Bachchans bring house down at ‘Raavan’ premiere in London (Lead)

June 17th, 2010 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhishek Bachchan By Venkata Vemuri
London, June 17 (IANS) The atmosphere was electric and the thumping of “dhols” mesmerising as the Bachchans, the first family of Bollywood, walked the red carpet in London for the world premiere of the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai starrer “Raavan”.

Hundreds of fans thronged the British Film Institute in Southbank for the premiere Wednesday night, calling out for Abhishek and Aishwarya.

“It’s wonderful. Look at the reception we’ve got. We are feeling on top of the world and we are so happy that we came to London to premiere the film,” said Abhishek, 34, who walked the red carpet hand-in-hand with wife Aishwarya.

Aishwarya, 36, added: “We love the fans here… They are out here appreciating our hard work… so it’s time to say ‘Thank you’.”

Considered the biggest ever premiere for a Bollywood film in London, the event stopped the evening traffic near the venue as fans tried to catch a glimpse of the stars. Some even climbed up rooftops and cars to get a glimpse of their screen idols.

It had all the trappings of a Hollywood premiere, with the film’s cast walking over a red carpet lined by fans on both sides.

Aishwarya, a well-known name in the international arena, was happy to see crowd cheering for her husband. “They are screaming out for Abhishek… I’m noticed. I’m happy,” said the actress, who seemed to be enjoying every bit of her husband’s company.

Abhishek, who plays the villainous Beera in “Raavan”, was looking dapper in a pink shirt, dotted tie and jet black tuxedo, while Aishwarya looked elegant in a subdued Sabyasachi Mukherjee sari teamed with a heavily embroidered full-sleeved blouse. Both of them were a delight for the shutterbugs and complimented each other to the T.

Even the otherwise restrained Mani Ratnam, the director of the film, seemed to lose his reserve as he shook hands with fans and spoke to the media. Tamil superstar Vikram, who plays a key role in the film, too got a warm welcome, and not just from the sizeable presence of Tamil fans.

Abhishek’s parents - Bollywood megastar Amitabh and his actress-politician wife Jaya - too walked the red carpet. And they were joined by none other than the Hindi film superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who came with his wife Gauri and daughter Suhana.

“When Abhishek calls me anywhere, I know it’s going to be a great party, a great film. Aishwarya, Abhishek, Amitji, Mani Ratnam - all my favourite people here. It couldn’t be a better evening to meet your friends, see such wonderful performances, see one of the finer films the country has made, I had to come… and the kids are very fond of Abhishek…so they all wanted to be here,” said Shah Rukh.

Commenting on the film, he said: “I think it’s one of the finer stories I have heard. Insha Allah it would do well and everybody else would like it as well.”

“Aishwarya is way too fantastic an actor for me to make a comment on. Whenever I have worked with her, I have only gained from the fact that she has stood in the same frame as me.

“I am a little biased towards Abhishek,” Shah Rukh added.

Abhishek responded to the camaraderie, saying: “He (Shah Rukh) is like family. He has always been there for us.”

Amitabh, on the other hand, was quite reticent, to the extent of not even commenting on the film. “I’ve yet to see the film. From the bits I’ve seen from the promotions, I think it looks stunning.”

Asked about his abscence from the film, which was like a family affair, the Big B mischievously quipped: “I would have liked to. Could you put in a word to Mani for me? It’s just that he does not take me in his films.”

Mani Ratnam wouldn’t respond to that, but when asked why he chose Abhishek for the role of Beera, the abductor, he said: “The character is a little mad. And Abhishek is close to it.”

Releasing Friday worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, the film is co-produced by Reliance BIG Pictures and Madras Talkies. It will hit about 2,200 screens worldwide.

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