28 May 2018,10:32 IST
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I am extremely proud of Black: Big B
There are actors and there is Amitabh Bachchan. At a ripe age of 60 plus when most are filing retirement papers or figuring their pension pay, this grand dad of Indian cinema is readying his next shot for Mahesh Manjrekar’s Viruddh. Distant yet polite, generous yet objective, Bachchan’s appeal lies in his duality. (View Gallery: Black: Story in Pics)

He has been doing films for three decades and then BLACK happened…

Rarely has any film excited Amitabh Bachchan as this one. Just as his modest trailer van rubbishes loose talk about his ivory-tower life, the cine-god bins assumptions about Black. (Also Read: Jaya bowled over by `Black`) IndiaFM does an exclusive with Amitabh Bachchan where the phenomenal actor talks about the eccentricity and madness of his character, why it saddens him when media tags Black as depressing and finally, what makes Black extraordinary!(Also Read: Playing Michelle was scary!: Rani on `Black`)

Here’s an actor who lives in superstardom but remains untouched by it… (Also Read: Sanjay Leela Bhansali: The maestro of pain)

Black is a film, all right. But it touches you more as an ‘experience’. What do you think?
I completely endorse your thought. Black is truly an exceptional film. It is out of the ordinary. I have seen and admired Sanjay’s work. I was very glad that he wanted to work with me. I read the script and thought it to be stunning. But it’s only when I started working with him that I realized the genius that he is. The kind of attention and detailing that he does for the film right from the costumes, the script, the color palette, is stupendous. The film contrary to what some would like to believe isn’t dark or depressing. Instead Black is a very uplifting film. And it certainly has the finest me.

It brings me to my next question that a certain section of media has painted the film as being melancholic. What we gather is that Black is a film about faith, fight and triumph…
Absolutely right. It’s sad that the film was projected that way. I am sure that no one from the media has seen the film yet. We have worked in it & I can tell you that the film is anything but depressing.

Can you delve into the soul of Black?
The film is about this physically handicap girl and her teacher. It is the struggle of this girl to break out of her limitation and realize the dreams that her mentor and she have dared. There is a whole lot of turmoil, anguish and pain but the faith remains rock solid. It’s about two ordinary lives who make an extraordinary effort at life.

The promos give us a ‘never-before-seen’ Bachchan. Your character interests us a lot…
Well, I play a teacher who is now getting old and crabby. His personality has huge highs and lows. The man is very good at his job but is slightly eccentric by character. A percentage of his imbalance has to do with the frustration that his students have failed him at some level. And he is on his way out. That’s when his colleague finds him a job at this institution. Its here that he meets Rani’s character and guides and propels her out of her handicap. Now is a junction where some amount of communication can take place. But he develops Alzheimer’s and looses his memory. It’s now time for a complete role reversal and Rani is now his guide…

Your character portrays a lot of anguish, a hint of madness along with a very humane shade. Right…

What I want to know is that what is that one element that you found extremely challenging to enliven on screen?
The entire character! He is somebody I haven’t done before. The same goes with the scenes too. I not once had a sense of deja vu. The shooting was backed by an intense training period. That was equally challenging. Both the character and the film in itself were complex, hence extremely interesting. With touch being their sole sense of communication, performing got very demanding. Hence extremely fascinating!

A role such as this needs a lot of backend work, while maintaining that edge of spontaneity to the character.
I agree. Yeah…

How did you balance the twin?
Yes, each frame has been a fresh experience. The workshops took care of learning the art. And you’ll have to watch the film and tell me whether the spontaneity shines through…

What was your experience of interacting with the blind deaf?
It’s been tremendous. They hate the word impossible. Everything is possible to them. They don’t like to be sympathized with. There is no room for pity in their world.

Their spirit is simply unbelievable. Were there moments that you felt inadequate?
I agree, they have a great deal of spunk. I guess that is what rubbed off on us too and coaxed us to deliver better. It’s been a tremendous experience.

It’s a first that a physically handicap girl and her mentor play protagonists. A huge deviant from the usual hero-heroine frame. Your take…
Absolutely. Black is not a design film. But different doesn’t mean it’s going to be boring. The film doesn’t have a single dull moment. Each frame is dramatic and holds you by the guts. There is not a single element that you miss in the film that an otherwise masala potboiler might have offered. That’s my personal guarantee.