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Birthday Special: Abhishek Bachchan is sensitive to the bone

Published Feb 4, 2015, 5:34 pm IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 9:22 pm IST
The writer talks about how the young scion of the Bachchan household goes out on his limb
Abhishek Bachchan was one of the lead actors in the recent blockbuster 'Happy New Year'
 Abhishek Bachchan was one of the lead actors in the recent blockbuster 'Happy New Year'
 Mumbai: The  first time I  spoke  to  Abhishek was also  the  first time he spoke to  the press.  “You’re the  one person Dad asked me  to speak  to,” he told me . There was no trace of nervousness in his voice , no tentativeness and certainly no fear  of  the unknown. This was  a week before  the release  of  J.P. Dutta’s 'Refugee'.  Much water has flown under the bridge since then. 
 Abhishek and I  share a  very  special bond.  hronologically I come  right in  the middle of Abhishek and his Dad. So I am able to share a  warm   bonding with both. Abhishek is  hard to  beat in arguments . He talks you down  with such  intense velocity  that you are left looking helplessly around  for help. The last time it happened I looked  pleadingly at  his Dad for help. AB Sr. smiled and shrugged, like  a  referee who  had left  the fighters to their own  devices.
 Here’s the test  for  how much Abhishek cares for you. If he takes you  on  verbally   any time any where, he ‘s a buddy.  The gentler side is kept  for  critical   occasions. I remember  being stuck in my hotel room with  a sozzled badly  behaved  enfant-terrible actor who refused to leave . I had met  Abhishek in the lobby of the hotel  earlier in   the evening.
“Help me!”  I had SMS-ed from  my room to Abhishek  down below. Within  seconds Abhishek rescued  me  from my misery by calling up  the sozzled superstar, and sat with him in  the hotel’s coffee shop  till the wee hours  of  the morning,  hearing  the blather   of  an inebriated brat.  To this day I wonder if Abhishek  endured that night’s verbal assault only  because of  me?  This young scion of  the Bachchan household does go out  on his limb. Extremely attuned  to the other person’s sensitivities Abhishek outwardly seems  to be constantly sardonic.
 His sensitive  side isn’t  there for everyone  to  see. I’ve seen  him  at  the start  of  his career being pushed around  and ridiculed by selfstyled movie critics who predicted Abhishek would never make  it. He  held  his his own admirably.  But sometimes the hurt and confusion  of  trying to live up to his parents’ reputation shone through.
As  the flops  poured out Abhishek once  told me,  “ I think people are very confused about what they want  from me..It’s a two-way sword which will hang on my head for the rest of my life.I think it will take time for people to understand what I am all about and what they want from me.In the meanwhile I’ll just carry on doing what I want to do and what I believe in doing.If I falter ,then there’s no point in being an actor.Sometimes I feel people don’t understand what I’m doing on screen.”
I remember  a colleague  warning me  that I am making myself  look ridiculous with my constant support  for Abhishek. Two years later he  was spotted waiting for two  hours outside Abhishek’s van at a studio. I’ve seen  Abhishek   go through the worst emotional  hurt of his  life. Not that he  ever speaks too much about his  personal life. But during  that  time I saw his raw hurt.
It  was a heartbreaking moment. And  I wondered when he’d  get out of it.  But Abhishek snapped  out of his pain before friends  had the chance to get overly concerned. Today   Abhishek is  at his peak, sharing shoes and success with his iconic  dad. The prolonged period  of  struggle has done Abhishek  a world of good.  He’s cautious about stardom, adulation  and  appellations such as ‘sexy’ and ‘iconic’.
It’s amazing how much Abhishek sounds  like his father when he  speaks  about success. They both believe  one must respect success, but not be  a slave to it.  They  both  have a penchant  for  picking  the proper words  in  their interviews without sounding rehearsed  or laboured.  Of course Abhishek is far less guarded  off the record. But  even with his  closest friends he  keeps a certain distance. 
You can’t  step into  the very private enclave  in Abhishek Bachchan’s  heart , no matter who you are. His parents, wife and daughter mean the world for him. Any whiff of a slur on them, and Abhishek will fight back with full ferocity.
The warmth  that  you see  in his personality on screen connects  so  instantaneously with  audiences because it isn’t faked. Abhishek can never ham.  He  doesn’t know how  to.