Planet Bollywood
Interview with Amitabh Bachchan (Aarakshan)
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Planet Bollywood correspondent Supriya Davda spoke to Big B about his upcoming film Aarakshan, starring Saif Ali Khan,Deepika Padukone, Prateik Babbar, Tanvi Azmi and Manoj Bajpai. Mr Bachchan senior has won numerous major awards in his career, including four National Film Awards, three of which are in the Best Actor category, and fourteen Filmfare Awards. He is the most-nominated performer in any major acting category at Filmfare, with 36 nominations overall. Big B is a multi-faceted man and in addition to acting he has worked as a playback singer, film producer and television. Alongside the release of the film he will be seen back on television with the fifth series of Kaun Banegi Crorepati on the 15th August.

1. What was it that attracted you to ‘Aarakshan’?

For me it’s always the script and then when you pair it with a director like Prakash Jha it’s very difficult to say no. Prakash is a great director with a very unique vision and I have been keen to work with him for some time and was waiting on the right opportunity to present itself, which has happened with Aarakshan. The subject matter was very appealing to me and the challenge of understanding it equally. I do think a film like Aarakshan can really help to make a positive change in our society and at the very least, draw attention to a subject matter that needs to be conveyed to the public.

2. Can you tell us about the character you play?

My character (Prabhakar Anand) is the principal of an institution where the higher class can avail education. He is an idealistic man and would rather impart education for free to those children who cannot otherwise afford it. Somewhere in his life he tries to bring a balance between the two and believes that every capable person should have the chance to progress in his or her life through education.

3. How important is it to you to make a film with an important message like this?

I think it is extremely important! These issues have to be raised and we were lucky to convey this message through the highly powerful medium of film and through this the film has potential of having a global impact through its far–reaching distribution. Yes, film does have to entertain and engage audiences, but I think we also have to take into account the powerful impact that the film industry can have on a global scale and use this to our advantage to facilitate positive change.

4. Do you still find you get challenged as an actor?

Yes all the time and I hope it stays that way. Taking Aarakshan’s script as an example, it really made me address a subject matter that is so inherent in our society but I had previously been oblivious to. It’s very important to experiment as an artist, push the boundaries and step out of your comfort zones. If you are passionate and enthused by a role, then your audience will feel this too.

5. Why should the audience watch ‘Aarakshan’?

This is such a poignant film with a strong message that needs to be delivered to the public. Discrimination is a universal phenomenon which the common-person encounters in his or her everyday lives all over the world, so it is a film that can appeal to a mass audience on a global scale. This films transcends background and divisions based on gender, class, ethnicity and so forth. A must see film!

Aarakshan releases on the 12th August.

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