This is your fourth film with Nana Patekar after Prahaar, Angaar and Krantiveer. How much has he changed?
Not one bit. We have a teacher-student relationship and during the climax of Tum Milo Toh Sahi when I was unable to break down, it was Nana and Kabir (director Kabir Sadanand) who helped trigger off the emotional outburst. I’ve dedicated the climax to them.
This was one of the last looks that your sister, Simple Kapadia, designed before she succumbed to cancer. (Getting emotional) Right Yaa Wrong was the last film that Simple designed for. She was always by my side, right from Batwara and Rudaali to Tum Milo Toh Sahi. I’d come to depend on her. After every shot, I’d look at her and if it was a nod, I knew I was fine. If she said, “Bakwas”, I’d request the director for another take.
Dabang was the first film I shot for after she was gone. I was so lost, we’d not worked on the look. But everything fell into place. I gave an inspired performance. There was no way I could have pulled it off without Simple guiding me.
The film revolves around an Irani café that you run and is under threat from developers, right?
Yes, pulling down such places is one of the fallouts of progress. Familiar places in the city no longer look the same without these buildings. And it’s not just about structures but people and relationships too. (Sighs) Years of bonding are gone.
How much at home do you feel in today’s Mumbai where you need to know Marathi to get a job?
The city is changing but it is still home. And it’s always good to learn a new language, makes for great conversation and helps you understand friends better. You don’t need no degrees, you just need to pick up lines and phrases. I speak Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and English.
You’ve just started work on Rahul Rahul Dholakia’s Society. Is it anything like Govind Nihalani’s Party or Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3?
No, it’s a very different film. I connected well with the character that I play. It’s always exciting starting a new film.
That’s interesting given that your daughters, Twinkle and Rinké, have retired from films?
That was their choice, they had the option, I don’t. Akshay Kumar says that Twinkle gives him grief for not having won a National Award like you yet.
Does the topic come up when you are conversing too?
(Laughs) I wouldn’t dare bring it up. My daughter does it effectively and insensitively all the time. But Akshay has grown with every film, he deserves a National Award too. Well, he’s got the Padma Shri. Yes, and I’m so proud of him. He deserved it completely. And it has shut my daughter up.