Amitabh Bachchan: ‘The Audience Does Not Want To See An Old Man’
What makes you happier – awards or box-office rewards?
The box-office… because it is a yardstick of how many people liked the work we did. If a film’s box-office performance is good, an actor’s longevity increases. Awards, like I said, are humble gifts that I accept from time to time. But box-office success is certainly more satisfying.
Abhishek has done very good work in films like ‘Yuva’, ‘Guru’ and ‘Bunty Aur Babli’. Still, his career has not gone the way one would have expected it to go. What’s the reason behind this and are you all doing something to get it right?
If we knew what the reasons behind this situation were, we would have changed the way things are. This question then would not have been asked by you. Ultimately, this is life and each one has to struggle to find one’s own path. There must be some reason why many of Abhishek’s films have not done well. But he has his entire life ahead of him. He is ready to work hard. Plus, hopefully, God’s blessings are with us.
Is it because of the constant comparison with you that Abhishek’s career is looked at as not being too successful? After all, he is being compared to a legend.
First of all, I don’t think I am a legend. Neither is it a fair comparison to make (between me and Abhishek). I don’t think that there is any need to compare Abhishek with anybody, least of all with me. I think that we are all actors within our own spheres and parameters and we are recognised and loved by the people for what we do. In the end, it is the audience’s measure of the performance, the value of the story and the entire value of the film that matters. And that is what propels us forward.
During your heyday, your signing a film was like an ISI mark and it gave the assurance that the film would be a hit. But that is not the case any longer. Is it because you are no longer a hero who can be responsible for a hit or a flop? Why this change?
Firstly, I am getting roles today in keeping with my age. Secondly, the audience wants to see new, young and beautiful faces and not an old man. Therefore, I do character roles. Thirdly, that I am not so hot today is a fact of life and a given in the film industry. I consider myself fortunate that all the filmmakers I have worked with – Manmohan Desai, Salim-Javed, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Prakash Mehra, Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra – made films that worked well at the box-office. I have never worked in a film only for the reason that I knew this one would work at the box-office.