Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan says that film success is very much about the story not the actors.
Mr. Bachchan joined BBC for a live interview of the London Film Festival speaking about forthcoming films The Last Lear and ‘Shantaram’ whilst listeners called in with their questions.
Mr. Bachchan, when asked why films flop or not, said, "Actors just fulfill a duty I don't think that they have the power to alter the fate of the film purely because of who they are and their presence in the film".
‘Shantaram’ features Johnny Depp and is due out in 2008. When asked why he had never accepted offers for Hollywood before Mr. Bachchan replied, "Because it never came! We don't plan things like this - these things just happen! Mira Nair came across to me and said I want you do this role... I liked the role and thought its Mira Nair, its Johnny Depp, its Hollywood, and its Warner Brothers so I thought ok - we'll go ahead - I don't think it's a deliberate plan".
Mr. Bachchan spoke freely about Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag too, the recent Sholay remake that flopped.
"It's true it hasn't gone down very well. I had a good time playing the villain, I was very keen to do Gabbar's role when it was first narrated to me. I wasn't allowed to do that then and now I was and it wasn't accepted by the people you just go along with what the people want. It was interesting to play the villain and try and do all kinds of nasty things on the screen - having played and being a goodie for my entire career.”
Mr. Bachchan also said that maybe a remake of ‘Sholay’ should never have been considered.
"Now that you look back at it the answer would be no, but when we were working at it we said why not? We got our response from the audience and that's where the chapter ends.''
About his controversial role in Nishabd where he plays a man in his 60s romancing who is attracted to 18 year old girl Mr. Bachchan said, "All criticism is always fair, because they come from an audience that has paid some money, gone and seen a film and not liked what they've seen, so yes, it's their right to tell us what they didn't like and what they liked. It's for us to take up what we want to do from there.”
“I think what went wrong with ‘Nishabd’ was that people looked at it as a social and moral issue rather than a challenge for an actor or challenge for a director to make a film on a subject which could be as sensitive as ‘Nishabd’ and that's what went wrong with the film. They seem to idolize their leading men and heroes and they want them doing all the right things in life. But you know we are also actors and want to be challenged with different situations. I took ‘Nishabd’ on as a challenge. I do believe Ram Gopal Varma made an excellent film.”