Big B defends the content of Indian cinema
Defying critics at home and abroad, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has strongly defended the content of Indian cinema, favouring its retention because, as he puts it in his inimitable style, ‘the people love to see that.’ ‘I’m actually very happy with our content. Even though we were ridiculed, and the West was very cynical about the way we made our films and the content that it contained,’ he says in an interview to CNN.
”But that very aspect has now become its USP almost, and people love to see that. I would not want to change that. I would expect that this is how and what our cinema is all about.” The interview is scheduled for telecast in the network’s special edition of Talk Asia that premiers on CNN International on July 22 at 1800 hrs and replays on July 23 at 0830 hrs.
In the interview conducted Anjali Rao in Macau, where the industry gathered for IIFA, one of Bollywood’s most prestigious awards ceremonies, Amitabh shares insights into his 40-year-long film career, spread over more than 180 films, the highs and lows of his early days in Bollywood, and becoming the global superstar and screen idol of Indian cinema.
He opens up about his experience of working with son Abhishek Bachchan and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and about the controversy over his reaction to the Oscar-winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. He also talks about what prompted him to decline an honorary degree from an Australian university recently.
If Indian films have gained a new found international interest, the way they are produced has also changed. From the industry’s alleged connection to organised crime to better production quality, Amitabh has worked within the system and at the sharp end of making movies.
”We have our own modes of working and how does one actually decipher that the person that you’re working with has some kind of an underground link? You know, ‘I am mafia’ doesn’t come written on somebody’s forehead,” Amitabh said.
”Whether he, you know, collects his money from wherever it is…
is really not our concern. We are interested in the story, the concept, in our roles, the director who’s going to be making it, in the creative aspect. That’s it,” he said.
He played the role of a working class hero standing up to oppression and injustice in the 1975 film ‘Sholay’.