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Bachchan and Bachchan equal big bucks

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Download Amitabh Bachchan WallpapaersOf late there's been a huge clamour to get the two Bachchans on screen together.

Shaad Ali, who has cast Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek together in "Bunty Aur Babli", has gone on record to state that it was a momentous occasion when he canned the first scenes with the father and son for his film.

The Bachchan pair had earlier shot together for an automobile ad. Thereafter, a number of ambitious directors, including Rakesh Mehra, Mahesh Manjrekar and Raj Kumar Santoshi, quickly began to plan projects with the two in the lead.

Manjrekar had finalised his version of "The Godfather" titled "Kutumb" with the two Bachchans. But then producer Feroz Nadiadwala pulled out, leaving the field clear for Santoshi who launched "Ranveer" with them on Amitabh's 62nd birthday.

After the initial launch, the project seemed to excite no one. It was Ram Gopal Varma who finally belled the cat. In "Sarkar", his most ambitious and expensive project ever, Varma has cast Amitabh and Abhishek together as father and son.

Contrary to popular belief, Varma insists that "Sarkar" isn't "The Godfather". "It's about a powerful law-into-himself kind of non-constitutional leader and his family who virtually run Mumbai."

Though the film gives Abhishek ample space to blossom, it's Amitabh Bachchan who runs Varma's show.

Download Abhishek Bachchan WallpapaersIt was Varma, and not Shaad Ali as claimed recently, who first shot a feature-film stint with the two Bachchans. Says Varma: "I always was a fan of Mr Bachchan -- which filmmaker isn't? I wanted to wait for the right project before working with him. Now having worked with both the Bachchans, I'd like to stick my neck out and say Abhishek is every bit as brilliant as his father."

A startling statement for sure, and one that would have far-reaching repercussions in Abhishek's career.

Varma resumes the shooting of "Sarkar" in January 2005. So even though technically he's the first to shoot the two Bachchans together in a feature film, Shaad Ali's "Bunty Aur Babli" -- where Amitabh and Abhishek play a cop and a fugitive -- will make it to the theatres first.

What does Mr Bachchan think about the curiosity to see the two Bachchans together and filmmakers trying to get into theatres first with their AB & Son product?

Says Amitabh: "I really don't think any filmmaker is clamouring to put us on screen first. Ram Gopal Varma, Shaad Ali or Raj Santoshi (who's busy devising a project for the two of us) are all individual directors, not proposal makers. They want us together because they've roles that'd do justice to such an uncommon casting.

"And let's be frank. There's an equity value attached to Abhishek and my coming together. I hope the films we're doing together will justify our presence."

And may the best director win!


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