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Since 1st March, 1999
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Father and son? Look again

He doesn’t want to be mistaken for Abhishek Bachchan but he doesn’t mind being Amitabh Bachchan’s son. Hot on the heels of his raging Tollywood romp in Aamar Pratigya, Priyanshu Chatterjee will be seen sharing screen space with both Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan in Bhootnath.

And the way the Big B hugged Priyanshu at the music release of Bhootnath, it is obvious that not just the people around them, perhaps even Amitabh was struck by his striking resemblance to Abhishek. “That’s for the stubble, I guess,” Priyanshu laughs over phone from Mumbai. “The new look is for a new Hindi film I can’t talk about.”

But he can surely talk about Bhootnath, where he does play the screen son of Amitabh Bachchan. “It’s one of those things which makes your acting career fulfilling,” Priyanshu says. “Everybody is so right when they keep raving about their work experiences with Mr Bachchan. It was a treat really. He has honed his craft to another level altogether.”

So when two years ago director Vivek Sharma came to Priyanshu with the script of Bhootnath, he had no hesitation about saying yes. “It was an honour to be a part of such a huge star cast — Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla. Of course, the story was fantastic too. And then the banner of BR Chopra. I had to say yes.”

Bhootnath is a comedy about a child and his grandfather’s ghost. Amitabh plays the grandfather, Priyanshu his son and the child’s father, and Juhi the child’s mother. “But I am not Juhi’s husband; you can say that’s the twist,” Priyanshu laughs. “It’s an out-and-out entertainer with comedy, drama, family values... You can say it’s a typical film from the banner of BR Films.”

Priyanshu is also very kicked with his own character in the film. “It’s got a nice graph going,” he explains. “He is the good son but at the same time he is big-time rebellious in attitude. Then, in the course of the film, he redeems himself.”

Shah Rukh has a special appearance — or “surprise package” as Priyanshu calls it — in Bhootnath and he does have scenes with the Bong bloke. “He brings the whole thing together in the film,” Priyanshu reveals. “Having done a couple of scenes with him, I felt that his approach to a scene is so very different from Mr Bachchan’s. And that’s what makes it interesting.”

Commercial Bengali films in Tollywood and mainstream Bollywood fare in Mumbai, Priyanshu wants to juggle his roles right now. “The priority for me has always been good films,” he says. “My game plan is very simple. If something good comes up, I will check if those required dates are free and I will do the film. Regardless of the language and the scope of the project.”

Curious about how Aamar Pratigya is doing, Priyanshu gives the Bengali film industry two thumbs up. “I don’t know why people complain about working there. Shooting for Aamar Pratigya was a completely delightful experience for the 25 days I shot for the film. I would go on to say that there is no major difference with shooting in Bollywood. I would love to do more Bengali films.”

For now, the countdown has begun to the release of Bhootnath on May 9.

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