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Bollywood superstar defends humble Hollywood debut

Published May 24, 2012 06:52am


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In this photograph taken late April 4, 2012, Indian Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan poses during a film promotional event in Mumbai. Indian acting legend Amitabh Bachchan has warned his millions of fans to keep their eyes peeled for his long-awaited Hollywood debut, otherwise they might might miss it altogether. — AFP Photo

MUMBAI: Indian acting legend Amitabh Bachchan has warned his millions of fans to keep their eyes peeled for his long-awaited Hollywood debut, otherwise they might miss it altogether.

The Bollywood veteran laughed off his brief cameo in the new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel “The Great Gatsby” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.

“I play (underworld criminal) Wolfsheim for about a few seconds... by the time you look down on your popcorn to pick another morsel, I'd be gone from the film,” Bachchan joked on his blog this week.

Bachchan features prominently in the film's trailer, which was released on Tuesday, but he advised his avid followers not to expect too much and brushed aside criticism he was too big for such a fleeting role.

“Before you all start punching me for my minuscule participation in the film, may I just say that it was more out of a friendly gesture, than a desire towards furthering my career,” he said.

Bachchan, 69, has previously said he was not paid for taking the part, which he agreed to after Australian director and Bollywood admirer Baz Luhrmann visited India.

“It was a sheer delight to work with someone of such great genius as Baz Luhrmann and a host of co stars that have astronomical presence in the world of cinema,” Bachchan wrote of the much-hyped 3D film.

Bachchan, known as the “Big B” to his millions of devoted fans, is the elder statesman of Hindi-language cinema, having starred in more than 150 films including in the 1970s hits “Sholay” (Sparks), “Deewaar” (Wall) and “Don”.


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Comments (3) Closed

Ehtesham May 24, 2012 01:21pm
Sholay doesn't mean sparks, it means flames.
Kamran May 24, 2012 03:23pm
I hope its not as humble as Aneel Kapoor getting slapped across his face..What a shame.
Rishabh Mehra May 24, 2012 04:52pm
Amitabh Bachchan is really a very mediocre actor. He is however, an excellent narrator. His so-called fan following is largely due to the millions of disenfranchised young men since the 70s, in mostly the third world, spanning from Morocco to Malaysia; who found the 'angry man' characters he played, resonating with their own sense of anger and unsatisfiable aspirations. He is a good human being ... and that is what counts most. If you have a chance to see Satyajit Ray's film, Shatranj Ke Khilari / The Chess Players, the narrator's voice is Mr. Bachchan's. His voice is powerful enough to give the movie a sense of immediacy. Incidentally, the movie is choc-a-bloc with India's pantheon of 'Mumbai actors': Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Farookh Sheikh, Victor Bannerjee, Farida Jalal, Shabana Azmi, David Abraham (an Indian Jewish actor!), Amjad Khan (also in Sholay), Tom Alter (an Indian of American parentage ... another actor not given the just dues ... he incidentally is an expert on Urdu / Hindi). Finally, Sir Richard Attenborough, the director of the biopic, Gandhi. See this movie, if you really wish to see what Indian movie making once was, and can yet be. This new Gatsby had better be better than Redford's. Understatement is a lost art in today's hyperbolic world. The choice of Mr. Bachchan shouldn't surprise anyone.