Abhishek, I’ve never seen you as excited about any film as you are about Dasvi?
I am ! I have been telling you about Dasvi for some time ; it is a role any actor would be dying to do.
How did it come your way?
My producer Dinesh Vijyan and director Tushar Jalota told me the concept. It was about a kindhearted politician who decides to sit his Class 10 examination from prison. I simply fell for the plot . I had to do this one.
How difficult was it to get into the skin of a Haryanvi politician?
Gangaram Choudhary is nothing like me. In that sense, this is the most challenging role of my career. The first thing I had to do was master the Haryanvi accent. For that we had a coach on board.
This is the third film in a row where you do an accent.
I had a Gujarati accent in The Big Bull. But I didn’t have any Bengali accent in Bob Biswas. We had decided to do away with any accent. But yes , I have done three different culture-specific roles in two years. It was not planned. But I have to admit that I’ve come to a stage in my career where I seek challenges. Playing the cool dude is not my scene any longer.
No matter what, you always be the coolest one?
Thank you. But coming back to the preparation , the hardest part was not the body language but the accent. I had to make sure the Haryanvi accent didn’t fall off. I had the voice coach with me whenever I could. You know, I am surprised I am still asked about my preparation , whether we did workshops before shooting.Aren’t these a given nowadays?
No, they are not. And you know it. I’ve seen your co-stars coming on the sets and asking for their lines. You want me to name them?
No, thanks. I would rather talk about my Dasvi co-stars Yami Gautam and Nimrit Kaur. Their level of preparation simply took my breath away. I was very impressed with their homework.
Dasvi looks authentic?
It is. We shot the film on actual location in the central jail in Agra. All the inmates that you see are real prisoners, not junior artistes.
How did you stop them from looking into the camera?
We just asked them not to. Do you know what was my biggest triumph shooting for Dasvi? We recently received a letter from the Agra central jail informing us that several inmates have decided to sit their Class 10 exams . Cinema always hopes to make a difference. But how often does it actually change lives? We will be going to the jail to show them the film and to see how we can help with their aspirations to complete their education.
It is rare for your dad(Amitabh Bachchan) to praise you in public. That’s what he has done. He says your performance in Dasvi makes him proud?
What more ratification do I need? Compliments from my father are much cherished. He is not in Mumbai right now. He in in Lucknow shooting. But I owe him a hug.
Being a football lover I thought you would pop up somewhere in your Dad’s film Jhund?
Ha ha. The director Nagraj Manjule wouldn’t have allowed it. If you have seen the film, you’d know he has cast real-life slum footballers. I’d have stuck out like a sore thumb.I love football and kabaddi. I will be doing a film on both the sports as soon as we crack the scripts.
Any regrets that Dasvi is not releasing in movie theatres?
Of course, I’d have loved it to be on the big screen. Of course , I miss my films in cinemas. But we all know what we’ve been through. One has to be realistic and accept the situation for what it is. I think of the viewership that Big Bull, Bob Biswas got and Dasvi will get on the streaming platform, and I am very happy.