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Amitabh Bachchan: I wanted to play Gabbar Singh in SHOLAY

December 3, 2009 7:51:22 PM IST
Bollywood Trade News Network
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One of India's most famous actors, Amitabh Bachchan, speaks exclusively to the BBC Asian Network next week as part of a special series of programmes to mark the actor's 40-year Bollywood career.

On Monday, comedian and actor Sanjeev Bhaskar investigates the British-Asian community's love affair with India's top film star in an Asian Network Reports special. Bhaskar traces his own love affair with Bachchan (also known as Big B) - from his early memories of watching his hero on the big screen to meeting his idol for the first time. He also hears from Oscar-winning actor and friend Sir Ben Kingsley.

Bachchan reveals how his phenomenal journey began when he gave up a career in engineering to become an actor. From sleeping rough to getting his first break, he talks about arriving in Mumbai in 1969 and how he got noticed by directors.

After starring in what is thought to be one of Bollywood's most successful films of all time, SHOLAY, Amitabh explains how he thought he almost missed out on a bigger opportunity: "What disturbed me at that time was the fact that I couldn't play Gabbar Singh, because I felt that was the most important and really interesting character...but we never knew what we were doing was going to turn out to be so successful".

Bachchan goes on to talk about his most memorable moments from his 40-years in Bollywood - including his infamous near death accident on the set of COOLIE (1983); how he set up his ABCL business; and how he nearly went bankrupt. He says: "All the creditors were from my own industry, and I was going to remain here as an actor...I would not be able to face them if I knew that I owed them money. So...I worked hard and I paid back every single penny."

From 1984 he took a four year sabbatical away from the industry but looking back at his decision, Bachchan questions whether he was right: "I was without a job, without money, with a huge amount of creditors. I went to Yash Chopra and said I need work. He gave me MOHABBATEIN [2000]), and slowly those character roles started coming my way."

The entire Bachchan family is recognized as an acting dynasty. Bachchan's wife is actress Jaya Bachchan; his son, Abhishek Bachchan and his daughter- in-law Aishwariya Rai Bachchan. Aishwariya went from winning the Miss World title to becoming the highest paid and most popular actress in Indian cinema. Talking about the 'Bachchan brand' he says: "I'm not able to understand the word brand, we're all actors... and we are also family. We leave the home in the same car, we go to the studio and we share the same make up van and so on. But when the camera starts, we are all individuals and we play our role."

This intimate interview is packed with famous songs from Bachchan's movies including: ZAANJER, DEEWAR, KABHIE KHABI, COOLIE; SARKAR; BUNTY AUR BABLI; and KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM.

Husain Husaini, Head of Programmes, BBC Asian Network, says: "Amitabh's forty years in Bollywood have made him loved by Asian Network listeners of all ages. So to be able to celebrate his work with our special programmes and by getting his own perspective on his unprecedented career is a special highlight for us. The week of programmes are a must-listen for film fans and will give them a real insight into a Global superstar."

The interview with Bachchan will be on the Asian Network's podcast from 12th December and photos from the interview can be seen at:


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