‘I still get butterflies in stomach before new shoot’

It has been quite some time
that Amitabh Bachchan has
had a release. However,
the actor will soon be seen
in R Balki’s Shamitabh.
This is the third time that
the actor has joined hands
with Balki and naturally
the expectations are
once again high. The
Big B speaks to
Gaurav Sharma

This is the third time after Cheeni Kuma and Paa that you are working with R. Balki.
Yes, Balki is a very talented filmmaker and I really love the way he thinks about the stories. This time again he has come up with a very unique idea and I really liked it. I hope the film turns out to be an enjoyable watch once again.
Both Cheeni Kum and Paa were appreciated by  your fans and critics.
I think the credit goes to Balki. As I said, he has his own unique style of telling stories, which make his films really unique. The ideas are simple but the way he narrates it makes the film look completely different. At the same time the subjects he chooses every time are very interesting. This time too he has come up with a simple but very unique and interesting concept and I am really impressed with the way he decided to narrate this story.
It is being said that Shamitabh is a film that celebrates your voice, which is one of the  most famous voices of the country.
(Laughs) I don’t believe in that it’s a celebrated voice. Balki has been saying that but I don’t accept that. (Laughs again) But yes the idea, as I said is unique. The film is about two personalities with two very unique and extraordinary qualities, which is then discovered by a journalist, played by Akshara. The story is about how this journalist decides to bring together the two personalities. The two personalities come together, taste success and then ego comes in between and it is to be seen if they reconcile. I lend my voice to Dhanush.
How was it working with youngsters like Dhanush and Akshara Hassan?
It was a wonderful experience. I must say that they are extremely talented and gifted. It is always a good feeling to learn from youngsters too. The most interesting thing is that that Akshara is the third actress from her family who I have worked with. I have worked both her father Kamal Hassan and Sarika earlier and they are equally gifted actors.
You had to use a lot of prosthetics for Paa. This time too you are seen sporting a bread and new hairdo. How difficult does it become when you have to spend hours for make-up?
It does become difficult. It was quite difficult during Paa because it used to take almost eight hours to put up that make up and use prosthetics and another few hours to remove them. This time it was comparatively easier. The make-up session used to take around 1 ½ hours but that’s fine. The only way to do it was to grow a beard but we didn’t have that much time on hand, so make-up was the only option. However, I don’t mind that. I think as an actor I shouldn’t be complaining because that’s part of the profession. Doing make-up falls in the regimen of every actor and there’s no point complaining.
You also recorded the National Anthem recently.
Oh yes. It was another very interesting project. It was again Balki’s idea. The National Anthem is played in all the theatres in Maharashtra, which is a very important thing and a very noble idea. Shamitabh deals with voice and we have tie-up with PVR cinemas. So Balki wanted me to sing the National Anthem, which will be played before a show starts. I sang it and then we felt that we should make it look nice. The National Anthem was written by Rabindranath Tagore and we felt that we should go to a place which can be associated with Tagore. So we decided to go to his ancestral house, the Jorasanko Thakurbai in Kolkata and shot it there. It was a lovely experience and I was surprised to see how well maintained the place is. From his paintings to his writing everything has been preserved so well. I have always felt that such things  be well preserved because they have to do a lot with our history, our culture and our pride.
You seem to be really excited before the release of Shamitabh.
I am always excited. I feel as an actor that happens before every release. I still feel excited before every film releases and I still get butterflies in my stomach before I start shooting for a film because every role is a new challenge. Acting is a very interesting art form because it gives an actor to live the character he is playing during the period of shooting. (TWF)