Fenil and Bollywood

Posts Tagged ‘Indu Mirani

Everyone knows Kangna Ranaut, the accomplished actress of today. Here, she talks of her past and how it has made her the person she is

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 29, 2009)


• What sort of a child were you?

I was very quiet. I used to suck my thumb. Other kids would never play with me and I would be sitting in one corner. There was something very strange about me. I didn’t live in the present. I was always in a dream world. I would be dreaming about the shows that I watched like Aladdin or Snow White and I would want to go to their world. My father would hate that I sucked my thumb, he would slap me and put my finger down and then I would cry.

• Were your parents strict with you?

I was never a naughty child, never troubled my mother. If you ask my parents they will say that I was very quiet, very peaceful and very scared of them. If they asked me to sit somewhere after five hours I would still be there. (laughs)

• Did you lead a very restricted life?

Yeah, I did. I wasn’t allowed to leave home after 6 o’clock so I would always make sure that I would go out late in the night. Then when my parents would say something like, ‘Andhera ho gaya hai, tum late aayi,’ I would just say ‘yes’. Slowly I became a person who wouldn’t listen to anyone. My father would be very upset with the clothes that I would wear. I don’t know what I wanted to prove. Now when I go home, I usually wear a salwaar kameez and wonder, why was I torturing them? (laughs)

A lot of the restriction came from living in a joint family. I remember having the biggest fights with my grandfather and every one’s jaw would just drop. Nobody had the guts to answer back to him and I was only 12 when I started doing so. He is an IAS officer and had lived all his life in Mumbai and for some strange reason he would always say that first all the males of the family would eat and then the females. I didn’t approve of rules like that and would insist on joining the men at the table. He would leave the table. My parents were quite embarrassed because of me.

• When was the first time you fell in love?

I was quite young. He was my English teacher, a very good looking guy and I was just a 13-year-old. That was the time I became aware of my sexuality. We were very comfortable with each other because he had been my teacher since I was eight or nine. But when I was thirteen and he would say, ‘Beta come here..’ or something like that, I would think what’s wrong with him, he doesn’t have to talk this way (laughs aloud). That was a beautiful romance because in my mind I used to romance him and he would be teaching me.

• How does living in a small town (Manali) compare to living in Mumbai?

These are two completely different worlds. This one is completely fake and that one is the real world. In Manali people live with animals. They feed them fodder and clean them too. So much of nature is involved there that you stay balanced. Here you deal with cars, roads, buildings and if you see a beggar, you treat him like a building and you treat a building like a human being. There is no reality here. I see so much of balance there, I see no balance here.

• What were you studying in Delhi?

Basically I went there for my vacations and then I decided to take admission in some college. Then I met a few people there and got into theatre. If you ask me honestly, I cannot recollect that time. I was like an animal, just wandering around. If someone was going to a modelling agency, I too would go with that person. I wasn’t aware of my actions at all which is a very pathetic and shameful way to live but I was living a life like that.

• So coming to Mumbai was also a part of that life?

Yes, my agency Elite sent me to Mumbai. I didn’t ask why I am going to Mumbai or what I will do in Mumbai. I came to Mumbai because I thought everybody came to Mumbai after Delhi. Then one fine day I stopped taking calls from the agency. I stopped going to the auditions. I used to go to town taking trains to give auditions and then within seven days of it all I was fed up. Then I said, ‘Forget it! I am not going to any audition as I don’t get any work.’

• Isn’t it all difficult for a young girl to manage?

It is and that’s what gets you into trouble. How do people get into problems? Actually they are the biggest problems for themselves. I got carried away with the life here, the nightlife, discos and the whole city life.

• You didn’t have any aspirations?

From childhood I would tell my parents and I would become somebody very famous. They used to be very rude to me when I would say this but for me it was always a matter of fact. I knew I was going to be what I wanted to be even if I had no idea what that was.

• And when you were rejected at the auditions, did it  dent in your confidence?

It did. I went through a lot of insecurities. I was leading a very random life for a year before I got Gangster. Before that too, I was supposed to do a few films. I didn’t have any concept of A grade or B grade cinema. I had hardly seen 10 films in my life. So if someone said, come to this audition, we want to sign a film with you, I would sign it. Fortunately for me, those films never took off. My parents would tell me that I would never be anyone and they would say all sort of negative things and I would think maybe they were right. I would think of myself as a loser in every sense, not only professionally but also in my personal life. That would scare me but also it wouldn’t last.

• Is there anything that you hated about yourself and wanted to change?

I hated everything about myself, my life, everything. When I came here, I was very uncomfortable about the clothes that I wore. I used to wear those really cheap clothes, buy them from streets and wear them and I would look so funny. I used to feel funny, not that I looked funny. Those dresses were not appropriate and no one should go out on the streets in them. They were fine for parties but I had no concept of what to wear and when. And I looked like a 16-year-old coming from some village trying to be modern. Not that I was dumb, I was intelligent but it was just so weird that people kept looking at me not very respectfully and I hated being so uncomfortable. If I had been wearing just jeans and a T-shirt, nobody would have noticed me. That was worse because if you are looking for assignments and modelling work and if nobody notices you then it’s terrible. So I was uncomfortable in every way. I never became friendly with anyone. Life was strange without parents, proper food, proper house, nothing at all in place. I hated everything around me and the way I was. I would go on for weeks and weeks without thinking where I was heading. That was a phase I remember and someday I will definitely make a movie on that.

• Was there peer pressure to do things?

I would do whatever others did. It didn’t matter if I liked it or not. It wasn’t peer pressure definitely but because I wanted to be one of them or maybe I wanted to prove that I belonged to this world, I went on like that for years and years. I didn’t hate it at that point of time. If I would have hated it, I would have changed it. But I had no clue what was wrong with my life. It took me two years to realise who I really am. Not that I hated it but I wasn’t happy either.

Were you lonely?

Loneliness was never a problem because whenever I was lonely I would do something that would make me happy. My problem was that I had too many people around me and they never let me be alone. Before I became an actress, I would go for auditions with people, have coffee and come back, normal life, not very different from Delhi. Then after I became an actress, there were designers, ADs, people who roam around the whole day on the sets. They kind of open those doors for you. You get shocked with what is happening around you but you don’t show it. This is how your new life starts and it just takes over.

• You also got into some wrong relationships

Well, when you get into a relationship it’s not wrong at that point of time and I won’t consider anything wrong with them. For me, I have been in two relationships till now, and both have been beautiful in their own way. It was I who was a random soul, and I still am. I still have so many things to learn in life. I am not a perfect person, nobody is perfect. So whatever experience one goes through is because of oneself.

Did you at anytime realise that you were in relationship that you shouldn’t be in?

See, relationships are not that important in my life. I don’t feel any pressure to say that love means everything and blah blah! For me, I don’t think love is something which will make me complete. It’s who I am. I have something to prove and I have a strong urge to do certain things in life. And if I don’t do that, I will be a very unhappy person. I never gave that kind of priority to any relationship. If I would have done that I would have been in a happy relationship and an unhappy career. I am clear about my priorities now. People at times judge me. They say that she says her priority is her career and her ambitions… but that’s ok. I am not ashamed of the fact that it actually is.

Today I am done with dating. Now if I get into a relationship, it will be with a proper plan. Now I would want to be with a man with whom I can see a future and give it more time and energy. If I see a man turning into my husband in the near future then only will I go ahead with a relationship. This is what life or age does to you. You can preserve your innocence but at the same time you cannot deny the fact that you cannot sometimes take another chance with life.

• So that means you are not going to fall wildly in love now because you are first going to look into the husband aspect of it.

Yeah. That’s true actually; otherwise I have always fallen in love first and then seen the right and wrong of it.

• You are too young to reach this decision. At this age people are still having flings.

Yes, if you start little late. But I started too early. (laughs) I started at 16. (laughs loudly)

• Are you still edgy?

That’s a very difficult question because to explain who I was is very difficult even for me. I mean nobody knows who they really are. Right now, I am definitely not the person who I want to be. There is still a lot to achieve but I am also definitely not the person I hated to be. I am okay now, peaceful,  but I want to be a better person in future. I am sure the better part of me is still to come.

Who do you want to be?

I just want to be a person whose very presence makes people smile. I want to have positivity and grace as a woman. When I came here, I was a tomboy. Not even a tomboy, I was something between a guy and a girl. I want to be a nicer human being so that when I look at myself I should feel proud of myself. Right now I don’t feel proud of myself. Earlier I used to feel shit about me. Whatever I said, I did, everything was wrong. I would always say the wrong thing at the right time. Now I don’t do those things which make me hate myself. I don’t beat myself up everyday when I go home. I am peaceful. But I am not even the person who would be so proud of herself.

• Are you ever fake?

Yes, I sometimes say things for the sake of saying things. Like the most common thing that I would say, “How are you?” makes me feel so fake. I prefer to say, “Kaise hain aap?” that makes me realise what I am saying. When I say it, I do really mean, kaise hain aap? So I am watching myself.

• When you were in trouble at any point in your life, have you taken any favours from your friends?

I have never ever taken any favour from anyone in my life. I have never called up any friend to discuss my problems or ask them for solutions. I have really great friends who claim to stand by my side when I am in trouble. I have been in trouble but never had the courage to test them because if my time was already bad, I wouldn’t want one more shock. So I never really tested my friends.

• When you say you never had the courage, you mean you were scared that they would not be by your side?

I don’t know. I never had the courage to discuss my problems with people around. I have always shown the happier side of me and I will continue to do that. It’s not my friend’s duty or concern to help me out with my troubles. I think it’s unfair to do so.

The presence of friends makes me uncomfortable. It distracts me from the situation. It’s the same with my parents. Even in childhood when I was in trouble, I would lock myself up in my room and would not leave my room until I had solved the problem. I have a lot of faith in my strength but parents and friends get so weak and I just think handling them is much more difficult than handling the situation.

• How do you manage to look so different in every film? Is it deliberate?

Honestly, it is. It bores me to death to be the same because for me it’s a character that I have to get into. So I change everything that I can. So I kind of do the fun things so people are shocked but I don’t like myself looking the same all the time.

Sometimes it can be embarrassing. Recently, at the Paa premiere, one of my co-stars was treating me like a fan. It was only when I said, ‘I am Kangna,’ that he realised that it was me. It’s so embarrassing, we work together for 60 days and they don’t recognise me. It has happened with me a lot. When I was in theatre, my guru used to tell me that it is a blessing in disguise. At times he would give me a guy’s role. He said that you have a face which can be moulded into anything. But another thing that really matters is whether my hair is curly or straight. It changes me so much that sometimes I too wonder about the look. It’s very good for a double role though.

Nothing can ever mellow Vidhu Vinod Chopra (53) completely but he is certainly more tolerant and accommodating than ever before. In keeping with his wife’s directive to not praise himself or belittle others, he stays within accepted social barriers all through our chat, restricting all caustic comments and pithy observations for when the mike is switched off

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 05, 2009)


• You don’t have too many friends? Why?
I value friendship. For me friendship is not a loose word. If I call myself a friend, I am ready to give my life and if need be the friend should do the same.That Bambaiya friendship where people call you a friend on your face and as soon as you turn around they call you a bi*** or a swine is not friendship. I told Karan Johar, ‘I want friends like you; I want to throw a party.’ He said, ‘I can make you social,’ he tried and then he gave up.

He told me nicely, ‘You are happy where you are.’ I have only four friends now, I started with two. Rakesh Maria, Rajesh Parekh (and Firoza Parekh) and slowly I acquired the third friend, Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, but now, I am not sure, I am perhaps acquiring a fourth, which is Aamir. So my house is full now. I mean if I have four friends in this city, I am the luckiest. I now get invited to social dos. We get wedding invitations, we get party invitations. We are invited to places we have never been invited to before.

What do you expect the audience will take away from 3 Idiots?
I could be wrong, but I personally believe that 3 Idiots is a step ahead of Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The other day there was a story in the paper of a kid who had jumped off the 19th floor when her mother was in another room and I told my wife that if this kid had seen 3 Idiots, she wouldn’t have jumped. I genuinely feel that if I had released this film a month ago, I could have saved that one life. I think 3 Idiots will save lives.

• Between Aamir Khan, you and Raju Hirani, if there is a clash of opinion, who wins?
We are very clear about this. Raju is head of creatives. At the moment, Aamir is head of marketing. There is no clash. But as head of the family I believe I have a veto and if I really want to use it, I can. I think the three of us are really the perfect 3 Idiots. I had heard horror stories about Aamir and he had heard the same about me but Aamir is the most unbelievable guy I have met in my life unless I am a fool, and he is performing all the time.  I have only nice things to say about Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan but Aamir is something else. His level of commitment, his level of dedication, his level of affection, his level of seeking excellence is exceptional.

• Have you forgiven Shah Rukh Khan for trying to woo away Raju Hirani?
Oh totally. I called him yesterday to invite him for my premiere and we chatted for half an hour. Life is too short for all this s**t! Khalil Gibran has said, ‘I use hate as a weapon to defend myself.’ To me hate and love are both very strong emotions. I love my wife and if I have the same degree of negative feeling for anybody, then I am giving that person the same importance as I am giving to the woman I love the most in my life. How ridiculous is that?


• You famously said your films reflect the mood you are in. Given the comedies your production house is bringing out like the Munnabhai series, do we conclude you are in a good mood?
Yes, I am in a very happy mood. I sing songs all the time. I think life is really kind to me and I am just very grateful. My little daughter writes poetry which I don’t understand and my son plays cricket with Sachin Tendulkar’s son. God has given me a movie like 3 Idiots, friends and two families, one in cinema and the other at home. I came to this city to make one Hindi movie. If I had died after making one feature film after coming from the village that I came from, I would have died happily.

• Are there any actors you can’t conceive of working with for any reason?
The list is long but to tell you honestly it isn’t about individual actors. It is about attitude. I will not work with actors who have the wrong attitude at this given moment. On the other hand if there is an attitude change, I would willingly work with them.

• What is delaying Munna Bhai Chale Amrika?
If after Lage Raho Munna Bhai we had churned out a Munna Bhai film a year, it would have made Rs 200-250 crores and even if they had been s**t, people would go and see them. But we didn’t and won’t till we are happy with the script. Now we are happy with what we have written and so hopefully we will do it next year.

• Is it tougher to write an original screenplay or adapt a book?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t read Five Point Someone on which 3 Idiots is based. The only person in the team who read it was Raju. But I believe our film is very different. Having said that, the starting point was Raju reading the book.

• If you were given the choice to remake a film with the intention of improving it, which film would that be?
Ram Aur Shyam with Aamir Khan. I love that film and now that I am an admirer of Aamir, I would love to make that film with him. I don’t think he can do it better than Dilip Kumar, who was absolutely superb, but it would be a challenge for Aamir and me.

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 04, 2009)


Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year star Ranbir Kapoor, director Shimit Amin and writer Jaideep Sahni get together to answer a rapid fire round related to sales and marketing.

Before Indu Mirani and Namrata Bhawnani test their sales IQ, they emphatically state that Ranbir’s role of a Sardar is not an ‘item’ in the film and it is not because playing a Sardar is the in thing. Ranbir adds that though the year has been exceptionally kind to him, this is the one film he is really proud of.

l-r: Jaideep Sahni, Ranbir Kapoor and Shimit Amin
(pic: rana chakraborty)


Name one person who has the best assets

Ranbir- Yash Chopra and Adi Chopra have YRF which is the best asset. It’s a great endeavour, great body of work.

Jaideep- I can’t really judge.

Shimit- Actually I am pretty much clueless about these things.

One person who has the best marketing skills

Ranbir- Shah Rukh Khan

Jaideep- ummmm… yeah pretty much, Shah Rukh Khan

Shimit- Shah Rukh Khan

One person in the industry who needs marketing tips

Ranbir- Shimit (laughs)

Jaideep- Shimit

Shimit- Yeah, me I guess. (All three laugh)

One of the best marketed films in recent times?

Ranbir- Rocket Singh- Salesman of the year

Jaideep- I think Ghajini and Om Shanti Om

Shimit- Paranormal

One of the worst marketed films in recent times?

Ranbir- Can I also say Rocket Singh – Salesman of the year (laughs)

Jaideep- Yeah, Rocket Singh – Salesman of the year

Shimit- Rocket Singh – Salesman of the year (laughs)

A sales tip to convince the ladies

Ranbir- I don’t think you need sales tips to make it work with the ladies. It’s basically about howmuch of your honesty comes through when you sell the product. You woo a woman with honesty and truth.

Jaideep- More empathy, less smartness.

Shimit- No clue.

One line to describe your USP

Ranbir- I really really love the movies and I love the fact that I am a part of the industry.

Jaideep- I guess I want to learn.

Shimit- Love working with people who are more talented than I am.

One partnership that sells really well

Ranbir- Shimit and Jaideep

Jaideep- Salim Javed

Shimit- Salim Javed works really well for me.

One defective piece in the industry

Ranbir- I don’t mean to belittle anyone but I think it’s sometimes the stories in a film. Sometimes they take the audience for granted. When I go to a film, I expect something. When that is missing it is a big defect.

Jaideep- I think investment in writing and writers. That’s coming from the same thing that Ranbir pointed out.

Shimit- Yeah, I think writing.

One person who deserves to be returned to the shelf

Ranbir- That’s really mean. No one should be returned to the shelf especially in the field of art. Age has nothing to do with it. It depends upon the timing and the kind of work one is doing. Depends upon the kind of opportunities one gets. So I don’t think anyone is defective. It’s the work  they did that was defective but they as artistes are not defective.

Jaideep- I agree. I think artistes are not defective. Actually if you trace back opportunities they get or circumstances they are in that is what is defective. No artiste deserves to be put on the shelf.

Shimit- I think this whole system of rating actors is a little inhumane. People have their times and we all know that.

Aamir Khan may be the most powerful man in Bollywood today giving successive hits as actor, producer and director but his eyes still gleam with unexpected animation as he sits down to do an interview. Here he is, candid and uncut

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 20, 2009)


• In 3 Idiots you play a guy from 20 to 24 years, while you are actually 44. How old are you in your head?

I still imagine myself to be 18 or 22. The other day I was at the birthday of someone who I had always thought of as older than me in my head, an uncle type person. I asked him, how old he was that day and he said 30 and I got a shock because suddenly I realised that I was 14 years older than him. I am, of course, 44, which is middle-aged, but somewhere in my head I am lost in the 18-20 age group.

 

• Did that help you play this character?

No. But given that it is necessary to get into the head of a character when you are jumping age lines, it gets more challenging. Jumping age lines, jumping accents, or jumping sexes like my playing a woman is always tough. I had actually told Raju to take someone younger but he insisted he could see me in the role. He said, “In real life, you are so close to Rancho, (the character that I am playing) I feel if you are saying what Rancho is saying people will believe it. What Rancho says is the philosophy of the film and I need someone who people will believe in.”

• You exude a lot of confidence on screen. Are you really a very confident person inside?

I think I am average, in the sense that most people are confident to a certain degree, people go through self doubt. I too go through self doubt. I am given to thinking, “Am I doing the right thing?” I only do things that I enjoy, that’s my first rule. I must be happy in what I am doing. If I am not happy doing an ad, I won’t do it. I don’t do it for commercial reasons. Yes of course I am earning money while I am doing it, but that’s not the core reason for doing it. This ultimately shows in my work, otherwise I am as confident or diffident as the next man. I also need reassurance like everyone else. I also need people to say “I liked your film”.

• When you were directing yourself in Taare Zameen Par was there anything about you as an actor that disturbed you as a director?

I have to say no. The actor and director in me saw eye to eye. Yes, when I see the film today, there are moments where I feel the scene could have been pitched differently. But that is in retrospect. That’s the corrective process in me when I am watching any of my work.

• In hindsight which of your successful films needed the most correction?






One of them would be Fanaa, the other would be Ishq, both highly successful films. In the first half of Fanaa, the character was pitched too filmy. I would have pitched him slightly different. In fact, Kunal (Kohli) and I had a long discussion about it. I would have made the character more real and more layered because as human beings we don’t have a singular emotion. When I am playing a character my attempt is that it should not be single dimensional, it should be layered. Ishq again had a lot of broad strokes and it’s also a very successful film.

• As a director do you have an actor wish list?

I am not sure whether I am thinking as a director right now. I think at heart I am still an actor. Of course now that I have taken the first step and directed one film, I am more open to listening to stories. Actually I have a very strange answer. While I am not in the mood of a director just now the opposite is also true. I think like a filmmaker. Coming back to your question, my wish list would really depend upon what the script is. So my casting would really be based on who can best play a certain part and who will suit the role. Each and every person connected to the film should feel that he is in love with it.

• Does success isolate you?

Success can be extremely isolating. And often, for multiple reasons. When you are successful, a celebrity, especially an actor, your stardom is like a magnet. It’s like the sun. (In fact, I wonder who coined this term ‘star’. Because every star is actually a sun). Because you are a star, every one is attracted to you for different reasons, some valid, some invalid. Some honourable, some not so honourable. But, as a human being our bandwidth is limited. So often what happens is that we need to shut off. It is humanly impossible to deal with so many things.

Have you noticed that stars, never make eye-contact when they are out in public. The moment you make eye-contact, you have to engage. And it’s not that we don’t like engaging. I love engaging with people. But I get tired. How many people can I engage with? That’s the nature of the beast. That’s the nature of my profession.

You have been reportedly meeting people you met on social networking sites. Does engaging with them help you perform in some way?

Now people know that it’s me on the blog, but there was a time when they didn’t. The idea behind it was to interact with strangers. Because the minute a person knows who I am, he reacts to me in a particular way. He may or may not share certain ideas with me. Or the attitude of sharing will change. The fiber of the communication will change. But if the person doesn’t know who I am, which the Internet allows, then he’s freer. That was the kind of interaction I valued a lot. There were a few people who I found to be particularly engaging. Or unusual. And those were the few people to whom I revealed who I am.

If I felt that I had a certain rapport with someone, then I no longer felt comfortable hiding, or lying about who I am. If I have reached a level of engagement of this kind, I need to tell the person who I am. So then it happened that I took three-four people into confidence.

• Since you have just completed 3 Idiots with Raju Hirani, the director of the Munnabhai series, tell me an instant recall of a Munnabhai moment?

I would say jaadu ki jhappi. That’s my big recall moment from Munnabhai. Both, Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai are my favourite films in the last five-seven odd years. They are great wholesome entertainment, which connect with you on a human level. Really connect with you on a human level.

Going back to one of your earlier questions, one of the key reasons for me doing this film, despite the fact that I am double the age of the character is Raju. I was so keen to work with Raju and I could see that Raju was excited about casting me in the film. Iske saath mereko film karne hain yaar. Agar isko lagta hain main bees saal ka ho jaata hoon toh main ho jaata hoon. Kyunki ye itna kamaal ka director hai, iske saath mereko kaam karna hain yaar.

Over the years all my professional decisions have been absurd. Its absolutely right for someone to tell me – ke tu 42 ka hain aur tu 22 ka character play kar raha hain. It may be an idiotic decision but all my decisions are idiotic. 3 idiots ka idiotic decision.

When I told anyone that I was making a film on dyslexia, they said I was mad.

When I signed Rang De Basanti, usse pehle Bhagat Singh aur Azad Singh par char filmey aa chuki thi. It was a crazy decision. My sister called me up in the evening and asked, “What are you doing?” I told her I signed a film, it’s the fifth remake of Bhagat Singh.She started laughing. She said abhi flop hui hain chauthi, aur tum paanchvi karoge. It was a bizarre decision.

Lagaan is another example. Today it is known as successful film but at that time it was a disastrous decision. None of my decisions have been practical.

How easy or difficult it is to forgive past mistakes?

Earlier, I was much more unforgiving as a person; not only towards others but also towards myself. I was extremely unforgiving of my own mistakes. In the past four or five years, I have undergone a change as a human being. I have become more forgiving of myself and others. I see it as a very positive change in myself. One of the powerful things in the world is the power of forgiveness. Its what Jesus Christ and other great philosophers have said.

Also, forgiveness comes with the genuineness of the person’s intentions. If someone has done something to hurt me and then comes and says, “Sorry Aamir”, but does not feel it, then forgiveness does not come into the picture. But if a person genuinely feels ki usse galti hui hai, then you should forgive him. It’s the same for yourself, if you realise that you’ve done some wrong, you should forgive yourself. It’s one of the most healing things.

Today we have become very unforgiving people. It may be an ethnic problem, or a community’s problem or a country’s, or in your relationships, with your wife, children, parents, we get very very unforgiving and we hold that against them. We wear it as a badge which says ‘main tujhe kabhi maaf nahi karoonga’.

I used to be like this.

Like two peas in a pod

Sometime ago we had asked Imran Khan to rate himself and Aamir on a scale of 1 to 10, according to a few parameters…

Aamir rates Imran according to the same parameters…

 

Good looks

Aamir - I won’t rate myself as I don’t like it. Imran is exceedingly good looking. I’d give him a 9.
Imran - I would put us both at a 7 at this point just because of how young and great he is looking

Patience

Aamir on Imran-
8 or 9
Imran - Aamir is a 10 and I am 9.5. We are both tremendously patient people. Again because I’m younger, I’m that 0.5 percent less patient but I am the supremely patient being that you’ll meet

Quest for perfection

Aamir on Imran- He is extremely committed so 8
Imran - Aamir is a 10, I’m probably an 8

Spontaneity

Aamir on Imran- 8
Imran - Aamir is 6, I’m a 7

Acting talent

Aamir on Imran - 6. He is good but he has a long way to go.
Imran - I put myself at a 6, I put him at a 10. I so honestly think he is the best actor in the country today

Communication skills

Aamir on Imran - 4
Imran - Mine aren’t too good. I’m not good at all, so 5 for me and him I don’t know, maybe a 7. Yeah he is better than me.

Charm

Aamir on Imran - 8
Imran - I am more charming than he is definitely; he is not a charming person. He is 5. I’m an 8.

Tendency to lose temper

Aamir - We lose our temper, but we can handle it. We don’t react. So, I would give him a 2.
Imran - One and one

Fidelity to spouse or girlfriend

Aamir - He is scoring a 100 on that one right now. So 10.
Imran - That’s a 10 for both. We are both very staid, solid guys.

3 Idiots

Presenting the dichotomy kid… Ranbir kapoor

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 05, 2009)

 

How much of the real Ranbir do we know?

 

Probably 30 per cent. And that too from the films I do because it’s only then that I actually give something of myself to the character. But when I am doing interviews, there is a certain amount of a façade. If you are an introvert or shy like me, you need to exude some confidence, some belief in what you are doing. But honestly, I am scared. I am not that confident an actor to believe and think that everything I do will be a success.

I believe, the remaining 70 per cent will eventually come through when I reach a point where I can really surrender to a character. I hope that role turns up some day. As I keep saying, I am very ambitious. I have lots of directors to work with, lots of roles to play. I hope to be a working actor everyday of my life, to be able to go on a set. I really don’t know what to do with my time when I am not on set.

// When you are not on your Segway that is…

(laughs) I do that every night. It’s my way of letting go. I know it sounds weird and stupid but it’s kind of spiritual. I do it at 2-2.30 in the night. The roads are empty, the weather is great and you just drive through.

A girl who has worked with you, describes you as a mixture of the three Khans. A bad boy like Salman, charmer like Shah Rukh and focused like Aamir.

That girl might be drunk or on some drug because I am not even close to any of these characteristics. The three Khans are living legends for me. Even using my name in the same sentence as theirs is an insult to them.

So you are saying that you are not a bad boy, charming or focused?

(blushing wildly) Actually I am. But I guess to a much milder degree.

So what is your charm?

I am just a happy person, I like talking to people who interest me. You just have to listen to people, I guess that’s what charm is. It’s not about corny lines, it’s not about the looks that you give somebody. It’s only about the attitude to and the conversations that you have with somebody.

Which Kapoor do you resemble as an actor?

As an actor, nobody. My grandfather, Raj Kapoor, was a stylised actor. I have always preferred him more as a director than an actor. Of course, though he was an amazing actor, his directorial abilities blew me away. Shammi Kapoor again had his own style. Shashi Kapoor had his own style. My father has always been a natural actor. So thankfully, I was never compared because you cannot compare natural acting. I would like to believe I have my own style and I am a natural too. I have my own good and bad qualities and I hope it remains like this. I anyway have the baggage of a lineage. If my acting reminded people of actors who they have worshipped earlier, I don’t think anybody would want to see me at all.

But you do want to direct at some point of time?

Yes, I do but it’s an immature dream. It is something I aspire to do one day. I am extremely passionate about movies, but right now I need to solidify my career as an actor. I need some bonafide blockbusters, I need people to have faith in me so that banks can give me money to make movies.

For a 27-year-old boy, you keep an extremely neat room. How come?

I am basically neat. I don’t like chaos, I can’t work like that. I like silence, I like loneliness. I like everything which is soft. I think because of my docile nature, it reflects in the environment I live in.

Even in your work?

Yes, of course, it just causes less confusion. But where my acting process is concerned, I am not bothered. I could be doing a scene in front of ten thousand people on the road, they could be loud and passing remarks, but it wouldn’t affect me. But I guess when the camera is rolling, you just change as a person.

Do you seek characters that are different from you as a person?

Not at all. An actor can only wish that these roles come to him. You can’t seek them. If I am not excited by a character, I can say no, irrespective of who the director or production house is. I need to connect with the characters I am playing.

One hears you were often beaten up by the principal in school?

My principal used to beat me up because I was very naughty in school. I used to do things which I should not have done as a student. I didn’t do it because I was somebody’s son. It was pure masti.

You were shy and naughty? That’s a strange combination.

I think I am just a confused soul. Confused, complicated and a bit complex. I am often told that. I think I am an amalgamation of everything.

And docile too?

That’s what I believe and that’s what my mother believes. I am just a calm soul.

Have you ever rebelled?

Not majorly, but I do believe that I have a rebel in me. I really don’t like to be told what to do.

You are most written about for your affairs…

It really hurts me that my affairs are being written about. I am suddenly acquiring this new image. It is not me. I have been in very few relationships in my life. Few have worked, few haven’t. And I am extremely sad about the ones which haven’t worked. I am not this lover boy, people think I am. The character I did in Bachna Ae Haseeno is not me. I am quite a romantic at heart, but at the same time, being in a relationship or being with a girl is not my priority. I do believe there are great things in store for me. I need to believe that if I need to move ahead. Women are lovely. I love and respect them, but that’s not my true calling in life. My true calling is cinema and acting.

Five films I can see again and againnd again:

1. Shree 420

2. Kaagaz Ke Phool

3. Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

4. Sanjay Bhansali’s Devdas

5. Andaaz Apna Apna

Six books that I can read again:

1. Songs That My Mother taught me by Marlon Brando

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

3. Dreams from My Father – A story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama

4. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

5. Ingrid Bergman’s autobiography

6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is cinematic in its writing. I could actually smell the kebabs in Afghanistan.

Six people whose lives I want to see chronicled in pictures:

1. Charlie Chaplin

2. Raj Kapoor

3. Michael Jackson

4. Amitabh Bachchan

5. Sachin Tendulkar

6. Lata Mangeshkar

Five songs always on my Ipod:

I can think of just one… Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar

//

Ritesh Deshmukh has worked his way up slowly from a five-hero film, to four, three, two and now as a solo hero. He has impressed everyone with his comic timing and hopes to continue to do so with a fantasy (Aladin), a serious film (Rann) and a romance (Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai)

By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; October 29, 2009)

What gives you a high? When a family member wins an election or when you have a film doing well?

Undoubtedly, when a family member wins an election. That’s because much more is at stake in politics and it’s a once-in-a-five-year event. As an actor, you get three to four chances a year, but in politics you have to wait for five years for another chance.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?

 

If I have a lamp that Amitabh Bachchan comes out of as a genie, I don’t think I want anything else. That itself is worth three wishes.

 

Will you ever play a woman again as you so successfully did in Apna Sapna…

It was very difficult playing a woman but if I got a lot of time to work on it, I would like to play it differently. I would really like to do it the way Hollywood does it, with prosthetics. If the script demands it, then I would push the envelope. The last time it was just about waxing and threading, this time I would do it better.

Your successes have largely been as a comic actor. Did you find comedy or did comedy find you?

What happened is that a few comedies that I did worked and then only comedies came my way. But, after doing comedies I have become funny in real life too. I’ve enjoyed doing them. And it’s even more enjoyable when people like your work. It’s like a pat on the back. But then there’s also a fear of overdoing it and it’s important to realise when you’ve crossed the line. When I read a comic script, I know that these are the scenes where I am supposed to ham and so I see to it that in a scene before and a scene after I underplay it.

What do you mean when you say that after doing comedies, you have become funny in real life?

Actually, the basic core of me is very shy, because that’s how I’ve been brought up. I was so shy, I didn’t speak to a single girl all through my school days. So at birthday parties at home, there would be only boys. We’re only three brothers. So the thought of a girl coming home was very odd. No one ever told us, it was all in our head. In college, I used to like this girl and I never had the courage to go up to her and tell her that I liked her. And by the time I decided to do that, she had already started seeing someone else. But I was just happy with the idea of being in love with her.

When I went to architecture college, probably because there were 28 women and 16 boys, and a lot of group projects, I really opened up as a person. I was funny in bits but I didn’t have the courage to just go up on stage and say something funny. But when you become an actor, you become shameless. And to be a good actor, you need to be very shameless. You really need to do anything and everything. That shattered all my inhibitions.

To have come from there and worked in so many comedies, I now know exactly how comedies work. I know exactly when to put in a punchline, which words to stress to make people laugh. And I think that eventually helped me in my personal life.

Do you feel like an outsider in the film industry?

For the first two years, I didn’t feel like a part of the industry in my own head. I had not achieved anything. It was not about how people reacted to me. It was about my own achievements. It was only after Masti was successful, Kya Kool Hai Hum and Bluffmaster worked and just before Heyy Babyy, Dhammal, and Apna Sapna Money Money, that I felt that I was a decent actor and could find my foothold in the industry. Then I stopped feeling like an outsider.

You’ve always been a big fan of SRK. If offered, which of his films would you do for free?

I would do a film for free, if he were in the film. I really don’t care what films he’s done because those films are not special without SRK. If I were to do those films, they wouldn’t be that great.

Is Genelia the woman in your life?

Not again! I am single. I am not seeing Genelia. We go back seven years, ever since we started working together. I’m glad to have a great friendship with her, she’s a wonderful person. The sad part is that sometimes you start pulling back from a friendship because people are talking. But as an actor, you learn to live with it.

Are you looking for love?

I am not exactly looking for love. Love is something that everyone wants, everyone needs, and love is most welcome. But it’s not necessary that if I find love, I’ll talk about it. I see couples out there holding hands, and it’s really great. Many-a-times, I wish I had that courage.

Raju Hirani aka the creator of Munnabhai is not a wildly funny man though he is given to fairly frequent bouts of laughter. At the moment, he is completely immersed in the editing of 3 Idiots; while doing so he enters that world and actually forgets the real world, he says. We drag him back to answer some questions
By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 09, 2009)
Say something Munnabhaiesque

No tension. Apun hai na. (laughs)When making Lage Raho Munnabhai did the success of Munnabhai MBBS put any pressure on you and is a similar pressure delaying the next in the Munnabhai series?

An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at 3 Idiots, which is one of the most awaited films of the year. Director Raju Hirani has a discussion with Aamir Khan and Madhavan on the sets of the film


It’s actually how you look at it. I have never looked at it as pressure from any quarter. If at all, it’s me who keeps pressurising me and that bogs me down. I actually work too hard on my scripts. I keep asking myself, “Is it good enough?” I’m not usually worried about what somebody else is going to say. You need to feel very happy about what you are doing. If you are not happy, then there is pressure.

We (Vinod Chopra and me) are not trying to cash in on the success of the two Munnabhai films. If we were doing that then we would make one Munnabhai every year. We would have Munnabhai cartoons, comics and animation. We could actually milk the brand in that sense. The reason for not actually making another one is because I am working on the script and I am not happy with the final script which is also what happened with Lage Raho Munnabhai. I took so many years to make it because I wasn’t too happy with it.

You have to strive to think of a unique idea and sometimes, for that, you have to keep waiting till it strikes you. With Munnabhai Chale Amrika, I have reached a stage where I have found a completely unique idea. It is not a ‘fish out of water’ situation in which two characters go from this world to that world. That’s done to death. It’s not as simplistic as that. It’s much funnier and much deeper.

How does a comic scene evolve?

It’s not about evolving a comic scene or a dramatic scene. You just do whatever the story needs. I work with Abhijat Joshi and we completely go by the gut feel of the scene. If it is a comic scene and when I am narrating, we look into each other’s eyes and if it makes us laugh, then that is a scene that is working. And when it is an emotional scene, our eyes get wet. So it’s completely from within, rather than structuring it, or trying to manipulate it.

You have worked with an intelligent actor like Aamir Khan (3 Idiots) and a less structured actor like Sanjay Dutt. How is your approach different with actors?

Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) is completely an instinctive actor. If I ask him for a rehearsal, he will look into my eyes and say “What? You want to rehearse one month in advance?” which is completely impossible. And I know if I make him do that, he will come prepared and will fail miserably. But if I ask him to do something impromptu, he does it the way you want it. If I think it’s not right, then he will instinctively do it another way. Then there is Boman Irani, who, if I don’t rehearse with, will die on the sets. So he has to be prepared a month in advance. Like when he was playing Lucky Singh, I had to take him to meet some Sardarjis, he had to sit with them, he had to drink with them, he had to observe them, video shoot them. Arshad was completely given the lines, he got the gist and modified them. If I tell him to follow the lines as given, he will not be able to do so. So with every actor, you have to realise his strength and utilise it. Like Aamir loves to get involved with the script, he analyses the script, he prepares a lot. There is a completely different joy in working with Aamir.

But that’s the job of a director. When you work with Boman, as you enter the set, you have to go to his van and hold his hand and talk to him for 10-15 minutes every day, otherwise he feels neglected. I may not do the same with Aamir. I know he has rehearsed and understood the script and he will come on the sets and perform. Actually direction is also about human resource management.

What happens when there are three very individualistic people like you, Vinod Chopra (as producer) and Aamir Khan involved with a film. Do sparks fly?

It works like magic. Vinod is a great producer. He takes care of a lot of the producer’s problems, so that’s an area I don’t have to worry about. Actually, in the last two films I used to get involved in the production too. This time, I am running out of time, I am locked up here editing while he is taking care of marketing, and distribution. Aamir says he is good at marketing, and somebody else is good at distribution, so everybody is doing their defined roles.

How true are you keeping 3 Idiots to the book by Chetan Bhagat Five Point Someone?

3 Idiots is inspired from the book but it is completely different. I would say just five per cent of it is the same. Books and films are different. So the moment you decide to pick up a book and make a film as it is, it will be a disaster. It’s a nice book, but it’s anecdotal and films can’t be anecdotal. It has to have a story. The reason I mention this is because people should not go to the theatre thinking, we are going to watch Five Point Someone and later find out that it’s a completely different film.

When you get stuck with your writing, what do you reference for inspiration?

I actually don’t go back to films or even books as reference points. If we get stuck when writing, we keep prodding at it and don’t move ahead. Abhijat and I do very stupid things if we get stuck at something. We move out of the house for a walk and tell ourselves that we won’t return till we get a solution. There have been times when we haven’t returned till five in the morning and 99 per cent of the time, we have cracked it. We could be sitting at Bandstand at 4am and are just about to go back, suddenly one of us will say, “Lets try for three more minutes” and in those three minutes we will generally get a spark of an idea. We actually work for 16-18 hours everyday on the script. Abhijat stays in the US, I work through the day and send him an email. He works through the night and sends me an email. We completely work like maniacs. We do stupid things. Like once we stopped at a signal thinking over a scene and we didn’t realise that we had stopped there for 20 minutes. Mostly we pick up stories from our life.


Raju Hirani’s favourite five films

Raju Hirani

1) Pyaasa. It’s one of Guru Dutt’s finest works.

2) Anand for the kind of story that it is – a dying man still trying to live a great life.

3) One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is one of my favourite films. I love stories where you fight against the system for your rights. That’s what came through in Munnabhai too.

4) Amol Palekar’s Golmaal. It’s a funny film. The whole idea of making a film revolving around a moustache is a unique idea.

5) Lagaan again for its unique idea. For me Lagaan fits the bill of, theoretically speaking, a perfect script.

Sharmila Tagore has just done her first Marathi film Samantar, opposite Amol Palekar. She talks about her occasional foray into acting and lists her most memorable roles
By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; September 01, 2009)
What tempts you to do a film?

When I got married way back in 1968, my decision was to cut down on films but never give up. The very act of getting married means that you are not alone, you are taking on a family. In those days it could take two-three years to make a film. Now, we work on one film at a time, which is the ideal way to work. That’s how regional films are made.

I am turned on by a good script and a good role and I don’t judge a good role by its length. When you start doing character roles, it gives you a liberating feeling because you are no longer victim to looking good and you can then freely be the character.

I would love to do those characters with today’s directors like Vishal Bharadwaj or Raju Hirani. Imtiaz Ali obviously makes films about two young people in love but if he ever has a role for elderly people I would love to do it.Samantar offered all this?

In Samantar, although my character, Shama, is a recluse, she doesn’t go by social compulsions but by natural compulsions which is about being herself. Being herself means gardening, being close to nature, she creates beautiful pottery, she plays the violin. But in the company of people she isn’t herself. I chose this role because it is not a very verbose character so there is minimal dialogue except that I do have a three-page soliloquy.

Amol is a very sensitive director, and there is beautiful camera work, beautiful locations, and very competent and talented actors who play the smaller supporting characters. We shot at this place called Kalna which even the Bengali directors haven’t discovered. It’s a place of archeological importance. It’s a terracotta Shiv temple dating back 300 years, it has 108 Shivlings white and black.

The music by Anand Modak is excellent, Shomit’s lyrics are excellent.

Sharmila in Samantar

Why did it take you so long to take on a Marathi film?

Because nobody asked me so far. Amol was the first one who came with a Marathi proposal. I have been seeing Shashikalaji’s performances, Dr Mohan Agashe is a dear friend and I have always had the highest regard for Marathi actors because like in Bengal, they are all very good actors. If we can see Iranian films and Chinese films, why can’t we see our own regional films?

Doesn’t every language have its own meter and isn’t it difficult to adjust?

Bengali and Marathi have the same meter. Pauses, breaks and emphasis are the same. It’s just that some alphabets are pronounced differently.

So, is your character alone or lonely?

She chooses to be alone, but is not lonely. Like I said, she does not follow social compulsions. She is alright with herself, true to her own being and to her nature.

When you are alone, not enjoying yourself, are resentful and wanting company and when you don’t get company you feel deprived, that is being lonely. I would take loneliness in a negative sense. Somewhere in our souls we are all alone. To be alone I think is wonderful, that is when you can introspect, grow or evolve and that is a very positive thing. To be alone and doing your own thing, listening to music, exercising, looking at a beautiful flower, swimming in the sea or walking alone in the hills, it’s a wonderful healing process. When you are doing yoga you aren’t doing it to impress anybody, you are doing it for yourself. That is a healing and growing process. That is the difference between loneliness and being alone.

Which three Hindi films would you list as most memorable?

I would say Safar with Asit Sen, Dooriyan with Bhimsain and Mausam. Safar and Dooriyan were the two films where I follow an individual goal as a woman. Usually all women put the family before and sacrifice for them. These two women want to follow their careers and are therefore misunderstood. Indian films should have professional women because the moment you become a working woman, you are  a negative character, you are the cause of divorce. Children should feel, ‘I have a working mother’ and look at it with added value as opposed to that she is working woman, she must be neglecting her children.

The change is happening…

It needs to change more. Look at the disparity between the hero’s salary and the heroine’s.

What did you think of Saif in the Kal part of Love Aaj Kal?

It’s written very well, and Saif is very good, specially in the Kal part. Whatever he does, pulls his shirt in front, the earnestness, he does it very well. He is one of those very spontaneous actors. When he interacts with others, the screen looks good, not that he outsmarts the others. He doesn’t interact with his audience, he interacts with his co-stars. Therefore his scenes are very real and I think he is becoming a wonderful actor.

You are set to have a celebrity daughter-in-law soon ( Kareena Kapoor). How will it affect family dynamics?

I don’t think it changes anything. She also comes from a film background and we come from various fields. One extra person comes in and things change, but it’s for the better. You have to grow, everything grows.

Salman Khan says SRK was a different man when they were both beginners. His insecurity has grown in proportion to his fame
By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 27, 2009)

Shah Rukh Khan                                            Salman Khan

Salman Khan rarely weighs what he speaks, which, on one hand is an endearing trait but on the other hand gets him into trouble all the time. Not that he particularly cares either way.

In a role reversal of sorts on Tuesday, Salman grilled me and a couple of other journalists for Bollywood Face-Off, a show that will be shown exclusively on Zoom TV soon, and among the many things he spoke about was Shah Rukh Khan.

Salman observed, “What Shah Rukh does or says is not of the least interest to me but he is one of the most insecure actors. If he could get rid of that he would actually be a nice fellow. When we were all starting out in our careers, and were in the Rs 4 to 5 lakh bracket, we were friends. As we became more and more famous, he grew more insecure.”

Earlier, on the show he blamed the media for the quick turnover of girlfriends some actors have (read himself). “Two people may have just begun dating, they need time to know one another, to understand one another and you people start writing that they are in a relationship. That puts an awful amount of pressure on them and they are almost forced to get into a relationship,” he ranted.

Then he added, “When they find they are not terribly compatible and don’t want to take the relationship further, you people say, he is changing girlfriends all the time.” Huh?

When asked how he was uniformly cordial with his visitors on the television show he does for another channel, responding smilingly to intrusive questions about girlfriends and marriage while the same from a media person would elicit nothing but a growl, he explained, “The difference is intention. They are being nice, you people want to corner me and get me to say something provocative.”

Really Salman, and we thought that you did that without any prompting.

Abhishek Bachchan (33) was replaced in films, thrown out of some and suffered the ignonimity of having his films stalled. But he is a survivor. He talks about his journey candidly
By Indu Mirani (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 26, 2009)
When did you first become aware that you were Amitabh Bachchan’s son?

From as early as I can remember because for us at home it was never like, “I am Amitabh Bachchan’s son”. He was always ‘Pa’ for us. That’s something my mother always made sure of. I was never led to believe that I was the son of this great actor and so I was special.
Did you ever resent being Amitabh Bachchan’s son?

Never never… and I don’t think that will ever happen because I thank god everyday that I have been born into the family that I am born into and that I have the loving parents I have.

Did you ever want to be anything other than an actor?

As a child you have different ambitions everyday. I was no different. But amongst those ambitions, I also wanted to be an actor and acting is the one that stayed with me. As a kid I wanted to be a fireman, astronaut, race car driver, business tycoon. As a kid you are forever dreaming and then I realised that here is a job in which you can be everything at the same time.

What about acting comes easily to you?

I don’t know what comes most easily to me. Maybe just the acceptance of the environment because this is the world I grew up in, this is the world I know.

And what is difficult?

There are certain scenes and emotions that are difficult to tackle. But that is how it should be, you shouldn’t do an easy job.

How do you overcome such moments?

At that moment, it’s sheer desperation. You come up against a road block and you do whatever it takes to overcome it. You dig deep and pull out all the stops, just go for it.

Do you find yourself referencing your dad?

With an actor of his caliber, he is a standard, a reference point for every actor.

Did you ever watch any Rajesh Khanna films?

No, I never really saw his films. As a kid I always saw dad’s films.

In retrospect, how do you react to the flak your wedding invitee list got?

What flak? That was created by the media. I was switched off it. It was my once-in-a-lifetime wedding. I didn’t want anything to alter what I felt at that time period of time. I had no idea what was going on outside my gates. For me I was going to get married to the person I loved and that was going to be my favourite memory. I don’t pay heed to these kinds of things. Do I make a big deal about the invitation list? No. I don’t expect to be invited anywhere and I don’t think anybody said, ‘Oh, I should have been invited.’ Nobody said that to me. If they have a problem they come and talk to me and I will tell them the reasons behind it. The people invited were just very close friends and family. People tend to forget I had an ailing grandmother in the hospital and it was a conscious decision on the part of the family to keep the celebrations to a minimum. I would have loved to call the entire film fraternity. Yes this is where I work, these are my people. Could I? No, and I think people should respect that and if they don’t, then, it’s their problem.

How did you deal with the 17 failures you had at the beginning of your career?

You have to deal with it. You do whatever it takes. I have always been uncomfortable talking about myself because I am not that kind of person. Some people understand it some people don’t, some people accept it, some people don’t. I am fine with it. My only focus at that point of time was to carry on working. The minute you start thinking about the negatives, you become a bitter person. And I am not bitter, I never want to be and I don’t like bitter people.

Was it difficult?

Of course, it was. I was replaced in films, I was thrown out of the films and my films shut down halfway. It’s not a pleasant feeling. Do I make a big deal out of it? No. As compared to the struggle of other people, mine looks small. Many people don’t know that when I decided to be an actor, for a year I didn’t have a job. Some people might have thought that, ‘Oh, he is Mr Bachchan’s son; he would get a job easily. And I know close to 30 directors, who are some of the big directors who said to my face, “No sorry, we don’t want to make a film with you.” It’s not like I had a line of producers outside my house. I have been to a lot of producers and directors requesting them to work with me. Thankfully JP saab came over and said, ‘I want to work with you’ and he was the first person who did and I readily accepted. So how do you deal with it? Try and be positive and keep working hard.

By the grace of God, I have a wonderful family. I was never made to look like an underachiever or a loser. They are very supportive and always encouraging, that is not to say that they are blindly supportive. If they saw a film of mine which didn’t like they would say so and tell me how to improve. They never said, ‘Oh, you are hopeless. Forget it!’ There was a point in time when I thought that about myself because when you repeatedly fail and that too on public platform and you are humiliated on a public platform, Friday to Friday, after a period of time, your zest, your confidence goes flying out of the window and you start believing it. When you have 15-16 flops in a row, common sense kicks in, saying ‘Wait a second, obviously you don’t know anything, you are doing something wrong and maybe you shouldn’t be doing this.’ I had no confidence. I couldn’t go out in public because I genuinely believed that I had failed. Then I went up to my father and said, ‘I think, I have made a mistake and I have paid for it dearly and maybe I am not meant to be actor.’ He said, “I have not brought you up to be a quitter, I have brought you up to be fighter. Keep at it. I am telling you, I am going to be your biggest critic. I am telling you that you are improving with film after film. Do whatever you get. Whatever role, small role, big role, just do it. Spend time in front of the camera so that you get the opportunity to improve and eventually prove your worth.’ And that’s what I did. I dived into work, whatever I got, I did, and thankfully after a while they started accepting me.

How important is marriage?

It’s a wonderful institution. I won’t say I am going to recommend it. If you want to get married, get married. It’s a personal choice. I have taken the step to stay with the woman I love and care for. I am happy I did. It has been a wonderful wonderful journey so far.

And kids?

Kids are great. I think part of the reason why you want to get married is that you want to settle down and start a family and have kids. I think two should be good. Ham do hamare do.

Are you part of Dhoom 3?

Dhoom 3 is not being made as of now. If Adi (Aditya Chopra) decides to make it, I am pretty sure Ali and Jay would be apart of it. It’s their story, it’s their franchise, unless they want to take a U-turn and change it completely. Dhoom 2 has been my biggest hit and that’s the character I enjoyed working on.

For years numerologists said you should drop your surname and you resisted. Do you feel vindicated now?

I don’t feel vindicated. I think it’s foolish and stupid to even suggest it. Why would I want to drop my surname? I am very proud of being a Bachchan. I am what I am because I am a Bachchan. I don’t understand the theory behind changing my name. I have a name which my grandfather gave me. I carry it with great pride and I am not going to change it because somebody else wants to change it. Your film is not going to work because you change the spelling of your name. Destiny is written for you and you have to aid it by working hard.

Kareena has said that she has always had space in her heart for you…

Bebo has always said that. She was my first heroine and she will always be special for me. She is not only a very sweet girl but also one of the finest actresses. We started our journey together. So she is always special to me.

So will you work with her?

Of course, I will. People keep saying that I refuse to work with her. The fact is that nothing worthwhile has come up.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.