The Bachchans take London

Published: June 17, 2010
Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan at the Raavan premiere. PHOTO: AFP

Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan at the Raavan premiere. PHOTO: AFP

Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan at the Raavan premiere. PHOTO: AFP Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai starred in Raavan. PHOTO: REUTERS

The Bachchans were in London for the premier of new Bollywood film Raavan. Abhishek Bachchan and his wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan flew to London where they were met by his father, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. The family attended the showing of Raavan late Wednesday, as did the film’s director Mani Ratnam and Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman. The group was given the red carpet treatment at the British Film Institute Southbank complex next to the River Thames in central London.

Raavan stars Abhishek Bachchan and his wife, who is an acclaimed actor and former Miss World, and will be released in cinemas worldwide on Friday. “India is the largest film industry in the world. We sell twice the amount of tickets that Hollywood does,” Bachchan told Sky News television. “They are at a threshold where people have suddenly developed this love for Indian cinema. But I don’t think it’s going to be this huge rage in the English-speaking world. There is always a language barrier and that is something that has to be respected,” he added.

The film is a loose adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana, in which the wife of Lord Rama, Sita, is abducted by a demon. The movie is packed with action scenes, many of which take place in dense jungle.

When asked how she handled being thrown into water repeatedly while filming stunts for the movie, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan told the BBC, “It must have made acting easy, don’t you think? Just throw her in there and suffer, and let’s just film that.” Her husband added, “She came out looking as good and we were like ‘Come on that’s so unfair’.”

Two versions of the film were made simultaneously, one in Hindi and one in Tamil, something Rai felt made the experience “even more challenging.” However she said the experience was enjoyable and “very, very close to my heart.” She said, “As an actor there’s so much to do and so much to give to the character in the narrative, so I think we actors are always greedy and hungry and looking for work where we are actually able to enjoy the entire process.”

She added that it was also nice for both her and Abhishek to work with the director, Mani Ratnam, as he was “very, very dear to us.” She said, “The director is my first director, the person I faced the camera with for the first time ever. And here we were working together on what we believed is a good piece of cinema.”

Amitabh Bachchan came to London after spending time in Paris. “Abhishek and Aishwarya have flown in just this evening after hectic and tiring procedures being conducted for the promotions on Raavan, and it was such a delight to be all together again,” he said in his blog on Tuesday.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 18th, 2010.

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