Jul 22, 2008

Even my lost baggage makes news: Amitabh Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan may have lost his clothes on a British Airways flight from London to Toronto, but he kept his shirt on at a press conference to kick off the Unforgettable Tour. Amid peals of laughter, Big B said his loss of luggage had become big news in India. "As we talk, I am happy to know that just because I have lost all my baggage on British Airways, it is national news in India," he said on Thursday. "I mentioned it in my blog and they have all means of communication—mobile phones and SMSes. Just before coming here we got delayed because I had to answer about 15 questions on what was the nature of my baggage and whether I was going to sue British Airways. I was told that I should really come on the phone. "We will welcome your spirit, your enthusiasm and your interest in us and in our baggage," Bachchan said amid another round of laughter. And the 66-year-old Bachchan family patriarch said the Unforgettable Tour could not be his last show abroad. He couldn't wait to shake his leg tomorrow, he added. The biggest-ever live Bollywood show will take the Bachchan family—Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya—and their co-stars across the globe. This will be the first time that the whole family will perform in a live show. A brainchild of Abhishek, the tour has been in the works for more than a year. Each show is likely to cost $1 million. Apart from the first family of Bollywood, Preity Zinta, Akshay Kumar, Madhuri Dixit, Shilpa Shetty, Vishal Sekhar, Ritieish Deshmukh and choreographer Shiamak Davar, it features 130 other performers. Both Abhishek and Aishwarya, who announced their engagement at the premiere of their hit film Guru last year, said they were excited to be back in their dream city. Asked who he gave credit to for his marriage to Aishwarya, Abhishek smiled at her and said: "To her because she said yes. She tolerates me so much and it has just been a year and I hope it goes a lot longer." And for his success? "The credit for my success goes to my parents and to the audiences for tolerating me for so many years." When someone asked whether the global show was a stepping stone for her for an international career, Aishwarya said: "That's not the way I have looked at the shows. This is not the first time we have come. Shows have been part of my career for a while now. We thoroughly enjoy and so does the audiences. It is all about that. No show is ever looked upon as a stepping-stone to another area or advancement of career. It's just about doing what you believe in." The former Miss Universe said musical shows like Unforgettable were an extension of Indian cinema, which has been embraced by international audiences. Preity chipped in, saying that Indian cinema has truly gone global now. Unlike the past, when only people of Indian origin watched Indian films, now people from all ethnic backgrounds came to watch them. "Earlier, we took small steps. Now we are taking big leaps." As the show travels around the globe to spread Bollywood far and wide, the audiences will be treated to scores of foot-tapping songs from different ages of Indian films. Twenty tonnes of cargo, including specially designed stage backdrops, props and instruments, will travel with Bachchan and his crew, as will more than 1,000 costumes studded with Swarovski crystals and sequins. Further, the Unforgettable Tour will promote not only Bollywood but also awareness about global warming, as it has tied up with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

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