He has devoted over four decades to the film industry, witnessing major changes in content along the years, but megastar Amitabh Bachchan has always made it a point to keep in sync with the tastes of youth, who constitute the bulk of the audience as, he stresses, “you have to listen to them”.
The 68-year-old icon, whose latest Bbuddah…Hoga Tera Baap releases soon, says while he is happy with most of the changes, he still has reservations over the use of expletives and doing explicit scenes in films.
He says youth will continue steering changes in content – from candyfloss romance dramas to dark comedies, hardcore action fights, and hard-hitting reality films.
“Indian cinema will change with every generation! When we came in the 1970s and 1980s, people, the old timers, didn’t necessarily agree with what we did. They said, ‘What is this man like? In every film he has a frown on his face, bashing up people!’ The old timers didn’t like it. But youth seemed to like it, and so we went ahead,” Amitabh told over phone from Mumbai.
“The modern generation now likes romantic and young films and films that show more stuff that is very prevalent in youth today. I’m happy that changes are taking place in the industry,” he added.
The veteran admits that sometimes he doesn’t find the changes appealing, but it’s hard to ignore what the audience demands.
“Sometimes we regret changes… I personally feel that the same kind of writing is not happening as it used to in the past. I just feel that content is not as poetic or lyrical. Some of the language has the use of expletives… it’s very common nowadays.
“I am uncomfortable using expletives, I am uncomfortable doing explicit scenes and, therefore, I refrain from doing it. That’s my personal choice. But the younger generation is okay doing it; so we have to go with it.
“But you know… how do you change the maximum percent of audience that is between 18 and 30? These are the cinema-going audience and this is the largest percent of audience in the country. So you have to listen to them!” said the actor, who is awaiting the release of Bbuddah…Hoga Tera Baap and Aarakshan – both as different as chalk and cheese. The former is a fun-filled film and the second one deals with the issue of reservation.
Amitabh, who still manages to give stiff competition to younger stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, and even his son Abhishek, has begun to feel a generation gap. Nevertheless, he finds it pertinent to keep a tab on the pulse of youth to make films that are in keeping with the audience’s tastes.
“I’d like to know what youth is seeing, what is happening, how are tastes changing. I see many films, and when I don’t like certain films and hear that it worked, I question ‘Why the hell did it work… because I didn’t find anything attractive? And then when I like a film, I ask myself… ‘Hey this film didn’t work? This is such a fantastic film!’ So there’s obviously something wrong with me!
“I don’t want to challenge the decision of the audience. They are going to be the masters in any kind of situation. I think it is a continuous process of wanting to learn what is working and what’s not working,” the nation’s most revered and respected actor told.
Just like “old timers” that Amitabh mentioned before, the actor himself feels there’s a contradiction in his taste and youth’s choice. But he is glad to find some like-minded people too.
“There is a huge change as far as the perspective and the age of the audience is concerned. I like the lyrics and melody of the past. Yes, I also enjoy the happy beats and stuff, I genuinely like it. But I am happy that a lot of people are appreciating the soft and emotional song ‘Haal-e-dil‘ from Bbuddah…. I am happy that there is a liking for this kind of song as well.”
Amitabh’s Bbuddah…Hoga Tera Baap releases on July 1 and Aarakshan will hit theaters on August 12th.