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Abhishek Bachchan: I was Arshad Warsi's driver

March 8, 2010 06:41:55 PM IST
Steven Baker, Bollywood Trade News Network
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In a 36 hour visit to the UK, Abhishek Bachchan gave London audiences an insight into his life and work at the 12th London Asian Film Festival. The actor opened the ten day series of events with a BAFTA interview and gala dinner on Friday, wrapping his jam-packed visit with an Actor's Masterclass at a West End cinema on Saturday, before flying home.

Dressed in a black Nehru jacket for the BAFTA interview, Abhishek opened up on his film career, allowing audiences to hear first hand of his experiences in the industry. Also in attendance were Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, and Aishwarya Rai who took to the stage at the close of the ninety minute session.

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On being invited by BAFTA for the exclusive interview, Abhishek comments, "My first reaction was that they had got the wrong Bachchan. It's wonderful that such a prestigious institution has chosen a younger generation actor, and I'm proud to be here today to represent the current generation."

The critically and commercially successful star who made his debut with REFUGEE in 2000, spoke about his initial entry into Bollywood, "It took me two years to get a film. I was a production boy making tea and cleaning studio floors. I was also Arshad Warsi's driver." Abhishek relayed how he did not want to leave his home during the period when his early films flopped, "I used to stick my bad reviews on the mirror and work on the things critics did not like".

After gaining recognition with DHOOM, the actor's career graph has gone from strength to strength, illustrated at the event with clips from his acclaimed performances in BUNTY AUR BABLI, GURU, DOSTANA and PAA.

The Actor's Masterclass on Saturday provided a unique opportunity for cinema fans and actors to learn from one of Bollywood's leading superstars. Despite Junior Bachchan tweeting, "Hope people stay awake throughout it. More importantly, I hope I do!! Jet laaaaaaaggg", Abhishek demonstrated to an engaged audience the voice and movement techniques he uses to develop character. The actor spoke about his love of song picturisation, equating the atmosphere to that of a rave, but warns of the adjustments required due to height, "I'm 6' 3" in real life and twenty feet on screen. I have long legs, so too many leg movements and I look like an octopus".

(Steven Baker is a Hindi film journalist and post graduate in Indian cinema)


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