After spending close to a month in the Nanavati Hospital’s isolation ward, being treated for Covid-19, on August 8, actor Abhishek Bachchan announced that he had tested negative and soon was discharged. Healthy and happy after recovering from Covid-19, he attended the engagement ceremony of filmmaker JP Dutta’s daughter Nidhi, a few days ago.

Bachchan is feeling positive, now that he is back home. Talking about his frame of mind post Covid-19, he says, “I am fine, thank you for asking. Ready to get back to work.” In July, not just Abhishek, but his father actor Amitabh Bachchan, wife- actor Aishwarya Rai and daughter Aaradhya were diagnosed with Covid-19. Ask him how he kept his spirits up during that difficult time and he replies, “The love, affection, concern and prayers of our family, friends and well wishers (helped). (I) listened to what the doctors and medical staff instructed me to do and be a good patient.”

Days before he tested positive for Covid-19, his debut web show, Breathe Into The Shadows had dropped and was well received by the audiences. The show starred him in contrasting characters, including that of the antagonist in the story. “The response has been overwhelming. More than what I had expected. We always work hard and then pray that the audiences like your work. The team of Breathe believed in the director, Mayank’s vision and we had a good script, but eventually the audience decides. That’s why I say that we hoped for the best,” he says feeling “overjoyed”, adding, “A lot of hard work went into the show and to receive this kind of response is wonderful. I’m so humbled and thankful to the audiences and the entire team behind Breathe. Playing a negative role is very tough. Firstly, because the negativity doesn’t come naturally to me, so you need to put in that much more work to make it look convincing. As actors, you need to go out more on a limb when playing a character like that, so I feel it’s tougher.”

With a number of films releasing on OTT now, including his forthcoming film, The Big Bull, the Guru (2007 ) actor feels that while the box office barometer might be absent, but actors will still be required to deliver “in terms of performance”. Talking about the change, he says, “Well, one possible change, and dare I say a good one, could possibly be that it would lay more importance on whether the actor is able to essay the role or not? Are they suited for the role and not just their box-office standing or pulling power? Having said that, there are many films that we make that require a ‘Star’ to be in them, the format and requirement of the film is such. It is a completely different school of acting. And I believe, a lot more demanding and difficult.”

Having been a part of the industry for twenty years and having “witnessed the best in the business do it” all his life, Bachchan asserts he speaks from “first hand” experience. “Contrary to popular belief, commercial film acting is not easy at all. To, convincingly and with utmost conviction do some of the things ‘commercial cinema’ demands is immensely challenging. But, now without the box-office barometer, directors and producers will possible cast a film on the merits of the script and its requirements in terms of casting. An actor’s life will still be decided every Friday. They will still be required to deliver -either at the box-office or deliver in terms of performance. At the end of the day, the audience will still decide and they are the final word!” he signs off.

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