Mumbai: Baz Luhrmann`s `The Great Gatsby` is Big B`s foray into the West but he is not really looking at it as a gateway to Hollywood.
The film to be directed by Luhrmann is in 3D. Amitabh Bachchan will essay the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, "an iconic character", patterned on Arnold Rothstein - a "very impressive and well-known person of the New York underworld mafia".
"Yes, the film is in 3D and is perhaps a first for many reasons, primarily because it`s the first time that a mainstream drama from Hollywood is being done in 3D as opposed to the usual fantasy films like `Avatar`...," says Bachchan.
Big B has no plans to do more Hollywood films yet.
"No other offers have come my way from Hollywood before and since Baz was very keen I do this, I went ahead. It`s nothing big, just a small appearance," he says.
"Earlier, Mira Nair had come across with `Shantaram`, finalized dates and shared the script etc. But then she withdrew... I do not think you should look at this as a step into Hollywood. It`s just a gesture of friendship," Bachchan says.
In fact, according to a source close to him, Big B is doing the film free of cost for Luhrmann who`s a great fan of his and of Bollywood.
Reluctant to talk about the project, Big B says: "Contractual obligations prevent me from talking to the media, which is why I have not divulged anything. If the studio Warner Bros. gives something out, that is all that I can disclose."
Bachchan does divulge that he and Luhrmann hit it off from the start.
"Baz Luhrmann, last year, was on a private visit to India and dropped by at my office to meet me and presented me some wonderful paintings done by an artist he was accompanied by. It was merely an informal casual meet," Bachchan says.
Then in August this year Luhrmann called him and wondered if he would do a role in "The Great Gatsby".
"He (Luhrmann) asked me, would I do a small part in his film? It`s just a small scene with Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Macguire," Bachchan says.
"I have agreed to do this just as a friendly appearance and went across to Sydney late last month for rehearsals and hair make-up and costume tests. The reading workshop requires the entire cast to assemble and get familiar with the script and do a read through," Bachchan signs off.
Shooting for the film starts mid-October for a couple of days.