December 24, 2013
It’s blink-and-miss role by Amitabh Bachchan’s own admission. Yet the Bollywood superstar’s approximately two-minutes cameo in his Hollywood debut The Great Gatsby is being pushed by its producers Warner Bros to be considered for nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category at the coming 86th Academy Awards to be held on March 2, 2014.
According to a source Amitabh Bachchan’s name, along with the film’s other actors Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton’s name are listed for consideration for the Best Supporting Actor nominations by Warner Bros.
Bachchan plays a Jewish financier with underworld connections who is a friendly helper of Gatsby, the character essayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film.
The Indian superstar makes an entry on the screen as gangster Meyer Wolfsheim for roughly two minutes but still manages to make an impression despite sharing screen space with actors like Maguire and DiCaprio.
Bachchan’s character is introduced amidst decibel-high music in a crowded bar where a group of dancers are enthralling society hotshots. Quite a Bollywoodesque ambience we say! Being one of the greatest actors of Indian cinema, it’s impossible to miss out Bachchan’s trademark baritone and the way he introduces himself as an American to Tobey Maguire in the film, smartly concealing his Jewish identity.
Strangely, in numerous, earlier interviews Bachchan himself has played down his delayed Hollywood debut by calling it “just a friendly gesture.” It remains to be seen if his cameo in his first Hollywood outing could fetch him an Oscar nomination for The Great Gatsby. Bachchan himself had posted on his blog, “I play Meyer Wolfsheim for about a few seconds… yaa…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.”
At the time Hollywood’s ‘Variety’ magazine in its review of The Great Gatsby had stated, “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.”
It may be recalled that a major controversy had erupted when Judi Dench’s approximately eight-minute performance as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love (1998) was awarded the Best supporting Actor trophy. Another actor Beatrice Whitney Straight holds the record for being awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for a roughly six-minute performance in the 1976 film Network. She was reportedly on screen for five minutes forty seconds, playing a cheated-on wife of the character played by actor William Holden.
Closer home, actor Salman Khan and many others were was gobsmacked when he won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for his cameo in Karan Johar’s directorial debut Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).
Let’s wait and watch and see how far Bachchan’s two minute role in The Great Gatsby takes him. The complete nominations list of the Oscar contenders is expected to be out sometime in January.