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    Abhishek hopes his two films don''t affect each other

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Monday, August 30, 2004
    Abhishek Bachchan is excited over his two major films released this weekend - both starkly different in story and treatment. "Dhoom" is a "rollercoaster ride" with powerful motorcycles keeping company with the actors, while "Phir Milenge" is a "thoughtful film" by Revathi.

    "I hope they don''''t affect each other," says a worried Abhishek. "One thing I can tell you. No two films featuring the same actor can be so different."

    Asked which of the two films he would prefer to see first, Abhishek tactfully hedges: "I''''d see both one after another depending on whichever I get tickets for first."

    He is all praise for vivacious Shilpa Shetty who plays the difficult role of a woman afflicted with HIV in "Phir Milenge".

    "She made shooting so much more entertaining. With her around one is always laughing. She''''s a very gifted artiste. I think ''''Phir Milenge'''' brings the best out of her," Abhishek told IANS in an interview.

    Excerpts from the interview:

    Two releases "Phir Milenge" and "Dhoom" on the same Friday!

    This sounds like a question put to my dad some weeks ago when he had a spate of releases. Arrey baba, when a film releases is entirely the director and the producer's call. As an actor my job is to act in and promote a film. I've no power over the release date.

    Having said that I must say both are very different films. "Dhoom" and "Phir Milenge" share nothing in common except me. "Dhoom" is a rollercoaster ride while "Phir Milenge" is a thoughtful film. I hope they don't affect each other. One thing I can tell you. No two films featuring the same actor can be so different.

    "Phir Milenge" addresses itself to a very relevant issue?

    It's possibly the most socially significant film I've done. It looks at AIDS with great sensitivity. Full credit to Revathi for taking up the subject without getting preachy. The HIV/AIDS issue is woven into the story with great feeling. Revathi mollycoddled me so much on the sets. She was almost like my mother. She'd cajole shots out of me even when I was dead tired. I didn't mind at all.

    Your role seems inspired by Denzel Washington in "Philadelphia".

    You'll have to ask Revathi about that. But yes, I play a lawyer, though how much like Mr Washington, only the director can tell. It's a far more serious film and role whereas in "Dhoom" the prime focus is to go out and have fun. Something or the other occurs in every scene.

    "Phir Milenge" discusses a serious subject and one that we all feel strongly about. "Dhoom" just wants the audience to have a good time and then go home feeling light and happy.

    How was it working with Salman and Shilpa in "Phir Milenge"?

    Unfortunately, I didn't get to work with Salman. But this was my first film with Shilpa. She made shooting so much more entertaining. With her around one is always laughing. She's a very gifted artiste.

    I think "Phir Milenge" brings the best out of her. She's the main protagonist of the film. She has managed to shoulder the responsibility so wonderfully. What's really commendable is that she has played the role with so much dignity. It wasn't easy to do that when she was playing an HIV Positive. The illness is associated with a great deal of darkness and pain. Shilpa's performance cuts through all the social barriers and prejudices to emerge as a figure of great dignity. Just because you've an illness it doesn't mean you've to hide in shame. Shilpa gives very head-held-high performance.

    "Dhoom" has a very hot look to it.

    I hope the audience has as much fun watching it as we had making it. When you put Uday, John, Esha, Rimi and me on the same set there's bound to be whole lotta dhoom. It's a pleasure to work with them.

    Uday is a very, very old friend of mine. We've virtually grown up together. We've helped each other whenever required. It was wonderful to finally face the camera with him. There isn't a dull moment when he's around. He loves to improvise, so shooting was always fun.

    John Abraham has been a revelation. When you see his physicality it's very easy to form an opinion on him. Far from being brawny and intimidating he's gentle, softspoken and caring. I've worked with Esha Deol before in "LOC". She's opposite Uday, so we hardly met.

    But Rimi Sen who's my co-star was a giggle expert. Each time she was around she'd make us smile with her giggles. The whole team was very young and enthusiastic. And we jelled perfectly. And I hope that chemistry shows in "Dhoom".

    What sort of an audience do you hope to find for the two films?

    I hope to find all kinds of audience for both. I'm no one to comment on the audiences' preferences.

    Which one would you see first?

    Oh what a tough question at 11 in the night after a hard day's shooting! Gimme a break....I'd see both one after another depending on whichever I get tickets for first.

    And you've another film next week where you've a guest appearance!

    "Rakht" is not a guest appearance. I don't believe in the concept. You're either in a film or not. I did the song in "Rakht" for its producer Suniel Shetty. He's like family to me and I can't say no to him. When he told me there was a song for me I had to do it.

    I had great fun shooting "One love". They bullied me into changing everything from my hairstyle to my walk. I got to shoot the song with Bipasha who's always fun to work with ..... With three films being promoted simultaneously I hope the audience doesn't get bored of me before the film's release.


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