After the blockbuster Singham, you are teaming up again with director Rohit Shetty in the comedy Bol Bachchan. What are audiences in store for?
Bol Bachchan is an entertaining movie. It is a Rohit Shetty film. The audience will get all the things they like to watch the most in Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty movies. Apart from the entertaining portion, the film also has outrageous jokes, drama and mind-blowing action.
Tell us more about your character Prithviraj in Bol Bachchan.
This is the first time that I have played a Pehelwan (wrestler). The role has been beautifully written, and since I had never played a Pehelwan before the entire team thought it would only enhance the film. It is good for an actor to keep playing different types of roles. Also, today’s audience doesn’t want to see an actor play the same role time and again. How long can you entertain the audience with the same type of character? The basic idea is to entertain the audience. Now you have to decide how much entertainment you can deliver through your film. We, as a team, try to give 100 percent entertainment. With Bol Bachchan, we will be providing 100-plus percent entertainment. I can assure you my character will entertain the audience from the beginning to the end. Yes, kids love characters like these, but who says older people don’t? This film is for people of all ages and we plan to deliver the fireworks on the big screen this summer.
Tell us about the title track and performing with Amitabh Bachchan – was this always part of the film?
People associated with the project always knew this song was part of the film. From the inception itself, we had decided to have this song on Amit-ji. It is just that we shot it after we completed the entire film. Obviously, the presence of Amit-ji, even in the song, enhances the prospects of the film. The title of the film is Bol Bachchan and it also has Abhishek Bachchan. So how can this film be complete if we don’t have Amit-ji?
Singham released in July 2011 and now you have Bol Bachchan in July 2012. Was the timing deliberate?
People say if you deliver a big hit in a particular week, one should follow that trend. It is something we have been following for years. It is not a superstitious thing but where’s the harm? We released Singham within a stipulated time frame. But Bol Bachchan is a bigger film made on a bigger canvas. It is not a film we could complete and release within a specific period. Luckily, we managed to finish the film recently and thus decided to release it in July. Singham is still fresh in audiences’ minds. And let me tell you, it is not just film experts who remember which film released when, it is audiences too. At the end of the day, the audience decides the fate of a film. If they were with you for your last film, they will be with you for your next film. If you give them what they want, they will stand by you. Bol Bachchan is one such film, made purely for the audience and their summer entertainment.
Looking back, Rohit Shetty started his career with Zameen, which had Abhishek Bachchan and you in the lead. How was it like reuniting?
Sometimes, things just fall into place and a project happens. This was not the first time Rohit thought of bringing us together. Before this, either the character didn’t suit Abhishek or there was another reason why we didn’t work together. But this time, with this title, we knew it had to be Abhishek. And everything worked just right. Since Abhishek and I have known each other for years, the chemistry on screen is outstanding. So many people have told me that we look good together on-screen. Real-life bonding helps on screen.
Do you think comedy and action in a film will make it a success at the box office?
Making a good film is a safe bet at the ticket counter. Action and comedy always entertain but just gags and punches on a villain’s face don’t make a film entertaining. You need to have a base, a good story. Yes, comedy and action enhance the fate of a film.
We can see from the photos and trailers that there are two of you in Bol Bachchan. How fun was that?
If my memory serves right, this is actually my first ever double role. I have done films in which I have had one character donning various avatars, like I did in ”Bunty Aur Babli”, in which I played a con man. But “BB” is the first bona fide double role that I have done. It was an intense challenge.
Abhishek Bachchan or Abbas Ali – which character was more challenging?
Both Abhishek and Abbas Ali have unique characteristics. They couldn’t overlap in any which way. Keeping the divide was difficult as they are poles apart. They are not identical twins with similar traits and I have literally played two separate characters. If you must know, between Abhishek and Abbas, the most demanding was Rohit Shetty.
Director Rohit Shetty has enjoyed huge success. You have worked with him in his debut film Zameen. What is the difference that you see in him since he directed you for the first time?
I think Rohit has become more confident now. He is as hard working and humble as he was when we were making Zameen. He is one of the most successful directors that we have in our industry and his track record speaks for itself. He is like a machine who works for like 20 hours a day!
This is your second song with your dad after ‘Kajra re’. Are you nervous at all around him?
It is weird, but dad is the one co-star with whom I have done the maximum work. We’ve done “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Sarkar”, “Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna”, “Sarkar Raj”, “Paa”, “Bbuddha Hoga Tera Baap”, “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” and now this song in ”BB”. Coming to the bit about my not being nervous around him - actually I was not nervous around him even when we did our first film together. It is every actor’s dream to work with Amitabh Bachchan. And dad’s greatest quality is that he puts you at ease. Being an actor and having the kind of experience he has on his side, he understands that for an actor to perform at his/her optimum, he has to be completely at ease. If there is any tension, an actor just folds up and closes in. He is aware that people get gobsmacked in front of him, so he goes out of his way to make them feel comfortable. He does it for the sake of the film. Also when he is shooting a song, he likes to have a lot of fun.
How would you define your style of comedy?
My style of comedy is more deadpan and straight-faced whereas the comedy that I did in the film was very demanding as a lot of energy was required. We all had to keep our energy levels high all the time. It took me a week to adapt to Bol Bachchan. The first one week of shooting was really tough for me. I came with a particular mind-set for the film and Rohit wanted something exactly opposite to it. I thought this will be the easiest film to do and it turned out to be the most difficult film of my career. I have told Ajay if the film does well he has to send me on a holiday. (laughs)
Ajay Devgn said that they literally had to groom you into their style of comedy. What was that experience like?
Ajay and Rohit taught me that there is a pitch behind every film and you have to match it. I cannot repeat my characters as it will not suit the script. My style of comedy was very different from what Bol Bachchan required me to do. The two literally made me unlearn what I already knew and adopt a different style of comedy which was very difficult for me. But I think audiences will be pleased plus we have a few surprises in store for them!