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Amitabh Bachchan: Don't see The Great Gatsby role as Hollywood debut

PTI   | May 13, 2013 13:04 IST (New Delhi)
Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby

Amitabh Bachchan has called his belated Hollywood debut in The Great Gatsby "just a friendly gesture" but would not mind doing an encore if he comes across something interesting.

Amitabh Bachchan has called his belated Hollywood debut in The Great Gatsby "just a friendly gesture" but would not mind doing an encore if he comes across something interesting.

(Read review here)

"I don't look upon it as my Hollywood debut. It is just a friendly gesture and nothing more. It is just a small scene with Gatsby and his friend, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. Meyer Wolfsheim is looked upon as some kind of mentor to Gatsby in the story," Bachchan told PTI in an interview over phone from Mumbai.

(Read: Amitabh Bachchan "in shocked disbelief" over The Great Gatsby rave review )

Asked whether he is open to doing more Hollywood films, Bachchan said, "I don't know... If something is offered and I need to consider, I will certainly consider it."

The Baz Luhrmann directed film, a 3D adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel, is set in the roaring 1920s of America and stars DiCaprio, Maguire and Carey Mulligan in lead roles. Warner Bros is releasing the film in India on May 17, just two days after its screening at Cannes film festival.

Bachchan's appearance in the Hollywood film comes after a successful four-decade-long career in India as he "never came upon a Hollywood role" before.

The megastar is seen sporting sideburns and impressive whiskers in the movie, something that Luhrmann came up with.

"The look was Luhrmann's idea. I have got nothing to do with it. I only told him that I can't remove my beard because I was in the middle of continuity and he incorporated that."

Asked about re-teaming with the Australian director, he said, "That's something he will have to decide. I can't speak for him but it would be wonderful if he does and it would be fantastic if he were to ask me to work again."

Bachchan is happy that India is making its presence felt globally with its cinematic culture.

"I am delighted that India is being looked upon as a nation that is culturally important as far as cinema is concerned. A lot of talent is going across and working in Hollywood, there are many co-productions.

"We hope that in future many films get shot here and also have Indian artistes in it. I find these are happy moments."

Bachchan first met Luhrmann, who is famous for his colourful movies set on a huge canvas, while the director was on a private trip to India.

"I was quite surprised that he (Luhrmann) wanted to meet me or knew who I was. We met but we did not talk about any film. He was just touring India. One day he called me and said,'there is a small, little role. I know this is not big for you but I would be really happy if you could do it.' So I said, 'fine'," says Bachchan recounting how he came onboard for the film.

Besides the cameo, Bachchan's famous baritone also appears in one of the songs in the movie. Rapper Jay-Z, who is behind the music in the film, has incorporated a portion of his dialogue in one of the tracks.

"Jay-Z who has done the music on it, wanted to use a portion of my dialogue in the song that he has composed. Baz Luhrmann just asked me whether he could use my voice. The song probably has something to do who Gatsby is," Bachchan said.

Describing his meeting with DiCaprio and Maguire, Bachchan said they were very normal and friendly.

"We did not talk about Indian films. I don't think they (DiCaprio and Maguire) know me at all but it was nice meeting them and they were just very casual, normal individuals. They were very friendly, very warm and very cooperative."

Bachchan spent about a week shooting his part and was charmed by the professionalism on the movie set.

"We worked for 2-3 days in preparation and I think about two days of shooting. It was just marvellous to watch the kind of dedication that people have on sets. Yes, the atmosphere is no different from any other set but there is a certain method of working where everybody has designated jobs and goes ahead and fulfils it in the most efficient manner possible.

"There is huge amount of professionalism, great research and detailing that goes into preparing something like this, especially if it is a period film and this was about 1920s New York."

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