MNS topic is over, says Amitabh at ‘Last Lear’ premiere

September 12th, 2008 - 1:16 am ICT by IANS  

Amitabh BachchanNew Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan Thursday night refused to say anything more on the attacks on his family, especially his wife Jaya, by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and said the “topic is over”.Speaking at the premiere of “The Last Lear” in which he has a major role, Amitabh refused to be drawn in by persistent questions of media persons, saying: “That topic is over, let’s not discuss it any more.”

Asked how many times he would apologise to the MNS for his wife’s alleged “anti-Marathi” remarks, the Bollywood veteran said: “Maafi mangney sey aadmi chhota nahin ho jata (One does not become small by apologising)”.

Amitabh had Wednesday apologised for his wife’s remarks and said his family would be ready to take any punishment if found guilty of any crime.

The premiere Thursday was held at Select City PVR Multiplex and attended by producer Arindam Chaudhuri, director Rituparno Ghosh, others in the cast including Arjun Rampal, Shefali Sheikh and Divya Dutt.

Speaking on the film, Amitabh said that director Rituparno had given a lot of DVDs and literature on Shakespeare to him to read.

“Since I could not go through all I had glimpses into Shakespeare. My father (Harivansh Rai Bachchan) had translated Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Hamlet’ into Hindi. He had given me ‘Hamlet’ saying that one day I would perform Hamlet’s role. Since I am too old to perform the role, maybe I will do Hamlet’s father’s role of a ghost one day,” he quipped.

Arindam Chaudhuri, producer and managing director of Planman Motion Pictures, said “expectations are high” of the film and hoped the film would do well.

He said he was happy that people would be watching the film in Mumbai, where the premiere of “The Last Lear” was cancelled after the MNS attacked the cinema hall where the film was to be screened.

However, the MNS called off its agitation Thursday following the apology tendered by the Bachchans.

Chaudhri said they were holding a premiere in Kolkata Friday. “The film is releasing in Mumbai tomorrow. I have high hopes from the film and hope it will weave magic.”

MNS chief Raj Thackeray had called for a ban on the screening of films starring any of the Bachchan family as a protest against actress and MP Jaya Bachchan’s alleged “anti-Marathi” remarks at the music release function of “Drona”.

Thursday was the first red carpet for “The Last Lear” in India. The film has been shown at the London film festival and Toronto film festival and received wide acclaim.

It is said to be one of the finest performances by Amitabh to date in any film.

“The Last Lear” is based on Utpal Dutt’s play “Aajker Shahjahan”. It is shot in theatrical style and Amitabh will be seen as a whimsical Shakespearean actor who is drawn into the world of movies. It also stars Arjun Rampal and Preity Zinta in pivotal roles.

Made at a budget of about Rs.80 million, this is Amitabh’s first English film and also, for the first time he plays an actor in a movie. He went to Kolkata after 20 years for the shooting of the film.

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