Amitabh Bachchan’s new show, Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi, is creating social awareness in its own way. We caught up with the actor to ask him all about it….
How and when did you decide to become involved with it?
By the middle of the year, Star approached me for the show, I liked the concept, we had several meetings with their creative teams and after reaching common ground, began preparation for broadcast.
This is a show about unsung heroes. How do you seek them out? Is it hard to convince them to speak of their good work?
There is a research team which sets about discovering such individuals. We also have, through television, the medium, the capacity and intent to invite information from the general public if they have any knowledge of these ‘heroes’. I am not aware of their attitude when asked to appear on the show; that the team members would know, but from the little that I have gathered they are quite forthcoming.
You recently took a train journey with working class folks. How was the experience? When was the last time you boarded a train?
We’re all working class folks, so let’s not express any kind of disparity. The purpose of going on the train to be with Saurabh, to express solidarity in what he so generously does, and to let him know that he is not alone in that. Many may look at the incident with some cynicism, but for me it was a moment which stirred my conscience, after coming to know of Saurabh, his story and his incredible desire for selfless work. I wanted to just not be this designer-dressed anchor striding within massive elaborate settings, expressing sympathetic words of comfort. I wanted to let Saurabh know that we were touched by his contribution to society, and that we would like to do something similar. And honestly, who really cares when I took my last train ride?
The show is motivational. So is Kaun Banega Crorepati. Do you see the two shows becoming a platform for social betterment?
The credit here needs to go to the channels and the producers of these shows who think so. I am a mere nobody in this vast enterprise. I know naysayers shall debate the thought, with elements of that oft-mentioned word — commerce ! Sure, it’s valid to think so. There is a huge business to run and operate. But within this complex business profile, when there is attention towards what you call ‘social betterment’, then the process must be termed laudable. Corporates have beautifully designed the entity of CSR — Corporate Social Responsibility. We need to design within us an ISR — an Individual Social Responsibility, too!