A director is to an actor what a jockey is to a racehorse, feels Abhishek Bachchan. Knowing when to pull the reins and when to let them loose is a directorial craft, and Tushar Jalota, who has helmed Bachchan’s latest Dasvi, fits the bill perfectly.
“Directors have to find a balance between how much you allow them, and how much they are allowed to do. I think Tushar did that with me,” the actor says. It was Jalota who made Bachchan believe that he could successfully essay the role of Gangaram Chaudhary, a politician who aspires to take and clear Class 10 examinations.
“He is a debutant director yet the way he handled the film with dexterity was fantastic. There was always this trepidation about whether I will be able to do it or not. He restored the confidence in me that I could pull off a role like this. For a director, to take you through that whole journey is very important,” he says.
Comedy was crucial to Bachchan’s portrayal of Gangaram Chaudhary, a quintessential chest-thumping Haryanvi patriarch who struggles to wrap his head around the need for a politician to be educated in Dasvi released on April 7.
Despite Bachchan being known for his comic timing, it was in the curation and execution of humour that Jalota’s inputs became indispensable for the actor.
“Pulling off a comic role on screen is not easy as you tend to go overboard. You are always running that risk especially when you are playing a character like Gangaram Chaudhary who is so larger than life,” says the 46-year-old actor, adding, “He could tend to be over loud but Tushar used to hold the reins back and say this was going overboard or that was too subtle.”
Bachchan is also all praises for his co-actors Nimrat Kaur and Yami Gautam, both of whom he shared the screen with for the first time in Dasvi. He says they were “well prepared” and “collaborative”.
“Both their characters had to walk a very fine balance. They are such fine and genuine actors. It was so refreshing to work with them,” he says.
But how much does life imitate art for Abhishek Bachchan? He may be essaying the role of a politician, but the actor, quite contrary to his parents, steers clear of politics.
When asked about how important it was for a politician to have educational qualifications, he says, “I am not qualified to make that decision. I am not a policymaker nor do I have that much knowledge. I believe that it is not important to be studious. It’s important to be educated and how you use it in your career or life.”
Bachchan had taken a two-year-long sabbatical of sorts after the release of Manmarziyaan in 2018, and it was around the time he resumed his onscreen career that the pandemic struck. But Bachchan managed to keep busy as he dabbled in OTT to do films as well as series.
During the last two years, he appeared in films such as Ludo, The Big Bull, Bob Biswas, and the series Breathe: Into the Shadows.
As he worked across different formats, Bachchan discovered that platforms were irrelevant to him. All he needed was a “good story”.
“They were good stories. I liked them and I went on to play a role in them. My perspective towards choosing scripts has always been the same... the genesis is the same... everything starts with the written word—that is a good story,” he says.
Bachchan shares that he is always on the lookout for a “good story” for a sports film that he would like to star in. “I don’t think my age permits me to play the role of a current sportsman but honestly it all depends on the story. The story has to be good,” he says.
Bachchan has a bunch of projects lined up in the coming year. There’s R Balki’s Ghoomer, the second season of Breathe, and a film titled SSS7, which the actor has also produced.