Glad There Are Directors Who Design Roles as per My Age: Amitabh 

The veteran actor talks about Gulabo Sitabo.

3 min read
Amitabh Bachchan in <i>Gulabo Sitabo.</i>

Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo is one of the biggest films of the year to have taken the giant leap and gone in for a digital release. Starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan in lead roles, the film, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, has been much-loved by critics.

Amitabh’s character Mirza has grabbed eyeballs ever since the trailer dropped. The veteran actor spoke to The Quint about working with Ayushmann Khurrana, the film getting an OTT release and more.

This is the first time you are collaborating with Ayushmann. In the film, we see him fighting with you and saying his lines with a lot of confidence, but was he nervous around you? Can you share an anecdote from the sets?

Amitabh Bachchan: Ayushmann is a promising actor of immense caliber. I am honoured to have had an opportunity to work with him and learn. It is important to have an understanding colleague both on and off camera, and Ayushmann has been more than that. I hope he felt the same. The new generation in the film Industry is a remarkable mix of confidence and extraordinary talent, something I never had nor ever will. I am in awe of them. Being in their midst is a huge learning experience for me . I do not know what ‘raising the bar’ means in a professional set-up, but if there was a bar to be raised I do hope I was able to accomplish enough to comply .

You have collaborated with Shoojit Sircar four times in the past and the audience has loved each one of those films. How was it like teaming up with Shoojit again and what is it about your jodi that always clicks with the audience?

Amitabh: What I have developed over the years working with Shoojit is an immense respect for his craft, his understanding of the subjects he chooses to make and the great cinematic guile he possesses in designing his characters. Directors are all-rounders. They are scriptwriters, screenplay setters , production designers, music directors, editors, actors and marketing and publicity gurus . Shoojit is in command of all these qualities . Each time I have confirmation in my mind, that this is what Shoojit is thinking, he comes out and destroys it by giving me much better options.

How was the idea of your character Mirza conceived?

Amitabh: I do not choose my next movie, the movie chooses me. I am very fortunate that there are a few filmmakers who still design roles that they feel would suit my age and countenance. What worked for Gulabo Sitabo, as far as I am concerned, was Shoojit Sircar. When he comes to me with a project I blindly follow. With Shoojit Sircar there is no narration as far as I am concerned. He just comes over, shares a brief idea for a few minutes and we are on !

How did you manage with prosthetics?

Amitabh: Prosthetics takes time and a great deal of care and patience for it to be successfully executed. For Gulabo Sitabo, it was no less - three-four hours each day on the make-up chair. Shoojit came with a reference picture of how he wanted Mirza to look and the team simply followed. So did I. The challenge with prosthetics is that it retains its look for the duration of the timings of a shoot . With our work done during the summer months in UP, it was a difficult task to maintain that protocol. But it was managed , and the look does contribute to the character in the film.

What do you feel about Gulabo Sitabo releasing on an OTT platform?

Amitabh: Creative works are forever under scrutiny and assessment , when exposed to the public, so one has to accept their verdict - one that we value . The audience shall decide the fate of the film. Yes, circumstances have been so prevailing that the OTT platform is being exploited for the release of Gulabo Sitabo and many factors have had to be absorbed in order that this decision could be taken by the producers. As with every new invention we await the results of this experiment too. Shoojit is a prolific maker and Ayushmann a prolific star , expectations are bound to mount . But that is where we need to stop for the moment. The living part is yet to be decided. it lies in abeyance !

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