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Interview with Abbishek Bachchan

Aired March 11, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT:. (voice-over):. He has one of the most famous surnames in sass and a wife who's regarded by many as the most beautiful woman in the world. But Abhishek Bachchan has become a star in his own right. The son of onscreen legend Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek was born in the Bollywood limelight. His 2007 courtship with film siren and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, resulted in the wedding of the decade and earned the couple a nickname as the Brad and Angelina of the East.

(INAUDIBLE) with films like "Dhoom" and "Yuva" have proven that he wasn't just a last name. And this year, Abhishek was one of the central figures at London's Asian Film Festival, entitled, "Tongues of Fire."

From celibate icon to (INAUDIBLE) heartthrob, Abhishek Bachchan is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON:. And I caught up with him in London and began by asking him why he became involved in the "Tongues of Fire" festival.

And this is what he told me.


ABHISHEK BACHCHAN, ACTOR:. I think it's interesting that you have a festival over here which is showcasing Asian cinema and is very keen to show the new generation and what the current generation -- the kind of work that they're doing and how different that is from what traditionally is associated with our cinema.

ANDERSON:. And Bollywood is -- is going through a real renaissance at the moment. I know you're terribly patriotic and proud of India.

Why do you think Bollywood is doing what it is doing at the moment?

BACHCHAN:. Well, I think what's wonderful is it's opening up to a world stage today because of the kind of exhibition that is available to us today. Traditionally, Indian films were viewed by -- in India and the Indiana subcontinent and then viewed by a very select expatriate audience. And I think thanks to a huge influx of -- of foreign media into India, that's a huge a lot of -- amount of interest for the -- for our culture. And with our culture comes our cinema. It's something the world is waking up to, Indian cinema.

ANDERSON:. Sonal Shah says India's youth look up to you as an icon and both she and Erin (ph), another of our viewers, asks you that: (ph) "By being so famous, do you see yourself as having a responsibility to help others?

BACHCHAN:. most definitely. I think India is very passionate about films. It's almost a second religion back home. Due to that, I think film stars are -- are really held in great esteem. Not that we're complaining, but I think with that comes a lot of responsibility.

ANDERSON:. Aruna asks: (ph) "Your parents starred in a film together called "Abhimaan."" I hope I've pounced that right --


ANDERSON:. -- which means "Pride." For our viewers, it's a film where the husband becomes jealous about his wife's success.

Aruna asks if you and your wife would ever make a film like that together?

BACHCHAN:. Well, actually, a very, very dear friend of ours, called Rajeef Bendin (ph), who is a cinematographer as well as a director, has approached us to remake the film, actually, "Abhimaan." And it's being scripted right now. Nothing is finalized. He also is very keen to -- to bring that entire dynamic of that film, which was very, very successful, which starred my parents, and do it in today's context and in today's age.

ANDERSON:. Selena Canday from India asks: (ph) "What is it like waking up every morning and greeting the world's most renowned actor?"

She's talking about your father, of course, Amitabh Bachchan, who is one of our former Connectors of the Day.

BACHCHAN:. Yes. Yes.

ANDERSON:. How does that go?

BACHCHAN:. It gets confusing in my house.

ANDERSON:. Well, I guess these days, both of (INAUDIBLE) --


ANDERSON:. -- to wake up to you.

BACHCHAN:. Yes. We wake up in the morning. We all sit together, read the papers, drink some tea, coffee. I mean dad doesn't drink either, but --


BACHCHAN:. -- we all just, you know, it's just -- it's -- it's a very normal middle class family. And that's something we hold very dear to us. So it's nothing different. I mean it's -- it is -- he's one of the coolest guys I know and he's my best friend.


BACHCHAN:. So it -- it's great fun.

ANDERSON:. Andrew asks: (ph) "If you were not a Bollywood actor, what would you be doing and why?

BACHCHAN:. I'd be a struggling actor trying to get a job.

ANDERSON:. Your parents never said, as often parents do when they're in -- in an industry, please don't do this, please become a lawyer or an accountant or something like else?

BACHCHAN:. No. No. No.

ANDERSON:. Never ever?

BACHCHAN:. No, no. My parents were very broad-minded, actually. They -- they -- their only emphasis was to educate yourselves.


BACHCHAN:. So there's no substitution for an education and do what your heart wants to do.

ANDERSON:. Is -- is the Oscar scene, of course -- have you seen "Hurt Locker" or "Avatar"?

BACHCHAN:. Yes. I've seen both.

ANDERSON:. I mean those are the two that are right up there.

BACHCHAN:. I've seen both of them.


BACHCHAN:. I've seen both of them and I felt "Avatar" was more of an experience than a film. I really think he's revolutionized the way we're going to watch films. And "Hurt Locker", I thought, was a very stark view of -- you know, what the life of a bomb squad member would be.

ANDERSON:. And finally, and we've talked about Bollywood and -- and its traditions and its reputation and its renaissance and -- and a new generation. When you consider "Avatar", can you see Bollywood adopting the sort of three dimensional quality, the sort of technology that "Avatar" and James Cameron have (INAUDIBLE) --

BACHCHAN:. Not yet.

ANDERSON:. Not yet?

BACHCHAN:. Not yet.


BACHCHAN:. It's very simple, animation hasn't taken off in a very big way in India. We -- I think we still like our heroes to be flesh and blood. I think it will take time. I hope we do get there, because it will be terribly exciting to work on a film like that.

Having said that, I think the basic plot and story of a movie like "Avatar" is very Indian, actually. Most of our Hindi films have a very similar story. And so I really felt that the themes in it and all were very Indian.

ANDERSON:. What's next for you?


Well, I have a film called "Raavan" coming up in June, which stars my wife and me. It's directed by Mani Ratnam, who did -- who's done two films with me in the past, two very special films for me. And that's going to be out in June. So we're looking forward to that.

ANDERSON:. And we look forward to it, too.

Your Connector of the Day, Abhishek Bachchan.

And tomorrow's Connector is undoubtedly one of the most influential civil rights leaders in the US, if not in the world. The Reverend Jesse Jackson began his activism alongside Martin Luther King in '65. Since then, he's also become a big name in black politics, most recently backing Barack Obama in his successful campaign for the Oval Office.

So, well, get your questions in, guys. It's your part of the show, of course. is where.