From his debut film Cheeni Kum to his upcoming venture Padman, R Balki has maintained a common element in all his directorial ventures -- and that is the presence of Amitabh Bachchan. The filmmaker says the whole nation is obsessed with the megastar and he is just a part of it.
Balki has explored various sides of Amitabh’s acting talent in all his films -- be it through telling a love story between a 64-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman in Cheeni Kum, or a tale of a 12-year-old progeria patient in Paa, or showing the dark side of showbiz with Big B as a failed actor and drunkard in Shamitabh. Balki got Amitabh to make cameo appearances in English Vinglish and Ki & Ka as well.
Asked whether he is obsessed with Big B, Balki says, “I am not obsessed with Amitabh Bachchan... the nation is; I am just a part of the nation. Let me tell you, even in this film (Padman) Mr. Bachchan is playing an important role. Yes, it is a cameo, but once you watch the film, (you) will understand the relevance of his presence in that moment of the story. I know people said that I keep bringing him in my film somewhere, but all those moments are crucial in the story.”
“If we talk about Ki & Ka, the conversation between Mr Bachchan and Jaya ji, was crucial, that is also one side of the main topic of the film, that added a perspective,” he adds.
Asked if, given his advertising background, it is easier for him to tell a story that amalgamates the value of brand and entertainment, he shared how the length of the story makes all the difference. “You might just find an ad film boring if I take 20 seconds extra to tell a story elaborately. On the other hand, there is a time when the audience could find things are happening too fast in a feature film. But that is how it is, depends on the format,” he explains.
Balki expresses his happiness over famous south Indian film composer and musician Illaiyaraja being honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour. “I think even Bharat Ratna is less to show our respect to his talent. For me, he is not just an incredible musician, he is music. We have spoken after I got to know the news, I am really happy,” says Balki who worked with Ilaiyaraaja in films like Paa, Cheeni Kum, Ki & Ka and Shamitabh.
Padman, a film highlighting awareness on menstrual hygiene, stars Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte. It will release on February 9.