India's Bachchan reverts to childhood in unusual film

Thu Dec 3, 2009 9:46am EST
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

PANAJI, India (Reuters Life!) - An unusual Indian film that casts 68-year-old Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan as a 13-year-old school boy, with his own son playing the lead, has the world's most prolific film industry buzzing.

In "Paa," Bachchan plays Auro, a teenager afflicted with progeria, a rare genetic condition that causes a person to age faster than normal.

And, in an ironic twist, the role of Auro's father is being played by Bachchan's actor son, Abhishek.

"The director of the film came up with the idea that he wanted me to play my father's father and we set about looking for a plausible reason to do that. That is when we came upon progeria," Abhishek Bachchan told Reuters.

Posters for the film, made on a budget of around $3 million, show an almost unrecognizable Amitabh Bachchan, with a large bald head, bulging eyes, and buck teeth, wearing a school uniform.

The film, however, focuses on the relationship between father and son, and doesn't "talk about the tragic life of a progeria victim," Abhishek said.

Bachchan's role and heavy make-up, which took five hours to apply, is uncommon in Bollywood, which generally puts out films that revolve round love stories and trademark song-and-dance sequences, or more commonplace social or political themes.

"The make up was the toughest part, but I don't want anyone to think that this is a film about progeria. This is a father-son story at its heart," director R. Balakrishnan said.   Continued...

<p>Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan poses for a picture on the sets of television reality show "Bigg Boss" in the western Indian state of Maharashtra November 13, 2009. REUTERS/Manav Manglani</p>