I put on weight to become Bob Biswas: Abhishek Bachchan
In Abhishek Bachchan’s upcoming film, he plays Bob Biswas in a spin-off based on a character of Kahaani from Sujoy Ghosh. For Bob Biswas, Abhishek had to go through the tough ordeal of gaining weight. Unlike many actors, Abhishek didn’t want to use CGIs or prosthetics to look like the role, and instead went out of his way to gain weight to look and feel like Bob. In an exclusive conversation with IndiaToday.in, Abhishek spoke about the mental process of becoming Bob Biswas and why he was absolutely keen on gaining weight for his character.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Tell us about the mental transformation you went through to play Bob Biswas.
It was a difficult and very dark tunnel to be honest. Bob has lost his memory, so everything is fine. There are no dos and don’ts. So, that was the process of completely rediscovering a person. Even emotionally, it’s a daunting task for anyone to wake up from a coma and not remember anything. If they find out that you have a beautiful wife and two beautiful children and you are very happy, lead a sedentary middle class life and suddenly your past catches up with you, which is totally at odds with the life you lead and the life that you have come to appreciate and love. So, to face this moral dilemma that “wait, I don’t want to do this but I have to do it”, “I don’t know what’s going on”, and thus finding its feet among all this, it raises so many questions. questions and so many emotions that it makes Bob as a character so interesting to play.How easy is it to let go or disconnect from a character after the movie is over? Does any part of the character stay with you?
A part of the character always stays with you because you put so much of your personal thing into the character. Something or the other always stays on, something or the other.
So what did Bob stay with you?
His weight !
Has the option of wearing a bodysuit or prosthetics ever crossed your mind?
Yes, this is something that Sujoy (Ghosh) and Diya (Annapurna Ghosh) wanted to explore first. I was dead against it. We tried it, I like to give everyone a fair opportunity. I said I will try it. I was not happy because of the lack of movement. When you put on a stomach prosthesis, it’s very lifeless. And you look fake somewhere. I believe that today the public wants to see a completely authentic actor with the material they have. They want to see the actor really jump with both feet and really go for it. And they’re very quick to point out when they like to cheat like that. They grab it. So, I mean, that’s the kind of actor I’ve been, that’s the kind of job I prefer to do. I did it in Guru 14-15 years ago, I did it for Bob, I put on a little weight for Big Bull because the role demanded it. But for Bob, I had to push him to another level. I became between 100-105 kilos during the shoot. And if you see Bob’s face, the face changes when it’s round and his cheeks fill up. When you make prostheses on the cheeks, it looks like a prosthesis. The stomach also moves in a different way. When you have that weight and you physically carry that weight, your whole performance changes because your body language changes your weight, your movements, your walk, your run, everything changes you know.
The weight pulls you down a bit. So, I wanted this slight hunch. I wanted this in the walk. For me, I feel that if I can watch the character, I feel like 50% of my performance is taken care of. That’s what we did. It was very difficult. It was fun. I mean to gain weight obviously. Then, filming in Kolkata in winter. You can have Gud Sandesh and all the wonderful candy that Kolkata has, but mentally I got stuck because we had to stop our shoot halfway due to the lockdown and we were about 80% done. And we still had 10 to 15 days of work. Throughout the confinement, I had to maintain this weight. It was hard. Because it’s not nice to be overweight like that. It’s very bulky, and I don’t even go into the effects it has on your health, but it’s hard to carry that kind of weight around you. You have to do what you have to do for your job and your movie. We managed to finish it and finish the movie and started the arduous process of losing it for my next project, which I was shooting shortly after.
How has your family reacted to your weight gain? Did Aaradhya Bachchan, Aishwarya or your father say anything?
They are okay with it. They understand it’s part of the job and they know it’s second nature to all of us at home as actors. So everyone is very used to this process.
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