TWENTY YEARS. We can’t believe that two decades have passed since the release of Refugee, Abhishek Bachchan’s debut film as an actor. There was an innocence about him back then. A vulnerability that set him apart from others of his breed. He was Amitabh Bachchan’s son and comparisons to his father were all but inevitable. But Abhishek wasn’t an Amitabh clone. He was very much his own actor. Slowly and steadily, he made sure everyone noticed that. There is a certain gravitas in him as an actor, something which has only increased with time. You saw that in Yuva, in Guru, in Manmarziyaan, He ventured into OTT space with Breathe: Into the Shadows and while the initial reactions were positive, he sadly tested positive for COVID-19. Panic ensued when both Abhishek and Amitabh Bachchan were admitted to the Nanavati hospital. He asked his fans to stay calm.“Both my father and I tested positive for COVID 19. Both of us having mild symptoms have been admitted to the hospital. We have informed all the required authorities and our family and staff are all being tested. I request all to stay calm and not panic.” We spoke to the actor via video chat a few days before he was tested and this is what he had to say:
TWENTY YEARS IN SHOW BUSINESS IS QUITE AN ACHIEVEMENT. WHAT HAVE THESE YEARS TAUGHT YOU?
To be thankful for the work that you get, to be grateful to the audience for allowing you to be an actor for so long and to work even harder tomorrow to earn that respect and love again.
WHAT HAS CHANGED AND REMAINED UNCHANGED ABOUT YOU?
I think what’s remained unchanged about me is my excitement to do what I do. I love being an actor, I love being part of films, I love making films, I’m passionate about it. So that hasn’t changed. What has changed, I think experience teaches you a lot. Twenty years are enough to learn about how to do things, how to improve, how to better yourself. So I would like to believe that the experience of twenty years has taught me a lot and brought a change in me.
DID YOU SPEAK TO JP DUTTA, WHO DIRECTED YOUR DEBUT FILM, AND TO KAREENA KAPOOR KHAN, YOUR FIRST CO-STAR, ON THE DAY REFUGEE COMPLETED TWENTY YEARS?
Of course, I spoke to JP Saab. I had a long conversation with him. Maine unse kaha ki main aap ko dhanyawad kehna chahunga ki aapne mujhe aur Bebo ko yeh mauka dia, hamein us layak samjha ke hum aap ki picture ke Refugee aur Nazneen ban paayein (I thanked him for giving Kareena and me a chance to become Nazneen and Refugee in his film). I also thanked him for introducing us to what was possibly, if I can speak for Kareena, the best decision we could have made in our lives and that was to become actors.
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