have bagged less number of awards? You are a tue actor.
Whenever I expect that you would bag an award for your wonderful acting,
I am disappointed. No one can deny you an award for Deewar, Sholay, Shakti at least..at least. The award panel cannot do this, Mr B.
Are you working with Prakash Mehra in near future?
Sir, do you feel Bollywood has fully utilised your acting potential? Or, s there still hope for Hollywood in the new millennium?
Sudhi: Your question should be directed to the award-giving bodies.
Whereas I shall happily welcome an award, I have always believed that
the greatest award for any actor is the affection and love of his fans
and his own assessment of his work.
Manisha: Potentials will be unknown until provoked and challenged. I hope there will be several in the coming years.
I know Kohram was not a smuggler role, but you are great in both shades, Banarasi babu as well as a Sikh in that.
Mr Bachchan, are you still in touch with your old friends, Vijay Crishna for instance ?
Dear Amitabh, Do you feel Bombay has changed for better or for worse?
How does it feel to be a grandfather? My heartiest congrats!
Binay: No Kohram is not a smuggler role. Some of my forthcoming films shall ably satisfy your desires.
Flamboyant: Yes, I do bump into Vijay Crishna occasionally.
Omaramar: Bombay is an extremely vibrant city, continually changing.
Yes it's more crowded now. But so is every other big metropolis the
Zain: The most wonderful feeling is to be a grand dad and thank you for it.
How do u feel when someone says that your wife is a better actor?
Vijay D Chavan: Congrats for being chosen as the greatest star of the
millennium. So that does not leave any scope for your infamous modesty -
how does it feel?
I was an avid member of your fan club. We used to book the entire Gaiety Theatre for you movies.
Hi Amitabhji -- I was expecting you would stand for election '99.
Tihor1: Good, because she is.
Vijay D Chavan: I am surprised
and overwhelmed to be labelled among greats like Lawrence Olivier,
Charlie Chaplin and Brando. I accept the verdict with great humility.
Sachin Khanolkar: Now I know. Thank you for your patronage:-)
Raghavan: No I'm not standing for any election. Sorry to go against your expectations.
Amitji, in the US, trash films like Taal and Biwi Number 1 run to full houses...solely on HYPE!...how do you plan to generate hype for Aryamaan?
Rajeev Sharma: By good marketing and extensive use of the Net.
Atul B Malviya:
As per Indra Kumar's recent interview I saw on TV, he is still willing to work with you, will you?
I really think you should do a film with Ramesh Sippy. He really knows how to present you. Whether it's Shakti or Sholay or Akayla. Your portrayal of an ageing lone cop in Akayla was brilliant! Let's see another similar role soon please!
Sir, if I were to offer you an original script wherein your role would
be more subdued, would you consider it or would you reject it as it
would affect your star image?
Atul: Yes if he makes an adequate offer.
Akayla: Tell Ramesh Sippy that.
Anish Balakrishnan: I am open to all scripts.
You are the greatest Mr Bachchan. Being an NRI, I learnt a lot about being an Indian from your movies... thank you
Mr Bachchan, are you averse to good scripts and new directors ?
Hi Amitabhji -- I hold you and bhabiji in high esteem - What really went wrong with ABCL?
Cash: Thank you
Abhijeet: No I'm not averse but yes there is a need for good scripts.
Raghavan: Thank you for your affection. AB Corp was managed wrongly due
to an over dependence on the executives. They asked for independence
and trust. I gave it to them. They gave me back a sunk company. But all
is not lost, and we shall strive to come back again.
Amitji, speaking of Dilipsaab, what are your views on the recent political attack on him and the view that he should return the Nishaan-e-Imtiaz award?
I know you have been in Calcutta in your earlier days, do you visit
Calcutta at every Durga Puja? I have heard that you come to College
Square mandap for darshan every year, is it true?
Mr Bachchan, do you still play sitar?
Amitji, how are your relations with Yash Chopra...He has created magic with you...
How do you feel about having this worldwide fan following whether it be old/young, male and female?
I have to hurry home to my 7-month-old daughter.
Rajeev Sharma: This is Mr Dilip Kumar's personal decision.
Binay: Yes I spent five-and-a-half years in Calcutta and enjoyed every
moment of it. I have been to a few Puja celebrations but nothing
Flamboyant: I never knew how to play it. But now and then I still strum a few strings.
Rajeev: I haven't started yet and do look forward to working with him in Mohabbatein.
Jeevathaper: Very honoured.
Sachin: Give her a hug and a kiss on my behalf.
Namaskar, Amitji, now would you like to revive the old partnership of Salim-Javed to boost your career?
Vijay D Chavan:
You were really good in the Mirinda ad...do you think that they really suited your stature?
Since you're graced with will money, fame etc, do you give back to the nation what it's given you?
What gives/has given you the greatest pleasures in life?
How and where do you foresee yourself in the coming millennium?
Amit Kulkarni: I would love it.
Vijay: The concept is designed by the agency, we merely toe the line.
Sammy: Talking to you right now.
Manisha: I believe so.
Zain: No idea.
I would like to say that I have been a great fan of yours for the last
24 years. I grew up on your films. I hope you keep being the Amitabh
Bachchan that I and all you other fans grew up to admire and I wish you
much much more success for the future and maybe one day I will meet you!
Mr Bachchan, I just loved you in Main Azaad Hoon. I've seen the
movie countless times. I would rate your performance in it as one of
your top five. How about acting in a role like that again ?
Vijay D Chavan:
You actually dance better these days around as compared to the old
days...is it because of any special practice you've done over the years?
Jeevathaper: Thank you and I hope you do
Flamboyant: Main Azaad Hoon is a favourite of mine as well. Someone will have to come up with a script like that for me to be able to work in it.
Vijay D Chavan: You must be kidding!
Amitji, Do you have any plans to act with Dilip Kumarji...is any director planning to make a film?
Living the Virar Local:
AB, are you planning to seek help from overseas business consultants to
revive ABCL? My sincere advice to you: Just focus on the strengths and
concentrate on improving the weak links as time goes by.
Vijay D Chavan:
What made you do a movie like Insanity, oops sorry, Insaniyat? And then Lal Badshah, did you do them on gunpoint?
M Khalid: No offers as yet.
Living the Virar Local: Thank you, I will do exactly that.
Vijay D Chavan: No I did not. But commitments must be honoured and that is what I did.
Amitji, can I know your email address?
Are you working with Abhisek?
How many movies have you signed ? So what can we AB maniacs look forward to :)
Tihor1: I don't have one.
Amit Kulkarni: Yes, the project is being designed.
Cash: It's four films. Mohabbatein with Adi Chopra, Aryamman
with S Ramanathan, an untitled film with Manoj Bajpai and Raveena
Tandon directed by Rakesh Mehra and a Vashu Bhagnani project with
Amitji, despite all your personality and grace, you have often been described as a very non-communicative person? Do you agree?
Living the Virar Local:
AB, we had another big Indian star in UK here in the form of Freddie
Mercury aka Farook Balsara. Did you know him and what do you have to say
about his achievements?
Which is the favourite song you have sung? I would choose Mere paas aon from Mr Natwarlal.
Sammy: No, how can you say that, as I respond to you on the Net.
Living the Virar Local: No I did not know him personally but I heard his work and laud all his accomplishments
Sudahrshan Shidore: Ok.
Amitji, I have saved whatever you said. Thanks for making my
day. God bless you sir. Don't worry, there shall always be one ticket
booked by me for all your movies. You are the best ever.
Dear Amitji, have you seen Abhishek act and do you think he is going to be able to handle the comparison with you?
Sachin: Thank you for your support but I'm getting anxious about your 7-month-daughter. Will you please attend to her?
Amit: No I have not seen him act and I do not know if he will be able to handle the comparison. But one hopes that he will.
Mr Bachchan, are you enjoying yourself answering our questions on the Net, or is it very tedious for you?
Do you feel today's actors/actresses are driven by money/success or by pure addiction to acting?
Amitabhji, do you feel any nerves before the release of your films today?
Manisha: No it's not, I'm enjoying myself.
Jeeva: A bit of everything.
Rajeev Sharma: Yes.
Mr AB, why is there no science fiction cinema in India? I would love
seeing you as an elderly ObeKanWobee (Luke Skywalker's father) in Star Wars (Sitaron Mein Yudh). I mean if we can make fantasy movies like Mr India, why not something with a science fiction twist?
Sudarshan Shidore: Thank you for the suggestion. I shall endeavour.
Amitji, do you have any plans to open a school for new actors?
Is Jayaji doing any more movies?
Are you officially starting www.amitabhbachchan.com ? If yes, when? Do
we expect it on your birthday? Happy Birthday to my all time fav actor
Third Eye Fourth Nose:
What exactly is Amitabh Bachchan the artiste seeking to prove these days? Is he acting merely to keep the pot boiling?
Sir, won't you feel like working with Mr Hrishikesh Mukherjee again? You've given some of your best performances in his movies!
Mr Bachchan, how do you live your day-to-day life knowing how lucky and
graced you're by the almighty? Do you believe in god, fate or destiny?
Box Office: I believe she is working in a new project being directed by Khalid Mohmmed of Times of India and in a project produced by Boney Kapoor.
Binay: Yes, the Website is under preparation and thank you for your greetings.
Third Eye Fourth Nose: I do not work to prove anything -- just to
pursue a desire to act and hope it is appreciated and noticed.
Flamboyant: Hrishikesh Mukherjee has been a father figure for me and I would love to work with him again.
Manisha: I believe in an unknown force that guides our destiny and I pray and hope for its goodwill.
Wonderful talking to all of you through Rediff. Thank you for your
questions and your support. I hope we can communicate like this more
often. Keep smiling and all the best.
Photographs by: Devyani Chandwadkar and Jewella C Miranda