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Abhishek Bachchan: What you learn is how educated you truly are

Actor Abhishek Bachchan on his new film 'Dasvi', the meaning of education, and upcoming projects.

March 27, 2022 / 01:34 PM IST
Abhishek Bachchan as Gangaram Chaudhary in 'Dasvi'. Directed by Tushar Jalota, 'Dasvi' will stream on Netflix from April 7, 2022.

Abhishek Bachchan as Gangaram Chaudhary in 'Dasvi'. Directed by Tushar Jalota, 'Dasvi' will stream on Netflix from April 7, 2022.

The last time Abhishek Bachchan and I spoke was almost a year ago. At that time he was in Agra shooting Dasvi. Eleven months later, he’s promoting the drama-comedy in which he plays an eighth standard pass Jat politician called Gangaram Chaudhary. When he gets jailed, Chaudhary decides he wants to complete his ‘dasvi’ or 10th grade exams.

Directed by Tushar Jalota, Dasvi (on Netflix from April 7, 2022) also stars Nimrat Kaur as Chaudhary’s wife and Yami Gautam as a stern police officer.

Dasvi is a genre-shift for Bachchan who was last seen in headlining The Big Bull and Bob Biswas and he’s super excited about this ‘masala entertainer’.

From the 8th to the 10th is just two more years of education. Do you think it makes a world of a difference?

Yes. There is a big difference between being studious and being educated. I would love to see change come about where we have less emphasis on being studious and more emphasis on learning. What you learn is how educated you truly are. Does a particular grade or percentage determine how qualified you are or how well you have learned something? It might be two years but the more important question is have you managed to imbibe the learning and what have you learned.


Some might say there is no substitute for what life teaches you.

That’s true. Life teaches you a lot more. Someone asked me if our politicians should need a minimal educational qualification. Firstly, I am not qualified to answer that, as I am not a policy maker. You are probably 15 or 16 years old when you finish your 10th exams. So then who is better qualified to be a leader – a 10th grade pass or a 60-year-old politician who has been in the political sphere, working at the grassroots for 40 years? That learning cannot be found in a book.

How do we quantify who is qualified to be a leader? All these questions come back to not being studious, but being educated.

What attracted you to the part?

When the producer and director met me they pitched the basic concept, which I loved. It was similar to Bob. When Sujoy Ghosh said he wanted to make a film about a contract killer who has lost his memory, you just know that’s a great premise. Similarly, with this one they said it’s the story of a chief minister who gets sent to jail and he is an 8th pass who decides to do his 10th. That’s a great premise and then there was also this sumptuous character, which was great fun.

What kind of prep did it require to play Gangaram Chaudhary and were you nervous stepping out of your comfort zone in such a big way?

One is nervous before every film. It scares the living daylights out of you, as it should. It should challenge you otherwise it won’t change you. I had a dialect coach with whom I worked for two months, which is the time period they gave me to lose the Bob Biswas weight. I had to shed 15-16 kilos to get into shape because I wanted Gangaram to look a certain way. I also learned the dialect because I didn’t want it to look forced. Getting something so specific correct is very important for me.

It's interesting that the other two strong characters in this film are women.

I loved that. They are such wonderful actors to work with and collaborate with, who make you look better. I have learnt so much about the craft by just observing them. They are dedicated, professional actors who have such wonderfully written characters. I love that Gangaram’s greatest obstacle is about half his size! When they stand in the same frame, it's like David vs Goliath. It puts into perspective that the size of the packet doesn’t matter; it’s the bang that the packet makes that matters. And Yami did that with such strength, zeal and dignity. Nimrat goes from this very shy, introverted, under-confident person to becoming the opposite. It’s a wonderful character arc and she aced it.

What do you hope the audience takes away from the film?

I hope the audience takes away a huge smile. It’s a full-on masala, entertaining and sweet film, with its heart in the right place. I think people will come out loving Gangaram Chaudhary.

Where do you go from here?

Onward and upward. I have about 20 days of shooting left for the next season of Breathe. I have almost finished R Balki’s Ghoomer and SSS-7, which I have produced and I am acting in, is in post-production and should release soon.

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Udita Jhunjhunwala is an independent film critic, lifestyle writer, author and festival curator. She can be found on Twitter @UditaJ and Instagram @Udita_J
first published: Mar 27, 2022 01:28 pm
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