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Bollywood actor Bachchan switches gears for TV acting debut

Actor Amitabh Bachchan attends the 'The Great Gatsby' world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New Y
Actor Amitabh Bachchan attends the 'The Great Gatsby' world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New Y

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - After dominating Indian cinema for more than four decades, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is gearing up for his television acting debut this year.

Bachchan is no stranger to television, having hosted several seasons of the Indian version of the quiz show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" but this will be his first role in a TV fiction series.

It comes after Bachchan made his Hollywood debut last month in Australian director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby", walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival with Leonardo DiCaprio.

"Never done serials before, so apprehension plays hard .. but .. better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all," the 70-year-old actor said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Bachchan is arguably the biggest name in Indian cinema and also patriarch of an acting dynasty that includes son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai, a former Miss World.

His role and the content of the TV series, which will have a finite number of episodes, is still a closely guarded secret. It will be directed by Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and is slated to go on air later this year.

"This series will change the way India sees television and will open the doors for a new genre in television entertainment," Kashyap said in a statement.

Bollywood stars are increasingly turning to television for more visibility and as an alternative to a movie career, hoping to cash in on an audience hungry to see more of their favorite actors. Several reality TV shows in India are hosted by movie stars.

Another leading Indian actor, Anil Kapoor, who played the quiz show host in "Slumdog Millionaire", is to star in the lead role of the Indian version of the American action series "24" that goes to air later this year.

(Editing by Tony Tharakan and Belinda Goldsmith)

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