I will not be part of Pakistan bashing: Bachchan

Amitabh BachchanAmitabh Bachchan says he will never be part of an anti-Pakistan film.

Talking about his latest film, "Deewaar: Let's Bring Our Heroes Home", on the escape of prisoners of war across the border, he said there was no...
...Pakistan bashing in the movie.

"Pakistan bashing? Not at all. There's not a single word against Pakistan. In fact, there's a very sympathetic Pakistani colonel. This whole issue of Pakistan bashing is exaggerated," Bachchan told IANS.

"From time immemorial, Hindi movies have never taken swipes at any caste, religion or creed. We in fact propagate tolerance and love for all communities. Hindi films always play up the minority characters. Do you remember the importance of the 786 badge in Yash Chopra's 'Deewaar'? I played a Muslim protagonist in 'Coolie'.

"They keep quoting the example of J.P. Dutta's 'Border' (as an anti-Pakistan film). But that film was recreating history. And at the end it preached friendship between the two nations. Look at the songs in 'Refugee' - 'Panchi nadiyan pawan ke jhonke...inko koi na roke'. I'd obviously not be part of any Pakistan bashing."

In "Deewaar", he co-stars with Sanjay Dutt, the son of a couple he will never forget -- Sunil and Nargis Dutt.

"I've known Sanjay since his childhood. My association with his family goes back to his parents. His mother Nargis Dutt was the first person to invite me home to Mumbai.

"My mother and she worked together as voluntary medical assistants after the India-Pakistan war. Since my mother was into social causes, she met Nargis Dutt during the course of such work. My mother happened to mention that I had applied for the United Producers' talent contest and had been rejected.

"Nargis Dutt took it upon herself to get a screen test arranged for me. She asked director Mohan Segal to do my screen test. When I came to Mumbai I stayed as Sunil and Naris Dutt's house guest...I never forgot their hospitality.

"Soon after, I got my first break in K.A. Abbas' 'Saat Hindustani'. Sunil Dutt gave me a role in 'Reshma Aur Shera'. Sanjay, merely nine or 10 then, used to come to the sets and he actually did a role in the film. Every time I felt lost in Mumbai, I'd go across to the Dutts' residence."

Not only has "Deewaar" refreshed those memories, but it has also given the angry young man of yesteryear a tough and heavily demanding action role.

"Though I've done a lot of action films earlier in my career, 'Deewaar' has been my most physically strenuous film among recent films. At this stage of my career the physical activity in 'Khakee' and 'Deewaar' can be quite taxing. My body can't take it.

"'Deewaar' is very, very fast paced. I think it's a film that will appeal to the masses. I'm very bad at assessing films. But all those who've seen it have liked it immensely...Yes, it's a men's film. But very different from 'Khakee'. 'Deewaar' goes into a topic not touched upon.

"I like the way it has been shot and edited. Obviously, we couldn't shoot the Pakistan portions in Pakistan. But, given the limitation, it looks very authentic and it's very pacy...Karan Johar told me it'll be a very massy film. The masses haven't had a film for them in a long time. The niche films have been filling up the theatres and the balconies. 'Deewaar', I feel, is a front-stall film."

This was Bachchan's second film with the title 'Deewaar', with the first having been made by Yash Chopra.

"The changes between Yash Chopra's 'Deewaar' and this 'Deewaar'? I am still around! I don't know if I'm a vital part of the industry. I'm just happy to get work...To give him credit, both Gaurang Doshi's films 'Aankhen' and 'Deewaar' have gone into unknown territory. 'Deewaar' is a very boys' night-out film. What I really like about 'Deewaar' is that it doesn't dwell on any one scene.

"Director Milan Luthria leaves a lot to the audiences' imagination. I like it, I like the economy of narration. There are three stories running in it - Sanjay's, Akshaye Khanna's and my track. Luthria has really paced the film intelligently."