It's an exciting phase for me, says Amitabh

Jun 11, 2006 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, June 11 (IANS) Looks like this is one of the most challenging years for Amitabh Bachchan. Even as "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" featuring him nears completion, he's already on to two other projects that feature him in never-before roles.

One is Ram Gopal Varma's "Nishabd" and the other is Balakrishnan's "Cheeni Kam".

"'Cheeni Kam' is an audacious film. I think Indian cinema is going through a hugely exciting phase. All kinds of films are competing with one another, and I'm part of that movement. It's an exciting phase for me. I'm truly grateful to god," Amitabh told IANS.

Everyone is talking about Varma's "Nishabd" where Amitabh is featured in a "Lolita"-like love story with an 18-year-old girl.

And he is more than game for the challenge.

"You can't always be the perfect human being on screen. There are no perfect human beings. To show human failings on screen is a sign of acceptance and a measure of creative freedom. Cinema is about human relationships. To deny the existence of such feelings in human beings would be wrong.

"Ramu (Varma) is extremely honest in his work. Even before he made 'Sarkar' he admitted that 'The Godfather' was his inspiration for it. But look at the manner in which he treated 'Sarkar'... it was a completely different experience from 'The Godfather'.

"Ramu and I have been toying with several projects, including 'Sholay', 'Sarkar 2' and 'Ek'. The 'Sarkar' sequel and 'Ek' have to be coordinated with Abhishek's dates (yes, he's in both). Abhishek committed to do Mani Ratnam's film and others. 'Sholay' requires a lot of physical activity, which I'm at the moment, not up to.

"Ramu and I decided to do this romantic film at a stretch in 25 days," says Amitabh admitting that "Nishabd" is a departure for him and for Varma as well.

"It's an intense love story that looks into closed doors to see the passions that simmer within every human being under the surface. But let me also add that we won't be going into the physical aspect of the relationship at all."

The actor-extraordinaire admits he's charged about "Nishabd".

"Going by the quality of performance that Ramu got out of me and Abhishek and 'Sarkar' I am sure he has some fantastic plans for me in 'Nishabd'. But I must say this isn't his first intense love story.

"Ramu has done 'Naach' which was also a passionate love story. It may not have worked at the box office. But it certainly succeeded in creating a new kind of love idiom from an oft-told story. And it opened up Abhishek as an actor, put him in touch with emotions that he had never touched before. This is one of Ramu's specialities.

"On the surface he may seem like an ordinary dishevelled working class guy with several ideas crowding his head. But he's a very systematic and sensitive filmmaker."

"I need that professionalism and passion among my directors. Sanjay (Leela) Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Ram Gopal Varma are extremely passionate about their work, almost to the level of obsession."

Amitabh admits he had no hesitation is accepting a part that required him to be romantically involved with an 18-year-old girl.

"I need to work and I need the challenges. Look at 'Black' - it was a complete departure from anything I had done before. Who would have ever thought it would be such an all-round landmark? How would I know if there're more 'Blacks' in store unless I step into the unknown?"

Going back to "Cheeni Kam", Amitabh said: "That's again a completely different story. That's a sarcastic humorous take on love...I don't know how else to describe it. It's got a lot of tongue-in-cheek humour. It's not about deliberately falling in love...

"Again, it's never been done before. Very different! I can't play the traditional leading man. Even in Ravi Chopra's 'Babul' where I am playing a patriarch I've a cause to fight for. It tackles an extremely important aspect of society.

"And Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna' takes a look at things that happen behind closed doors. I think it is extremely brave of today's filmmakers to want to talk about supposedly taboo topics, to project such issues artistically. It's happening all over the world.

"Look at 'Brokeback Mountain'- who would have thought such a love story to be possible some years ago? It's a world of lot more openness where creative freedom to depict forbidden subjects does exist. These films are opening doors that were so far closed and allowing the audience to judge whether the frank attitude to cinema is really justified."

Speaking of taboo, Amitabh is all praise for his "Cheeni Kam" co-star. "Tabu is gorgeous. What an artist. Ours is a fun film. Doing a serious film together would have been too obvious."

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