‘Gandhi’ Ben Kingsley bowled over by ‘Auro’ Amitabh Bachchan

December 15th, 2009 - 6:37 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

By Subhash K Jha

Sir Ben Kingsley watched his ‘Teen Patti’ co-star Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Paa’ on Thursday night. And he’s completely bowled over.

“Mr. Bachchan’s total transformation is a great technical achievement. His body language and physical transformation were remarkable. I didn’t know anything about that particular condition (Progeria). To play an exiled isolated child is a very remarkable achievement on his part.”

The two have worked together recently in ‘Teen Patti’. But Sir Ben warns that his is a very small part in the film. “It’s a very small part. It was an opportunity to work with an Indian crew again after ‘Gandhi’. I missed that. It was an opportunity to work with Mr. Bachchan who is an icon in his own field. It’s interesting to mix cultures in a film to see how different people from different backgrounds can be so much synchronized and work together. We worked very intensely. I keep appearing in little scenes in the film as a storyteller. We hit a very quick working rhythm.”

Leena Yadav in ‘Teen Patti’ was Sir Ben’s third female director in a row. “I just did two other films with female directors. I like being directed by females. They bring a different eye through the camera and an unusual perspective. Female directors see things that guys miss. I respond well to female direction. The ego is in a different place. They are focused on fundamental things like narrative and human behavior rather than issues that may be distorted by the male ego.”

Much as he enjoyed his cameo in ‘Teen Patti’, Sir Ben would be unable to come to India for its release. “I’m going to be very busy from February 2010 onwards.”

To visit Goa and not see the beaches is akin to visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra. Sir Ben Kingsley, who left India on Friday afternoon for Abu Dhabi, did visit the Taj Mahal during his short stay in India this week.

But not once did he go down to any of the beaches in Goa.

“I need a purpose for anything I do. I’m not an aimless traveler. I’m not very good at being on holidays. I’m not someone to be just lying around on the beach. My itinerary in Goa was packed. I just saw the beach from my hotel window, and that’s it. Please make sure you tell everyone how hard I work. The governor of Goa made me feel so welcome. He made the trip very special,”

Sir Ben is a bit alarmed by all the hype surrounding his film, ‘Taj Mahal’. He says it’s a little premature to talk about it. “It’s very early to talk about that project. The ink is hardly dry on the script. It’s coming together. We’ve a beautiful script. And we’ve some financial interest being shown in the project. I now have a short list of directors. I hope not to be disappointed about the director I want.”

He also dismisses the talk of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan playing Mumtaz Mahal. “We must not jump the gun. We must not make impolite inappropriate announcements till everyone is on the same page. There is no Indian cast yet. We don’t know what the actors’ interest or feedback would be. We’re still putting the team together. We just have to put all the components together, take a deep breath and see what our investors have to say. Like I said it’s very early days to talk about this project.”

The actor known the world over for his astonishing transformation in ‘Gandhi’ says he’s doing more acting roles these days than ever before. “I turned down a lot of acting assignments in 2009 to push the production company forward. I respond to what’s offered to me. I feel having portrayed one character (Gandhi) so effectively, I need not use the same set of muscles to portray other characters. Luckily directors and producers like to stretch me and offer me a variety of roles. I owe my variety of roles to American and British filmmakers. However I was pretty versatile even before I worked on ‘Gandhi’. I had done seventeen Shakespearean characters before. So variety for me is not an unusual thing. It’s amazing how beautifully the cards fell for my career.”

Next Sir Ben will be seen in a Martin Scorsese film ‘Shutter Island’ in February 2010. “This is my first film with him, although we’ve known each other for years. I loved the experience. He’s a remarkable man, loves cinema. Very decent with his actors; caring and provoking them in the right way. I play a psychiatrist.”

Though Sir Ben visited the Taj Mahal he got no time to visit his home state Gujarat during this visit to India. “Like I said I need a reason to travel. I visited Gujarat during ‘Gandhi’. I need a purpose, a task to visit a place. Otherwise I’m a bit lost. I’ll go where my work takes me. I can’t be a tourist,” he said before flying of India, the ‘Taj Mahal’ still a distant dream.

-Sampurn Media

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