Speaking about giving it right back to abusers on Twitter and other tongue-in-cheek agendas, actor Abhishek Bachchan revealed his fun-loving side when he dropped by at DNA for a visit. He spoke about serious issues too. Excerpts...
You're a lot into music. You even tweet a lot about what you're listening to. Considering that your dad has come out with his own albums, are you also planning one?
An album? I have one actually. We just haven't released it. Just after Bluffmaster, Vishal-Shekhar, Rohan (Sippy) and I recorded an album. We have eight tracks which are ready and the only copy of it lies in my car. And I listen to it myself — and thank God that we had the better judgment not to release it.
But you know what I have realised about music and doing an album is (although we have done it as a very fly-by-night kind of a thing, every night ifwe had an evening off we'd all go to Vishal-Shekhar's studio and just jam and record something and put the track down and then work on that) I think it's something that requires a lot more time and attention. If I was to do it — which I'd love to do but I'd want to spend some good six months on it. What I've realised about music is that you just need to spend time on it, let it grow on you. It's not gonna happen in one sitting, you need to give it time.
Do you like DNA After Hrs?
I like the Party Meter because I thought that there was an actual meter there initially…It's nice — we are actors — we like to see ourselves in the papers. I have always had a huge amount of sympathy for you all ’coz you all are like the biggest flogging horses, especially for actors.
I remember it was Zsa Zsa Gabor who said this very famous line ‘We actors spend our entire life trying to step into the limelight and once we get there, we wear sun glasses’. But you’re public figures, you're going to go out somewhere and people are going to take your photographs, why get upset?
You've tied up with the narcotics bureau?
Yeah, but that's got nothing to do with my film, Dum Maaro Dum. That's on a personal level. The narcotics control bureau has been speaking to me for a long time to come and work with and I said I'd love to come and help them out. They were celebrating an anniversary and were holding a run on Marine Drive — just an awareness kind of a thing. They asked if I’d come and fly it off. I agreed but then once you go there, there will be people saying ‘Oh! You're doing this because your next film is about drugs’ then you're like ‘No I’m not’. People are going to pass judgements but that shouldn't stop you from doing what you need to do.
What was the difference between the failure of your first film, and the failure of Raavan?
You're really not going to let me live this one down, are you? (Laughs) It was about a thousand times worse!
When I did Refugee, I was 22-years-old. I had been looking for a job for almost 2 years, nobody was willing to work with me. So when I got that opportunity, I jumped on it. A very dear friend, Bebo (Kareena Kapoor) was gonna be my co-star and we were these two new guys, really excited. And when the reviews come out, and the box office collections are even worse, you don't believe it... because we thought that it was meant to be good. Your initial reaction to you're first failure is that you don't really believe it or you don't understand the gravity of the situation becuse you are like ‘Okay, chalo it’s only the first one’.
But when that becomes a habit — of not being able to deliver a successful film, it works on your psyche and confidence is the only armour an actor has. But after a few films don't work, it starts getting depleted. You think they (people) could be right and they probably are. You start believing that you don't know how to do your job because you are told that on a public platform every Friday.I was getting thrown out of films. I was getting replaced.
I used to sign a film and I'd be outdoor. And when I'd be back in 10 days to start the film I’d get to know I was replaced. I used to not even be told at times. There came a point for me when I actually went up to my dad and said that I probably made a mistake — that I'm not meant to be here. Then a movie of yours becomes a hit and you're like wow! This is really cool, I could get used to this, and by your fourth and fifth hit, you even start enjoying it. Then that confidence and belief starts coming back to you.
That's what I remember thinking when Dhoom became a hit! I was just relieved that I can do something right. And then comes this film (Raavan) that doesn't click with the audience, it hurts a lot more.
Unlike during your dad’s times, today a film’s fate is decided in three days. Do you think there's something wrong in there?
No. there's a technicality to that. The amount of theatres have increased since the 1970s. The main theatre then had only three shows a day. Today in a multiplex, in one day, you can have upto 20 shows of the same film. So if you see in terms of tickets bought it's probably the same as it were in that time but we exhibit our films much wider.
You've turned producer now and you're supposed to make one or two more films. What's happening?
(Looks at his wrist watch) I hope my father is still on the sets. (Laughs) He's acting for me right now. I hope he hasn't thrown tantrums that I want to go home. We're producing a film called Buddha which is AB corp's next production which will release in July. Then we start work on two regional films, one Gujarati and one in Marathi. And hopefully, early next year we'll start our next Hindi venture.
A couple of celebrities were upset about some people abusing them on social networking sites. Shah Rukh Khan even went off Twitter because of this. How do you deal with these people?
Very simple! I abuse them back, I enjoy it. It's good. It helps me take my frustration out as well. The internet is a faceless wonder. I know that if these people were standing in front of me, they wouldn’t dare say that to me. You know a lot of them just do it for attention but I have fun with it. But yeah at the end of the day you're making yourself available on a public platform so be prepared for it. Not everybody's going to like you.
Do you write poetry?
No I don't. I tried that once, that whole mysterious writing thing. But when I read what I wrote I was like ‘Don't you dare!’
You’ve said in the past that you suffered from dyslexia as a kid...
No, I did not 'suffer'. I am dyslexic.
Was it very hard?
No. I did not even know about it when I was in school. I remember I was in a special class for English coz my spellings were terrible — I still have a problem reading aloud — but I thought I was just in a different class I didn't know why. I was told about it the day I graduated!
You’ll soon complete four years of marriage. How have you evolved as a couple and as actors together?
I have never managed to answer that. It's one of the few questions I'm asked always 'How have you changed after marriage?' But are you meant to? I think a good healthy marriage is where your wife/husband doesn’t expect you to change. I still feel like I got married yesterday. I have a lot of fun with my wife — she's great fun!
Are you planning to do another show on TV? Anchoring?
Yeah, why not? I really enjoyed doing Bingo. It was great, I got to travel a lot for the show and I got to meet the kind of audience that I otherwise don't interact with. It was wonderful to see how the show touched them. There was talk of a Season 2. But I was so busy doing my films that I had to take that time out first. So yeah, I just got to finish the films I have on hand first.