| Bachchan: Singing now, acting later'
Feb. 21: The baritone is back, but the greasepaint will have to wait.
More than two months after undergoing an intestinal surgery, Amitabh Bachchan has returned to work, with song but minus the dance.
Although the reports were confirmed only today, the superstar finished his first film assignment after recovery early on Sunday morning.
There were no lights or camera, only action as Bachchan recorded a number for Ravi Chopra’s film Babul, co-starring Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee.
The song ' a Punjabi hip-hop number by lyricist Sameer: Come on, come on, chalo jashn manaye (let’s celebrate) ' was just right to hail the comeback.
“Bachchan saab’s return is a good omen for me. What better way to bounce back after all the setbacks I have faced with this film'” asked a beaming Chopra.
First Bachchan’s illness and then the cases against Salman, slapped with a one-year prison term for poaching, had cast a shadow on the film.
“We did not want to stress Bachchan too much so we asked him to take it easy. But the professional that he is, he recorded the song in three hours flat. Aadesh began with him at 11.30 pm and it was all over by 2 am.”
The song was recorded at AV Sound, the new music studio owned by Babul music director Aadesh Srivastava.
“It was all very quick. Aadesh inaugurated his new recording studio on Saturday. He wanted Bachchan saab to bless it by recording there first. But nothing was certain. By evening, he confirmed and we recorded the song through the night,” a studio technician who was part of the recording team said.
He was back again at the studio on Monday night to record another song for Babul with Srivastava. “This time it was a sad number,” said a studio source.
“Not just for the song recording, I have been interacting with Amitji for a few days now and he is looking very energetic, back to his original self,” Aadesh said.
After the song yesterday, it was the voiceover today. If Bachchan slipped out of Jalsa quietly in the night for the song recordings, he strolled into the studios again to dub for Eklavya ' The Royal Guard.
“He came in today and dubbed for two hours,” revealed Rachel Reuben, chief assistant director to Vidhu Vinod Chopra for the film, also starring Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt.
“He is getting tired very easily and so, we want to take it slow. Since Eklavya is essentially a sync-sound film, we don’t need a lot of time from him. Even though he has given us dates, Mr Bachchan can come in next whenever he feels like,” she added.
Before he faces the arclights again, Bachchan may record yet another song with son Abhishek for a private album composed by the Vishal-Shekhar duo and produced by family friend Rohan Sippy.
Vishal Dadlani of Vishal-Shekhar said: “We have had a conceptual chat and he liked the idea. If he wants us to record even in the middle of the night, we are ready to go. It will be an absolute honour for us.”
For now, Bachchan will only be heard, not seen. It will take at least another month and a final round of medical tests before he returns to the sets of Babul, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Sholay and Sarkar 2. He also needs to give a few dates to complete Karan Johar’s new magnum opus Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.
“He hasn’t yet intimated us as to when he can start shooting,” said a source at Ram Gopal Varma Films. “Earlier he was supposed to shoot for Sholay in May and June. Now, if he is fit, we can only finish pre-production and start shooting by the year-end.”
Bachchan is yet to commit fresh dates to STAR for Kaun Banega Crorepati. “Only 25 episodes are left as per the original contract we had with him. But we want to sign a fresh contract and do an entire new season when he is ready to shoot with us. So, the show will return as KBC 3, with Mr Bachchan,” a STAR TV spokesperson said.