Ashwarya and I don't have to play couple on screen

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Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, whose much awaited film Sarkar Raj was released yesterday, does not feel that he should always be paired with his wife Aishwarya Rai in a husband and wife role.

"Just because we're husband and wife doesn't mean we should play the same roles in all our films," Abhishek told IANS in an interview.


How different are you and your father in Sarkar Raj compared to Sarkar?

In Sarkar Raj, Pa (Amitabh Bachchan) would be seen with an added slouch. Pa had to be shown more aged than the first part of the film. A lot of time has passed and we see it in both our performances. My character has more responsibility on his shoulders unlike my earlier character, which was that of a hungry and lean man who was eager to prove himself. Now, my character is a confident and successful man.

I believe you've put on weight for the role

I have. We wanted to show Shankar Nagre as a healthier man as he was in the first part, just as a successful and well-settled man. Even my clothes in Sarkar Raj have changed. In Sarkar, I was more casually dressed but in Sarkar Raj, I am more formally attired in a suit all through.

Do you know more about sequels than your colleagues?

Sarkar Raj isn't my first sequel. I have also done Dhoom and then Dhoom 2. But there is a difference. For Dhoom 2, Aditya Chopra's brief was to take the brand further. He wanted to make the sequel bigger and better. Otherwise, he reasoned, why would they come to see it?

Sarkar Raj, on the other hand, moved the other way. It is not a candy floss entertainer. We had to be true to the original characters. The characters moved in a specific direction from the first part to the second. So there has to be a lot of intensity in the presentation. In Sarkar Raj we couldn't afford the liberties that we could in Dhoom 2.

Are experimenting with your body language and weight a part of your acting grammar?

I guess today an actor has to work hard to be noticed and so does the director. In Sarkar Raj, it is not just my character's weight that has changed. Even the house that the characters live in has become plush.

This time have you taken centre-stage in the drama?

Sarkar is Subhash Nagre, which is dad's character. But now, in Sarkar Raj, Shankar is running the family business. But his father is still the head of the family. So we're in it together.

But you and Aishwarya are not a couple in Sarkar Raj?

Does that matter to the audience? Once the lights go down in the theatre, the audience becomes one with the characters. If they don't, it's my failing as an actor. They will be swept away with the characters. Whether we are married or a couple in the film is of no consequence. I think such cheap publicity gimmicks don't work.

But what about the strong image that the media has created of the two of you as a couple?

No, I'm convinced that the audience isn't going to take that factor into consideration. My father and I do play father and son in Sarkar Raj, but we weren't related in Bunty Aur Babli in any way. In fact he was hunting me down throughout the film. And yet it was a resounding success.

How much have you evolved as an actor since Sarkar?

I would like to think that my character has evolved since the first part and that I have evolved accordingly. But like Jai Dixit could change his looks and clothes from Dhoom to Dhoom 2, I don't think it would look believable to see my character in a T-shirt, jeans and in a clean-shaven look in Sarkar Raj.

As for myself, without sounding arrogant I would like to say that I do think I have evolved as an actor. I am still learning and I will be learning till the day I'm an actor. Look at my father at 65. He continues to evolve. In comparison to him, I have a long way to go. I would like to believe that I'm evolving. ... on+screen'

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