By Subhash K Jha
Feb 5, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Abhishek who turns 34 on today doesn’t feel his age at all. “Am I really 34? I feel I’m 23. That’s the age that I came into movies. I feel the same anxiety and excitement facing the camera this birthday for Abhinay Deo’s film as I did for J.P Dutta Saab on my 23rd birthday.”
The year begins with the shooting of Abhinay Deo’s film and ends with Prabhu Deva’s film, a first for Abhishek since it would be his first full-fledged action flick.
“I’ve done action films like ‘Zameen’, ‘Dhoom’ and ‘Run’. But nothing like what Prabhu has planned for me,” says Abhishek excitedly. “Yeah it’s a wonderful year. And I better make sure I don’t let my family myself and my audience down.”
This has got to be Abhishek Bachchan’s busiest year ever. He’s just wrapped up Mani Ratnam’s ‘Raavan’ and is in the process of wrapping up Ashutosh Gowarikar’s ‘Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan Se’. He’s now shooting for Abhinay Deo’s film tentatively titled ‘Crooked’. Abhishek then turns to Tarun Mansukhani’s ‘Dostana 2’, followed by films with Rohan Sippy, Abbas-Mustan, Anees Bazmee, Neeraj Pathak and Prabhu Deva…all to be released, shot or completed before the year is through.
Phew! So has Abhishek turned into a certifiable workaholic? Even on his birthday on Friday Abhishek was shooting. And his birthday was brought in on the sets of ‘Crooked’. “What to do? If I can’t be with my immediately family for my birthday I can at least be with my extended family on the sets. I’m shooting round-the-clock. It’s not a time when I can afford to be lackadaisical. Not when I’ve done television for the first time and discovered a terrific connectivity with the audience. The response to my tv show ‘Bingo’ has been overwhelming”
His television debut has boosted Abhishek’s confidence. “I want to dedicate my 34th year to consolidating my career as an actor and building my rapport with the audience. I know I’ve the most exciting range of directors and assignments this year.” The last year Abhishek had a thinner work-load. He was shooting ‘Raavan’ through most of the year. “And for a Mani Ratnam film giving up the experience of doing a variety of other roles is definitely worth the while. 2010 is relatively crowded with no space. And I’m enjoying every bit of it,” says Abhishek emotionally.
Today Abhishek feels he is more equipped to face the camera than before. “I remember shooting with JP Saab for my debut ‘Refugee’ when I was 23. I was so raw and inexperienced. Today I’m in a position to contribute actively to the process of making the films that I am in. And I do. If I am not comfortable enough with a director to participate in the process of creating a film I’m working in, then I won’t work with him.”
After doing a serious bone-cruncher with Salman Khan, Prabhu Deva is all set to direct Abhishek Bachchan in an out-and-out action film. The film will have the kind of stunts Abhishek or for that matter any other Bollywood actor, has never done. The preparations are on. But Abhishek isn’t talking about them.
He’d rather talk about his 34th birthday on Friday.
“Every year I try to make sure I’m working on my birthday. I don’t know why. But to me shooting on my birthday is very comforting. Of course I love spending the day with my family. And as soon I pack up on Friday evening I’m rushing home to be with my parents and wife. But it wouldn’t be a happy birthday for me if I’m not working. Every year since I started my career in 1998 I’ve made sure that I’m shooting. I remember I was shooting with J P Dutta Saab on my 23rd birthday. Only last year I missed shooting on my birthday because I was in New York promoting ‘Delhi 6’. I hope to continue working on all my birthdays.”