Jaipur, Jan 24: Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan on Friday said Oscar awards should not be considered as the "ultimate recognition" for artists, although he was glad that those working behind the scenes were finally getting their due credit.
"You people have taken the Oscar as the best recognition and award," Bachchan said when asked if there was dearth of good Indian movies as very few had managed to get into the Oscar race.
"They are great in their place and we are so in our place. It is not that Oscar awards are the ultimate recognition," he told an audience during the release of the book "Bachchanalia" at the Jaipur Literature Festival here.
"Oscar has its own place...we do not disrespect it.... If they wish to give us an Oscar they can do it...if not, it would be even better," he said.
India cinema has always stood first, stands first, is the best, Oscar has its own place," Bachchan said at the interaction.
However, he added he was happy that the artists who were working behind the scenes were finally getting their due recognition, also emphasizing the nomination of sound director Rasool Pookutty for an Oscar was also important, besides that of Rahman and Gulzar.
"It is encouraging when we see that the media, which conducts the film award ceremonies in India has started recognizing the worth of background artists. Rasool, a sound engineer from India being nominated for the Oscar awards is definitely wonderful news and makes me terribly happy for him," Bachchan said.
"Moreover, I hope that Rahman, who has already done India immensely proud brings back a second Oscar to the country," he said, a day after Indians bagged six Oscar nominations
The 66-year-old legendary actor also chose to clarify his remarks over Danny Boyle's film Slumdog Millionaire that bagged 10 Oscar nominations.
Bachchan said he believed the film was an artist's creative presentation and everyone had the right of expression. He clarified he had not in his blog said the film was negative in depicting the poverty of India.
"The words (criticizing the film) were not mine. In fact, in my blog I had analyzed some comments on the film put on my blog by the readers. I have since then spoken to both Anil Kapoor and Danny Boyle and clarified my position," Bachchan said.
On why he did not attend a nomination function despite an invite from Anil Kapoor, he said he was busy and conveyed his good wishes and congratulations to the entire team of Slumdog Millionaire.
Asked whether Indian movies were fulfilling the aspirations of viewers and reviewers abroad, Bachchan said he was very happy as Indian films were catering to amount 2.5 billion people. "Look at cinema from the beginning, 50-70 years ago, it was not well respected...no one wanted to join the film line then, now Indian cinema has grown tremendously, enveloped all of us.
"Criticism and cynicism at the international level gives us a satisfaction of growing Indian cinema's standard. We are a pioneer in film creativity
and talent is no way inferior...if given an opportunity, we can make brilliant films for foreign competition," he said.
"Indian movies have now got greater acceptability... more and more movies are being screened in foreign countries like Japan, US and China," Bachchan said.
Praising the 10 Oscar nominations for Slumdog Millionaire, Bachchan said Bhanu Athaiya, the costume designer of film Gandhi, was the first to get the Oscar award
"...there are people who work behind the making of film... there was a time when they were not noticed... now even my make-up man could get any award one day,” he said.
Describing cinema as a uniting medium, the actor said there was no better example of an integrated India than a cinema hall.
On question of violence being increasingly depicted in Indian movies, he said the movies were only reflecting the reality. "Movie is a strong medium of expression and creativity to depict what ever happening in the society.
"Bihar records the maximum crime but has less movie halls. Andhra Pradesh has the maximum movie theatres. It is the movies that keep communal harmony as people of all communities and religion sit together in the hall to watch a movie...where they laugh together, weep together...tell me how cinema is promoting violence", he asked.
Asked whether Indian literature is moving in the right direction, Bachchan, who is son of renowned poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, said, "I do agree that the importance of written word — the great literature written in the past — is being forgotten.
"We not only need to revive the interest of young generation, but we require an instrument, ideas, inspiration and promote it".
About how he has influenced son Abhishek as an artist, Bachchan said he shared more of a friendly rather than fatherly relationship with him and hoped Abhishek would imbibe the lessons of life from his experiences.
"When I had a son, I decided I would be a friend to him rather than a father. I regularly speak to him about my experiences as an artist and I hope he incorporates them in his life. In my eyes he has remained a balanced and down to earth person.
"However, both myself and Jaya have never attempted to professionally promote him though we even have the wherewithals to produce a film, lest he comes in for unnecessary criticism or loses his confidence," Bachchan said.
Asked about his guiding force Bachchan said he had always admired Dilip Kumar and Waheeda Rehman. "I was impressed by Guru Dutt... Kagaz Ke Phool was my best choice...every generation actor of past like Rajendra Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, in directors' category Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Manmohan Desai and Ramesh Sippy, Saleem Javed... Tinu Anand of Agnipath... Adi Chopra, Karan Johar".
Young artists and directors were coming up with new dreams and plans, he said, adding they were not in any way "less than Raj Kapoor and Hrishikesh Mukherjee".