Even though his first production venture and directorial debut failed, and landed him in jail with a Rs 5 crore-debt, Rajpal Yadav is still optimistic.
Now, post a successful role, in a film on the Bhopal gas tragedy, he talks about donning the producer’s hat again, Bollywood and regional cinema.
There was a time when you were doing several films in a year. Why do you do fewer films now?
When people ask you this question, it means they appreciate your work and want to see more of you and your work. I have been part of the film industry for over 15 years now. When I had entered Bollywood, I had decided that in the first decade of my career, I will do what others ask me to do, and in the next decade, I will do what I want. While Bollywood still remains my priority, I always wanted to do regional cinema. There are so many people who don’t know Hindi, so I decided to do regional films wherein even those who don’t know me can see my work.
Last year, you were imprisoned over an alleged non-payment of loan. Do you think producing Ata Pata Laapata (2012) — for which you had taken the loan — was a mistake?
I don’t think producing the film was a mistake. I will produce another film soon. I still feel that making the movie was one of the best decisions of my life. Everyone told me that I shouldn’t have started a production house, but I think otherwise. Is it necessary that your first film has to be a hit? When Shah Rukh Khan launched his production house, his first two films were flops.
When you were in trouble (during the course of the court case), did any of your industry friends come to your rescue?
A lot of people came forward to help me when I was in trouble. I got everyone’s support without any bias against me, which was nice. Even media reports weren’t biased.
How did you manage to bag the international film that deals with the Bhopal gas tragedy?
Would you believe that I got the film on the basis of my performance in Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (2003)? Back in 2005, I got an email from Ravi Kumar, the director of my latest film, from London asking me if I’d like to be part of it,and how after seeing Main Madhuri…, they thought about me. I asked my wife to read the script. I was shooting for a project at Film City, Goregaon, when she called me at four in the morning and told me that with this film I will actually start acting.
Are you in touch with Ram Gopal Varma or Priyadarshan, film-makers with whom you have done a lot of work?
I’m in touch with everyone in the industry. The fruits of your hard work are always sweet. I am very thankful to God that nothing untoward has happened in my life.
It was also said that stardom had gone to your head.
(Laughs) I have always believed that I am a student of acting. I have always hoped and prayed that everyone grows in their lives, but I still want to be the smallest person. I am scared to become big. It fills you with unnecessary things such as ego, jealousy, etc.
Tell us about your future projects.
I have about ten Hindi films in hand. I also have a few regional movies in Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati.