Amitabh Bachchan returned to the sets after a gap of about four months, thanks to his surgery last year. And the industry welcomed him with open arms.
Subhash K Jha chats with the Big B [ Images ] about his first day. Excerpts:
How does it feel facing the cameras after all this time?
It feels the same, not much different. It's the same people, same mode of work, camera, trolleys, cranes, music... Life moves on. On the first day of shooting, Karan Johar's [ Images ] crew showed respect and joy at my return. I feel embarrassed. Tomorrow is another day, another challenge.
I started on Monday with Karan's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. It was a day's shoot with Shah Rukh Khan [ Images ], Rani Mukerji [ Images ], Preity Zinta [ Images ] and Kiron Kher. There was no particular reason why -- just that the dates worked out in this fashion.
On Tuesday, I shot for a Bhojpuri film called Ganga, produced by my makeup man, Deepak Sawant. He has been with me for 30 years and has put together this project with great courage. He was one who was affected most due to my illness. It's a small-budget film. It would have been finished in November, so I gave it priority.
How were you welcomed on the sets?
Yashji (Chopra) was in his new state-of-the-art studio with flowers and a warm hug. Karan came with chocolates and gifts. That's it. Otherwise, it was just like any other day.
There's jubilation at your return...
I did not witness any jubilation, except the television crews and OB vans following me from 6 am, as I went to the gym and then on to the studio. Such a waste of tape and time! I don't think it (my return to work) deserved so much attention. But fans, yes, they were warm and affectionate. They prayed for me and I got back on my feet because of them. I thank them and acknowledge their love. But it's still insufficient and I have no adequate words to express my gratitude to them.
How will you cope with the work piling up?
It's not so bad. The producers have been very kind. They haven't thrown me out or replaced me. There has not been a marked difference in their planning. No serious delays. I think everyone is quite happy. I will be doing the Bhojpuri film for a couple of days, then a few commercials, Ravi Chopra's Babul, and the final schedule of KANK [ Images ].
Are there any new projects you have signed on?
No. There are restrictions on how much I can take on, and I need to finish what I am committed to. But I meet and like what I hear from Rakeysh Mehra and Ram Gopal Varma [ Images ]. There are others too. But I'd rather they took final shape before we talk about them.
Photograph: Pradeep Bandekar