Applause still overwhelms me: Amitabh

Mar 15, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, March 16 (IANS) Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, who is on an award-winning spree, is yet to get used to applause and says he "struggled with emotions" when he bagged two Filmfare awards for "Black".

"It was such an overwhelming moment to see the audience's reaction to me. I just didn't know what to say," Amitabh told IANS in an interview.

After the success of "Black", he said he was keen to work with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali again. "I'd love to have him remake Guru Dutt's 'Kagaz Ke Phool' with me."

Following are excerpts from an interview.

The Filmfare function was your first bona fide public appearance.

I missed a couple of awards earlier this year and the organisers were gracious enough to let me miss them. But now that I've started a little work, it was okay for me to go. Filmfare was very considerate. They allowed me to sit in a van. The earlier award functions also allowed me that luxury. But the doctors hadn't given me a clearance. Unfortunately, I couldn't travel to Mauritius for the Zee awards.

The audience at Filmfare awards gave you a standing ovation.

It was such an overwhelming moment to see the audience's reaction to me. I just didn't know what to say. I had a tough time trying to control my emotions when I saw the audience up on its feet for me. I've no adequate words to describe what I feel each time I get the love of the people in this country.

Aren't you used to it by now?

No, I still don't know how to deal with the emotions that they shower on me. I've repeatedly questioned myself when I'm alone about what they see in me. I run against a wall each time. I hope I remain healthy and continue to do good work and live up to people's expectations.

The "Black" sweep at the Filmfare awards was quite something.

I was absolutely in shock, so much so that I forgot what they were giving it to me for. When I got the critics' award, I thought I won't get the popular award. It was really wonderful, and not just for the audience. It shows the maturity of the audience and the way the critics are responding to our cinema. It is no longer true to say critically acclaimed films aren't commercially successful.

You seem extremely happy.

It was so wonderful to see so much recognition for "Black". I never expected both the critics' and the popular categories for "Black". That's historic! Also father and son - me and Abhishek - getting awards in the same year is unprecedented. We were both nominated in the best actor and best supporting actor categories.

Were you proud to lose in the best supporting actor category?

I'd have been proud to lose the best actor award to my son. It was a moment of great emotion and pride for me to be nominated along with my son.

He rushed to hug you on stage.

(Affectionately) He's crazy. He does these impulsive things. He startled me. Thankfully, he got his voice back. Just before the show he lost it because of rehearsals from evening till early morning.

Home viewers didn't get to see Abhishek's performance.

It was very strange. We got home after the awards function and were watching the telecast. Just when Abhishek's name was announced for best supporting actor, the screen blanked out. Miraculously, the telecast came on again the second he walked off the stage. Again, just when his act was announced, the screen blanked out and miraculously came back again after his act. I thought it was a localised problem on my cable. Later I came to know it had happened all over the country. My daughter called from Delhi to complain.

Obviously, this is much more than a local snag. I don't know what it was. But the TV going off just when Abhishek comes on...doesn't sound very right, does it? It's discomforting that technology can let you down. If someone has done it deliberately, then it's taking rivalry too far. It is extremely petty.

Otherwise the evening seemed very special.

Extremely special. "Black" made it special. I was so excited I forgot to thank vital people like Ravi Chandran. His camerawork in "Black" was ethereal. I've rarely seen photography like this. He's an absolute master of his craft, just like Bhansali.

Ironically, I had filmmakers telling me "Black" was overrated and hammy and that you were over the top.

Really? Everyone has the right to an opinion and to criticism. But I also have a right to say what I want. If some people felt I was over the top in "Black", they are judging me against a certain standard. I want to know what that yardstick is. What's important is that the film's maker was satisfied with the vision he put on screen. It's his concept and dream. No one has the right to challenge that.

The level of hostility against "Black" was exceptional.

It's simple psychology. The higher you go, the more you're likely to be seen and targeted. I'd love to work with Bhansali again. I'd love to have him remake Guru Dutt's "Kagaz Ke Phool" with me.

Did you finally meet Hollywood actor Will Smith?

Yes. I was very surprised to know that Will Smith had seen "Sarkar" and "Black". Apparently, a lot of people in Los Angeles have seen it. I'm very happy that Abhishek got the best supporting actor award for "Sarkar". It's richly deserved. I also thought he was excellent in "Bluffmaster". Contrary to what some people in the industry believe, "Bluffmaster" wasn't a box-office loser. Sadly, Abhishek's performance in it was neither talked about nor applauded.

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