Bollywood star waives fee for first Hollywood role

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has said he will act for free in his first Hollywood role in director Baz Luhrmann's new screen adaptation of the classic novel "The Great Gatsby".

The 68-year-old wrote on his blog Sunday that he was making "a mere one scene appearance as a friendly gesture" in the film, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.

Bachchan's character, Meyer Wolfsheim, is a shadowy organised crime figure who helps the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby make his money in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.

The "Big B", as he is known to his millions of devoted fans in India and across the world, said he agreed to take part after Luhrmann - a Bollywood fan - visited India last year.

"He called last month and wondered if I would do this small role in his film and I agreed. It is a gesture. I have refused any remuneration on this too," he wrote on bigb.bigadda.com, in his first comments on the film.

Bachchan visited Australia last month but did not disclose why. On Sunday he revealed that he was in Sydney to take part in a preliminary read-through of the script with the cast, as well as have hair, make-up and costume rehearsals.

"It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of their (Hollywood's) system and to observe with what detail and diligence they work," he added.

Bachchan is considered the elder statesman of Hindi-language cinema and has starred in more than 150 films. He is best known for his roles in the 1970s hits "Sholay" (Sparks), "Deewaar" (Wall) and "Don".

Shooting for "The Great Gatsby" started last week, US studio Warner Bros. Pictures said.

Maguire ("Spider-Man") plays Nick Carraway, the would-be writer and narrator of the novel, who comes to New York from the US Midwest in 1922 to make his fortune.

DiCaprio ("Blood Diamond", "Titanic") plays the lead role of Jay Gatsby, while Mulligan ("An Education") plays his lover and Carraway's cousin, Daisy Buchanan.

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