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Fan interest is essential for an actor: Amitabh Bachchan

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New Delhi: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan or Big B, who at 73, attracts fans in profusion wherever he goes, said that they are an “essential” part of an actor’s career. A thrill of fans still gathers outside the gate of his Mumbai bungalow pratiksha every Sunday morning. He has the maximum followers on Twitter for an Indian and has a burgeoning “extended family” of those who read his blog.

The actor, who has spent over four decades in the film industry, often shares instances of how his fans end up getting either amused or startled if he’s travelling in the same airplane as them; or of the exhilaration that they experience upon clicking selfies with him; and more.

But Amitabh, a globally popular face from Bollywood and one who has admirers across the world, brushes it off as just a result of ‘celebrity’ status.

“I think this would happen to anyone that has claims to being a celebrity. There is nothing wrong in it or objectionable. Fan interest is essential for an actor. They make us who we are. Giving them attention or getting it from them is justifiable,” Amitabh said.

That has been an ongoing phenomenon throughout his career.

It’s interesting how the actor has been experimenting with his driving skills — whether it’s riding a bicycle for “Piku”, a scooter for “Te3n” or even a ‘tuk-tuk’ for leisure. But he says the best drive for him has been his 45-year-long journey in showbiz.

Asked to share his best driving memory, the three-time National Award winner, said: “Driving memories? 45 years in the film industry have been a wonderful drive!”

And why not? Best known for his roles in films like “Anand”, “Agneepath”, “Namak Haraam”, “Don”, “Hum”, “Zanjeer”, “Black” and “Paa” to name a few, Amitabh has regaled Hindi film buffs as much with his ‘angry young man’ avatar as in romantic avatars; as much as in intensely dramatic roles, as those with a comical streak.

From essaying a 12-year-old boy Auro in “Paa”; a friendly ghost in “Bhoothnath Returns”; a failed actor and drunkard in “Shamitabh”; and a grumpy father in “Piku” – these are a few of his recent portrayals on the silver screen that have been a window to Amitabh’s talent, which has not faded, but only enhanced with age.

“At my age, this is the best that can come my way and one should be thankful and grateful that there is work available at this time of my career,” said the son of late poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan.

The experience of facing the camera, he says, has not changed.

“Every day is an experience for me. Filmmaking has only one gospel – the sound of ‘Start sound’, ‘camera’, ‘clap’, ‘action’… And you better get it right after hearing those words,” he said.

Adding more versatility to his filmography comes “Wazir”, which features Amitabh as a paralysed chess grandmaster, confined to a wheelchair.

He said the wheelchair made matters “a lot easier”.

“I did not have to worry where to keep my hands… Hehe.. But seriously, though it was great to be able to portray a character I had never done before,” said Amitabh, who said the preparations for the role weren’t too many.

It’s a project that Amitabh readily said “yes” to, especially since it was an idea that filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra — whom he describes as an “astute producer” — had narrated to him around 15 years ago and he had liked it.

Now that the film is ready to hit theatres on Friday, Amitabh describes it as a “smart and modern film, unique in its structure and presentation.”

“And, yes, this one has been made most sensitively as well. It’s intelligent and swift-paced,” added the actor, who has also sung a track titled “Atrangi yaari” along with co-star Farhan Akhtar for the Bejoy Nambiar directorial.

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Monsoon Road Trips from Mumbai

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel

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Here are some top recommendations for your next best road trip in this season of Monsoon. Pixabay

The floods in Mumbai have been in the news lately, an annual chaos that seems to have become part and parcel of life in the country’s financial capital. However, the monsoons are not a season to dread and just outside the city, as the curious traveller ventures higher into the Western Ghats, there are some picture-perfect destinations for the season. Here are some top recommendations.

Lonavala
Lonavala would be on top of the monsoon destination list for most Mumbaikars. Wrapped in fog, this historic region gains a completely new avatar in the rains as the forested mountain slopes regenerate and the waterfalls come to life. One of these is Kune Falls, which roars amidst a pristine verdant scenery.

The Lohagad Fort has always been one of the most captivating sites on this route and the monsoon mist gives it an allure straight of a medieval-theme video game or movie. A trek to Liones Point is recommended – the season would require special precautions like monsoon-ready footwear and waterproof clothing. While in Lonavala town, a visit to the lake is not a bad idea.

Khandala
Just next to Lonavala, one can reach the quaint hill town of Khandala, perched at close to 2000 feet above sea level. The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make this place an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro, not to mention the splendorous drive on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Some of the popular viewpoints here are the Tiger’s Leap and the Amrutanjan Point. Other attractions here include the Buddhist cave temples at Karla and the calm and placid Bhushi Lake.

khandala
The mild monsoon temperatures and dramatic scenery make Khandala an ideal weekend getaway from the bustling metro.

Mahabaleshwar
A jewel tucked in the lap of the mighty Sahyadari Mountains; Mahabaleshwar offers visitors a curious mix of colonial heritage and striking Indian history. Built by Shivaji, Pratapgad Fort has an enigmatic presence in the landscape here, a site of many important events.

Those looking to enjoy some of the high elevations will love a trek to the summit of Wilson Point, famous for its panoramic views of the valley below. The Needle Hole Point is another famous place to catch a glimpse of the scenic landscapes. Venna Lake is another centrepiece attraction at Mahabaleshwar while the hilltop Krishnabai Temple is famous for its architecture and Krishna statue.

More and more travellers are choosing a car rental over public transport. Rates are increasingly affordable and self drive gives total control over the pace of the journey. One can make impromptu stops and detours and there is complete privacy.

Finding a car rental in Mumbai is as simple as a few taps on an app. With platforms like Zoomcar, registered users can book a vehicle in a matter of minutes. One can choose from a wide range of cars – maybe a hatchback or sedan for the family getaway – or maybe a large SUV for the boisterous group road trip. 24/7 on-road support is one of the assurances that self drive rentals offer.

The hills are alive this monsoon. The best way to feel the cool winds and witness the mountain storms is to do it on one’s own terms – behind the wheel.