The Great Gatsby
The legendary actor of Indian cinema, Big B is making his Hollywood debut in Baz Luhrmann’s adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic novel The Great Gatsby.
The film set in 1920s America, on Long Island’s North Shore and in New York City, portrays the decadence and excesses of high society before the Great Depression.
Amitabh had recently revealed that director Luhrmann had visited him in Mumbai two years ago to offer him the role in personin his upcoming film. The 70-year-old star plays Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish gambler in the film, acting alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
Bachchan has himself tweeted about his minuscule role saying, “I play Meyer Wolfsheim for about a few seconds… by the time you look down on your popcorn to pick another morsel, I’d be gone from the film…he, he…kinda short service… But with giants of Hollywood – Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire.”
US reviewers praise Big –B
Despite his role being more of a cameo, American reviewers and critics seems to have taken notice of the actor. Scott Foundas is the chief film critic of Variety magazine writes, “By far the liveliest work in the film comes from two actors with only a few minutes of screen time between them: the lithe, long-limbed newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as gabby golf pro Jordan Baker, and, in a single scene that marks his belated Hollywood debut, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as the flamboyant Jewish gambler, Meyer Wolfsheim.”
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter says that the film ‘feels vibrantly alive while remaining quite faithful to the spirit, if not the letter or the tone, of its source’. He however wonders why someone so tall and of Indian origin was Luhrmann’s choice to play the role of a short Jewish man.
Offering an explanation, for Luhrmann’s decision to cast Bachchan in the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, The New Yorker‘s reviewer, David Denby states, “The director, perhaps not wishing to be accused of anti-Semitism, cast the distinguished Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan as the Jewish gangster.”
Meanwhile the country’s biggest movie icon is happy at the appreciation and applause he has garnered from international critics for his first Hollywood stint. A source close to Bachchan says, “He’s extremely delighted with the way the film has shaped up. And even though his role may not be as big, he has left a mark and in his own style has made an impact.”