Abhishek Bachchan Talks Lockdown, Indian Cinema, And New Amazon Project

Abhishek Bachchan appears at an event.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Bollywood superstar Abhishek Bachchan let fans in on what he’s been up to during the coronavirus lockdown and talked about his new Amazon show, Breathe: Into The Shadows, according to a report from Deadline.

The new series, which is a stand-alone follow up to the 2018 series Breathe, stars Bachchan as Dr. Avinash Sabharwal. When his 6-year-old daughter is kidnapped by a masked man, Bachchan’s character is forced to make a difficult decision — kill someone or lose his daughter forever. This project served as Bachchan’s first attempt at creating digital content, and he said there were definitely major benefits to going digital instead of the more traditional routes.

“I do realize the benefits of a digital series,” he said. “It affords you the luxury of time which is something we don’t really get in cinema. Indian films are predominantly two-three hours long and you have to tell your entire story, and justify your character, in that time.”

Bachchan said what he and the show’s co-creators, Vikram Malhotra and Mayank Sharma, were able to produce in 12 episodes would have probably taken four to five films. When asked about his experience working with an international streamer like Amazon, Bachchan said it was all about finding a balance to make sure both Indian and international audiences would enjoy the project.

“We need to serve it to our audience in a cinematic language that is palatable to all of them,” he explained. “It has to be something that our Indian audiences will enjoy, and an international audience will not find too jarring. You want it to be something that everybody can consume.”

As for his life in lockdown, he said he has been spending a lot more time with his family, which isn’t something that typically happens. The Bachchan family is basically Bollywood royalty. The actor’s wife is world-renowned actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and his parents are fellow movie stars, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai arriving at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.
  Ethan Miller / Getty Images

Bachchan said the number of coronavirus cases in India is currently rising and he isn’t sure when he’ll be able to return to work. He said the country is only in a state of “partial lockdown,” but the government has not yet announced any plans to reopen cinemas.

When asked if he’d like to start acting in Hollywood films, Bachchan said it depends on the role. Bachchan’s father had a role in The Great Gatsby, while his wife is best known for her part in Bride & Prejudice, but the actor said it all comes down to whether the role stirs something within him.

“At the end of the day it has to excite me creatively,” he said.