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The Bachchan Badge Of Honour
Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena and Photographs by Colston Julian
Published: Volume 15, Issue 5, May, 2007
Last month, as one of India's most eligible bachelors tied the knot, the fiercely guarded festivities drew obsessive media and mass attention. Verve rewinds to its early encounter with the bridegroom, Abhishek Bachchan

The child is the father of the man and in the courteous strapping youth of today one can detect glimpses of the boy he must have been. Admitting that he never rebelled against his parents' diktats, Abhishek Bachchan hardly gave them cause for concern. "Dad was dad first and Amitabh Bachchan next," says the son. "He has never shouted at us, ranted or raised his hand. My mother did whack me a few times though...."

Abhishek wears the Bachchan badge of honour with pride for he has imbibed all his values from 'my parents and grandparents' - loyalty, integrity…and, of course, the family's predisposition to acting. "Shweta is the most talented actor in the family," Abhishek insists. His first exposure to a 'public' was on a school stage where he reveals, quite shyly, "I played a daisy. It is most embarrassing to tell people that my first role was that of a flower." His entire family was there to cheer him and he can still visualise his father waving out to him from the front rows, treating him to lunch thereafter.

Abhishek's career moves have been his own. "I hear a script and instinctively know if I want to do it. I may sleep over it for a couple of days," he says, "but if I have the slightest doubt, I do not take it on. Of course, I consult my parents, but they have never forced their decision on me. They respect my judgement in all things even though they still treat me like the baby of the family. They do not think that I have grown up at all."

Speak to him about his recent bravura performances at the box office - super cop, Jai Dikshit (Dhoom), hired gun, Lallan Singh (Yuva) and sensitive lawyer, Tarun Anand (Phir Milenge) - and the actor, who has prime projects like Naach, Dus, Antar Mahal in the pipeline, deftly deflects compliments. "I am a self-deprecating person and take myself with a pinch of salt. I give all the credit to my directors," he says.

He is hot now, even though he will not admit it. His dance number in Rakht turned him into the original 'item boy'. Abhishek laughs off the label, saying, "It was given to me by Bipasha Basu and it stuck. I loved doing the number." But the fan adulation - particularly of the female kind - continues to amaze him. "I freeze, get very embarrassed and self-conscious when girls approach me," says one of the country's most eligible bachelors. "for I am basically a shy person. I like the time to meditate in solitude. I can create my own space in the middle of a party."

Professionally and personally, the actor has faced tough times.... Not overtly superstitious, Abhishek does admit to wearing a white kurta pyjama on the first day of work on any film, ‘purely out of habit and not to ward off any ills’. Abhishek in fact, states, “I have not experienced any kind of depression. I have never been taught to lose in life. I have been brought up to be a fighter…. There was a time, though, when I thought I was immortal. But life has made me grow up!” And, surely, we all agree that AB’s baby is walking tall!