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07-29-2009, 01:48 PM #1
Song and dance are USP of our films: Big B
After 40 years of appearing on the silver screen, Amitabh Bachchan is the elder statesman of Indian cinema and is possibly the most recognised man in India.
Son of famous poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, he made his screen debut at the age of 27 and has gone on to star in over 180 films. He has seen Indian film making change over the years, weathered changing audience tastes and the evolution of Bollywood cinema.
He talks about his acting career, days of bankruptcy in the late 90s and his family in a candid interview with CNN's Anjali Rao.
CNN: There are reports that film production has been down by 30 per cent in India. What has been your reaction to the recession?
Amitabh Bachchan: In comparison to the rest of the world, India has faced recession in much better shape and has been in much better shape than some of the western countries. What is important that you still have the desire to make films and that hasnít stopped. We still continue to shoot and make our films. It is not though as if everything has come to a grinding halt and we are just sort of sitting around idle. We have all been working at practically the same pace... perhaps with a little less finance. But that's it.
CNN: We have recently seen closer collaboration between the Indian film industry and Hollywood. What do you think of those studio tie-ups?
Amitabh Bachchan: This has got to do a lot more with economics rather than sharing creativity. The West and Hollywood have to realise that when they come to India with their products there is a difference in the cultures. Not every film that comes out of Hollywood is as readily acceptable as they would be in Europe. But now what they doing is they are using their money to invest in productions coming out of India. In that respect yes pooling with Hollywood companies or any company has become almost a routine.
CNN: You recently starred with Ben Kingsley in Teen Patti and that was heavily promoted at Cannes. Do you think though that we are really ever going to see Indian films translate across the board in the West?
Amitabh Bachchan: I am not sure if Indian producers are deliberately making products that will reach out to the western audience. But yes if there is an opportunity they will. I am actually very happy with our content. Even though we were ridiculed, and the West were very cynical about the way we made our films and the content that it contained. You know the songs, the dance and the music was something that was looked down upon many years ago. But that very aspect has now become its USP almost, and people love to see that. I would not want to change that. I would expect that this is how and what our cinema is all about.
CNN: Let's discuss you personal career. You have been in this industry for 40 years now. You are the son of a famous poet. How did you start acting?
Amitabh Bachchan: We all have some elements of performance. As we are growing up in the kindergarten you are on the stage doing your school show with you little amateur performances. When I graduated and looked for job in Kolkata, I was working for a British agency and there were theater groups there. There was amateur theater and I joined those groups. We did even more serious theater. Joining the film industry is a huge exercise and we still don't know how the heck one gets into movies. There isn't any kind of a formal procedure. Khwaza Ahmed Abbas, who was a very fine gentleman and made some very fine films, was casting for his films and some of the newcomers with him were very friendly with my brother who was also posted in Mumbai at that time. They showed my photograph and I came down to Mumbai and that is how I got my first job.
07-29-2009, 01:51 PM #2
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- Dec 2008
07-29-2009, 03:10 PM #3
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