Sunday, May 23, 2004

This Yuva is on the Run

The summer movie fest has been set rolling with several big releases. Among the season’s sizzlers are two starring Abhishek Bachchan—Yuva and Run. Still in search of that one elusive hit, both films are crucial for Bachchan Jr. He talks to Vickey Lalwani about his roles and expectations.

There’s a lot of hype about Mani Ratnam’s Yuva. What is it about?

Yuva is about three independent people with contrasting personalities and how fate brings them together. I play Lallan Singh, a product of Kolkata’s streets. Violence is a habit with him and he is a much-feared man. In many ways, the character is very wild, very raw. Yet, his wife, played by Rani Mukerji, is his greatest weakness.

Is it a negative role?

(Interrupts) No, not really. Since he is a hoodlum, some of his acts are obviously negative, but at heart, Lallan Singh is not a malicious fellow.

How was it working with Mani Ratnam?

Brilliant, simply brilliant. I have been lucky that I got to work with him so early in my career. He has got a unique understanding of characters; he just delves into the psyche of each character. The best part about him is that he makes the actors perform the way he wants without them feeling that he is instructing them. He gives a lot of respect to the artistes, inspiring them to give the role their best.

One view is that although Ratnam’s Hindi films are well-made, they tend to be a trifle heavy. Do you agree?

No, I don’t believe so. I have enjoyed all films of Mani da. Entertainment is entertainment, whatever be the genre. If a film does not rely much on humour, it does not necessarily mean that it is not entertaining. His films are skillfully made and deal with poignant subjects.

You’ve done plenty of intimate scenes with Rani Mukerji in Yuva?

(Smiles) Rani and I play husband and wife. Our scenes are about what any husband and wife would share.

How was it working with Ajay Devgan and Vivek Oberoi?

Great fun. Ajay is just like my elder brother, we have known each other for a long time. But this was the first time I worked with Vivek. He’s great fun to be with— a fabulous actor and a great guy. The three of us shared great camaraderie and had a great time working together.

Why did you agree to a miniscule appearance for a song in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Rakht?

I did the song purely for Suniel Shetty. Anna (Suniel Shetty) has been a great friend, he is like family, I couldn’t refuse him. I have some dialogues and scenes in the film too.

Is your home production Ranveer facing delays?

No, it isn’t. It is in pre-production. We begin the shooting in June and the script is receiving finishing touches at the moment.

You had 5 releases—-Zameen, Kuch Na Kaho, Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon, Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost, LOC— last year but none worked. How did you feel?

Obviously, I felt very disappointed. I put my heart and soul into each film. Personally, I loved all these filmsBut, you have to accept the audience’s verdict. One has to move on and give the next film one’s best shot.

This means your forthcoming films are very crucial for you?

Every film is vital. Whoever may be the actor, his fate is decided every Friday. Apart from Run, Yuva, Ranveer, I also have high hopes from Ram Gopal Varma’s Naach and Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom.

You have been linked with a number of your co-stars.

Well, what can I say? The glossies seem to know more about me than I do (laughs). Seriously speaking, I am concentrating on my work at the moment. Girls can wait. (grins)

There were reports about you and Preity Zinta being more than good friends?

(Smiles) Preity Zinta is just a good friend.

Your father is working in so many movies. Do you ever tell him that he should take it easy?

I do tell him to slow down sometimes, but eventually I am happy that my father is having such a great time. He is looking great, feeling great, doing what he loves most and is the busiest actor in the country. TWF