Overwhelmed with the positive response to his upcoming film, Players, Abhishek Bachchan is all set to start the new year with, not just a bang but a big bang! Here’s Jr B in conversation with Vajir Singh
Let’s start with the obvious question: What kind of response has there been to the first look and teaser of Players?
So far, we have unveiled the look, the promo and the teaser and now the poster is out in the newspapers too. I have never seen such a unanimous reaction to my promos in the past, so I am very happy. I haven’t received a single message saying that we have not liked it or that it isn’t going to work. I am very honest about these things. Not a single bit of negative feedback.
Are you very happy with the positivity around the film?
Very happy! Touchwood. I hope it stays. Anyone who knows Abbas-bhai and Mustan-bhai, will know why there is so much positivity. They are good hearted people and very accommodating, so everyone genuinely wants their films to do well. They think for the industry, which is what I like most about them.
This is the first time they are directing a film for their own production. It’s their first film as directors for Burmawala Brothers. So their quest is not “paise jaldi se banao aur andar karo”. They want this film to work and that everyone, from producer to exhibitor or actor, make money.
Everyone is very positive about the film because they are thinking about the industry. Abbas-Bhai and Mustan Bhai are known for their genre of thrillers and the sleekness of their products. So you expect all of that from them. That, coupled with the goodwill that they have, I think will really help this film so much.
The film is a remake of The Italian Job. How similar or different is it from the original?
Being a remake, the basic premise and screenplay is quite similar but obviously Abbas-Mustan have Indianised it hugely. They have included a few extra characters and more twists. Trust me, they’ve upgraded the film.
And this was the first time you have worked with them?
Yes, I have been trying to work with them for a long time but something always seemed to get in the way. So I am glad I finally got this opportunity.
Which were the other films you were to work on together?
So many of them. We used to meet every year and plan on working together but that never happened. We have finally broken our track record of not having worked together.
Did you ask them why you were chosen to play this character in the film?
(Laughs) No. You should never ask your directors, “Why me?”
Why is that?
What if they tell you something you don’t want to hear? Just be thankful that they have chosen you! You thank them haath jod ke. (Smiles)
What about the rumours that the budget of Players rose to Rs 90 crore?
I think its absolute rubbish! I don’t think it’s even half of that. Who makes a film for Rs 90 crore these days? We certainly haven’t. I know the economics and it’s definitely not that amount.
Since you are also producer, were you involved with the economics of the film?
No, this is not my first production and, obviously, Abbas-Mustan knew they had an actor who was more than willing to share and do more than he could. As an actor, that’s how I am for all my films. The economics of a film is something that makes a film a hit or a flop. And I have proved that as a producer. So they kept me updated on what the budget was and I used to give my opinion, not force it on them. I am too junior for that.
The film has been made within its budget, just as planned. Despite it being a big action film and shot in three continents, it was made within its budget. Rs 90 crore is absurd!
The look of the film reminds one of Dhoom. How different is this film from that?
Dhoom is a cops-and-robbers kind of genre. Players is just about robbers! (Laughs) This is about some guys who are out to steal gold.
So in Dhoom, you played a cop and in Players, a robber?
Yes, you never know about the future. Jay Dixit could be looking for Charlie Mascerenes in Dhoom 17. You never know how the story may shape up later! Or they may make a film titled Dhoom Vs Players! That should be fun.
How different is the action in Players?
Abbas-Mustan have a very different style for action. Their action is very huge. It’s stuff I have never done before. I am very excited about doing a film that has this kind of action. And there are some great action scenes.
Can you share some of the scenes with us?
There is this scene where we are at a great height. You will see it in the promos. They hung me between two moving trains. It was scary but fun. It’s a high.
You did it yourself?
Yes, it was risky. There are some close-up shots and I could not get a body double to do the scenes. So they actually hung me with a crane between two moving trains.
All the actors in this film – Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh – are your friends. Was it like a picnic while shooting?
It was fantastic. We also had Sonam Kapoor, Sikander and Omi, and to top it all Johnny bhai. We had a blast. As these people are personal friends. You grow up with them. So it was absolute mayhem!
What’s happening with AB Corp?
AB Corp is currently scripting. We have two to three scripts, which we will be producing in the next eight to ten months when we start pre-production on them. Nothing immediately. The first two products of AB Corp have done well. So we would like the next one to do well too. We have to try and keep that track record going.
Will you be starring in all of them?
No, just one of them. We are open to new actors coming for all the other films. We made Paa, and Balki said, “I can only make this film with you and Amitji.” With Bbuddah…Hoga Terra Baap, I wanted to make a special film for my father.
Is Balki doing an AB Corp film?
Yes, Balki is currently producing another film and as soon as he finishes it, he will be doing a film for us.
Today, marketing and publicity play a key role in the success of a film. Is there any unusual marketing and promotion strategy for Players?
(Smiles) It was your magazine that started the trend with the gold bar. I think that was a fantastic way to kick off the promotion. We have a few more tricks up our sleeve. So it’s nice that we have two months before the film releases. You will see a very aggressive marketing plan and we will make sure the film stands out.
Since Players is releasing on January 6, the first Friday of next year, are you all set to start the New Year with a bang?
Yes, hopefully with a big bang not just a bang. Like the byline of the film says, this year we are going for gold.