Me? and Veeru?: Abhishek Bachchan
“At first my response was, ‘Who me?’ says Abhishek about Ram Gopal Varma’s seemingly strange decision to cast him as Veeru in Sholay. “But then Ramu can be so persuasive. I decided to go along with any decision that he takes.”
Veeru, for those who came in late, was the character that Dharmendra played in the original Sholay. Veeru’s bum chum Jai was played by Abhishek’s father Amitabh Bachchan.
So wouldn’t it have made more sense to cast Abhishek as Jai?
Ramu avers. “Not at all. I certainly don’t want to go by predictable patterns of casting…not in any of my films and certainly not in Sholay where one false casting manoeuvre can ruin the entire equation. See, Abhishek playing his dad’s role is just what audiences expect.
"If I do that I might as well go the whole hog and cast Sunny or Bobby as Dharmendra’s son, Esha Deol as Basanti and Amjad Khan’s son as Gabbar Singh. No, the idea is to stay many steps ahead of audiences’ expectations.
"Abhishek as the extroverted, talkative comic Veeru strikes me as perfect. We’ve already seen Abhishek do the brooding, intense, silent act in Sarkar. I think a role where he needs to expand on his real-life personality is just what’s required. I’ve seen how good Abhishek is playing the comic gregarious soul in Bunty Aur Babli. As Veeru I’d get him to move ahead in the same devilishly mischievous direction.”
So is new ‘Veeru’ excited about being in Sholay? “Who wouldn’t be? It’s one of the greatest films ever made. This time I’ll get a chance to stand opposite dad. That should prove quite a challenge.”
Abhishek is currently shooting for Ramesh Sholay Sippy’s son Rohan’s Bluff Master which again gives him a chance to be funny irreverent and mischievous. This would be his next release, at the end of the year.