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In a cramped room in Manhattan, Abhishek Bachchan greets a reporter for an Indian newspaper. "I'm Abhishek," he says, offering a firm handshake. He seems shy, and terribly reserved as the interview starts. But a few moments later, he starts talking enthusiastically about his films and friends and life in the movie industry.

He has taken a few hours off from the hectic shooting for Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna to promote his new film, Bluffmaster, directed by Rohan Sippy -- his friend from his school days. This is the second time the two are working together following the also-ran Kuch Naa Kaho two years ago.

Bluffmaster is important to Abhishek for more than one reason. It is a film where he won't have an Amitabh or John Abraham (as in Dhoom) acting alongside.

"After a string of hits like Dhoom, Bunty Aur Babli and Sarkar, the expectations from Abhishek are riding very high," says Sippy.

As Abhishek speaks you notice how eager he is to praise the other artists in Bluffmaster including Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Nana Patekar and Priyanka Chopra. When he is with a cast of wonderful actors, Abhishek says giving a good performance becomes a natural process.

He spoke exclusively to Arthur J Pais.

Photograph: Paresh Gandhi

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