Even before he stepped into the film industry, Abhishek Bachchan was subjected to comparisons with his iconic father Amitabh Bachchan. His performances have received more criticism than critical acclaim, but the optimistic actor says he takes criticism seriously and a certain amount of nervous energy keeps him on the toes so that he can grow in a "cut-throat" industry.
"I take criticism seriously because that's the way one can improve. As an actor, I need to know from another person how my performance is coming across. Having said that, I can identify constructive criticism and differentiate it from bullying," Abhishek told IANS in an interview.
The "GURU" actor, 42, will soon be seen in Anurag Kashyap's directorial venture "MANMARZIYAAN".
As the film is being touted as his comeback, is he feeling the pressure?
"Yes, there is a pressure and that should be there for an artiste to grow, I guess.
"One should always doubt himself or herself when doing something new because unless the challenge comes to push the boundary, one cannot grow. The moment you know that it's easy and I can do it in my sleep, you are not growing," Abhishek said.
The son of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek believes success has everything to do with talent.
"It takes immense talent for a group of people to make a successful film that a majority of the audience celebrates. If the film doesn't work for them, something went wrong in the film. As an actor, I work for the audience," he said.
Having started his acting journey in 2000 with the film "REFUGEE", Abhishek went on to do films like "YUVA", "KABHI ALVIDA NA KEHNAA", "BUNTY AUR BABLI", "DOSTANA" and "GURU", but he also went through a rough patch in his career.
"The performance of an actor is subject to audience (approval). If a majority of them disapprove, we have to accept that. At the end of the day, if the audience, which is investing money to watch my film, does not like the film, even though critics like me, I have to go by the audience's response," the actor expressed his opinion on box office failure of his earlier films.
Has the parameter of judging a script changed for him?
"Choosing the script is an emotional decision where the parameter is whether the story touches my heart enough to invest my time, physical and emotional energy to make it into a film. And then the other factor involved is: If the audience will like the story as much as I did, will it the find it entertaining enough to go to the theatre and watch?
"So, it is a process that my mind goes through every time I choose a script."
The story of "MANMARZIYAAN" revolves around a love triangle between two men and a woman.
Asked how the film's story is different from the rest of the love stories one has seen in Bollywood over the years, Abhishek said: "While most of the time we make our love stories based on judgment, our writer Kanika Dhillon wrote a script which goes beyond that.
"There is nothing called husband material in a man, or a person is not good or bad... But one shouldn't judge someone based on that."
In this film, releasing on September 14, Abhishek has worked with two new age actors, Taapsee Pannu and Vicky Kaushal.
According to him, these actors are much better prepared than he was when he had started out in the industry 18 years ago.
"The audience is not as patient as they used to be when I started. So these days, if you miss one chance, you are gone. Perhaps that is why the new actors are so well-prepared because the film industry is becoming cut-throat day by day," said the "DHOOM" actor.
The actor also ventured into sports by co-owning the kabaddi team Jaipur Pink Panthers and football team Chennaiyin FC. He says sports gave him the strength to struggle harder.
"In the last two years, I was quite occupied working on my sports ventures, so that gave me a purpose of living. Also, sports teaches you to fight and that is very inspirational."
By Arundhuti Banerjee