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Exclusive: Amitabh Bachan- Ali Akbar


Amitabh Bachan: Making

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Amitabh and Abhishek Bachachan

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By Ali Akbar/Washington DC Bureau Chief  

Washington DC: Amitabh Bachan, the Indian superstar has been adored the world over for the past couple of decades. The Big B, as he is lovingly known in his home country was honored recently at the prestigious Lincoln Center in New York. He entered the world of Indian politics in the Eighties after giving his fans humongous hit Hindi movies such as Deewar, Sholay among dozens of others. He won the election to Parliament, continued to work in films, but was overshadowed by newer actors.

Bachan came back into the public eye hosting India's version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", a few years ago, and since then he's had several roles in hit movies as he re-established his credo with panache. The film festival showcased a wide range of fascinating new cinema and transforming Washington, DC into a filmgoer's haven. The Hindi movies showcased included Raincoat, Mughal-e-Azam, Dev, Dil Se and Black - a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film was shown on Sunday, April 17, 8 at Avalon Theatre, the oldest surviving movie house in Washington consisting of 428 seats - all full.

Appearing In-Person: Stars Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan. Amitabh were there throughout the movie, he spoke before the start of the movie around 8 pm, followed by Q & A after the end of the movie around 11 PM. Catching up with Amitabh Bachan at the Filmfest, DC - The 19th Annual Washington DC International Film Festival (April 13-24) was a unique experience in more ways than one. He spoke to the point but his body language swayed all.

This was Big B in person in real life. How tough was it preparing for the role? Both Rani and I went through a rigorous training session for nearly seven months before we started shooting for the film. We interacted with physically challenged kids, workshops were held at Sanjay Leela Bhansali's house, we took lessons in sign language - everything had to be perfect. Also, Bhansali's Asst Director is a Physically handicapped person which helped us a lot on the set.

What you think of Sanjay Bahnsali as a director?

Sanjay is the new generation director and one of the best directors I have worked with. He comes from Pune Institute and made some great movies like Khamosi, Hum Dil...Devdas...He has an astounding aesthetic sense and made a remarkable set for the film, the artistic creativity of which was indescribable.

How much time it took for the Black to make?

It was suppose to take 3 months. Unfortunately for us, the set caught fire and burnt to the ground and we lost couple of months but if you take that period out, altogether it took 4 months.

Where was the movie shot and which era does it portray?

It was shot in Shimla and time period sometime 1940s - 1950s.

Why did it take the Indian cinema so much time to come with 'different' and exceptional movie like this?

The young and new generation are different and they are making movie which are different from mainstream.

Why are the Indian movies being recognized now Lately?

Well, it depends on the country's economy. India's economy is coming up and people are recognizing India's potentially globally and that gives Indian movies also a great exposure to the world.

Are you doing something for the physically/mentally handicapped people and please comment on your role with the UNICEF?

Yes, I do charity. I have taken a role as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, special areas of focus is polio eradication and HIV/AID.

Can you sing a song for us?

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khyal aatta hai...

What's your all time favourite Hindi movie?

I like Guru Dutt movies like 'Kagaz ke phool', among others.

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