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Don't blame me for the flops: Amitabh
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Amitabh Bachchan is upset over criticism coming his way after some of his recent films, including "Hum Kaun Hain", faring poorly at the box office.
Amitabh, whose 63rd birthday (Oct 11) is round the corner, protests: "Please don't blame me for the failure of recent films.
"I was only one of the actors in some of these films. One trade writer has written that 'Hum Kaun Hain' didn't even get an opening and that there were only four people in the theatre on the opening day. I didn't personally count the number of people who saw the film. It isn't my lookout.
"'Hum Kaun Hai' isn't my film. I was asked to do a three-day guest appearance by producer Tito with whom I've been associated for very long. I didn't even hear the script. I just did it for old times' sake. And then when I arrived on location they said it was in Bengali as well as Hindi. So we had to do two takes for every shot. Things like this upset me.
"But now I'm learning to say no. No more films to oblige people... Is it fair for people to blame this whole film's failure on me? Shah Rukh Khan did a much larger guest appearance in 'Shakti'. No discredit went to him. OK. I had a guest role in 'Hum Kaun Hain'. I've a guest role in Yash Chopra's 'Veer-Zaara'. Please treat that as my film and give me all the credit when it gets a huge opening."
But was the summer-monsoon avalanche of releases proper for his career?
"It's not a question of proper. I told you I had commitments. There were emotional reasons for doing some of these films. Money is certainly not the criteria for doing all the assignments that I do. They were done... Fine. Now I'm going to be careful. Now I've got practically nothing.
"Today I've finished the dubbing for Anil Sharma's 'Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon'. Now there's just Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Black' and Ram Gopal Varma's 'Sarkar'. There were some directors from the old lot who were after me to do their film for 20 years.
"Now I need to choose directors who I think will do more justice to me. Every director can't be a Sanjay Leela Bhansali."
He cheers up at the mention of "Sarkar". "I worked with Ramu and my son Abhishek for the first time. It was a pleasant experience. Abhishek is looking good and very confident before the camera.
"I've to see 'Phir Milenge'... People have stopped me on the streets to tell me they found him brilliant in the film. Rituparno Ghosh called from Kolkata to congratulate me and Jaya for bringing up Abhishek the way he has turned out. I guess we've been lucky.
"Jaya has gone to Kolkata to join Abhishek for a few days. She's after all the director of our company. AB Corp Ltd is producing Ritu's 'Antar Mahal'."
However, the first film to feature the two Bachchans together won't be "Sarkar". "It will be Shaad Ali's 'Bunty Aur Bubbly'. Aditya Chopra who produces it is very excited about it. Abhishek and I don't play father and son in this film.
"As for Raj Santoshi's 'Ranveer', the scripting is on. We meet regularly. This is what happened. Puranchandra Rao had bought the rights of a Telugu film 'Okuru' which he wanted to remake with Abhishek and me. We suggested Raj Santoshi as director. Then Puranchandra Rao went out of the project. We wondered whether we wanted to do 'Okuru' with Raj Santoshi. We felt it wasn't his kind of film. We told Santoshi that the script wasn't up to his standards.
"It's unfortunate that the first film featuring Abhishek and me can't be from our company. But it doesn't matter. I told Abhishek and Jaya that we can't be waiting endlessly for our company to find the ideal script for both of us. Ramu and Adi's scripts seem capable of doing justice to us. Bad luck, if we couldn't do it ourselves. Kya kare? If fate doesn't will it, what can we do?
"Raj Santoshi is working on two to three scripts to feature us. And in any case he's committed to do one film for AB Corp Ltd, with or without both of us in the lead."
Amitabh rubbishes rumours that Santoshi has been asked to return money he had taken from AB Corp Ltd. "These are baseless rumours started by journalists who have no access to us and therefore fabricate malicious stories from their desks."
Right now he has stopped signing new films. "I'm seriously considering only one script which ad-maker Balki wants to make. Sunil Manchanda of MAD Films wants to produce it. Otherwise no more compromises for me."