Do you feel 16 at the age of 86?
Sixteen is a stupid age. I don’t want to be a callow boy but a thinking man. When a lady holds my hand, she should know that. When I’m talking to you or my lead actors, I feel young.
I feel a little older when I’m with my wife (Mona) and children (Suneil and Devina). And I feel the youngest when I’m on a set making a movie.
What’s the secret behind your eternal youth?
I think young. I may be older than independent India, but thanks to the spirit of youthfulness that infuses me, I’m in this business of young people. You can compare me to the best of yesterday and today.
Do you tweet or are you on Facebook and Orkut?
I know these social networking sites are big today but I’m a little slow when it comes to the Internet. I depend on my son and staff to clue me in. I’m the last man on earth to sit static.
I’d rather write a book, or better still, a movie script, than a blog. Don’t get me wrong, I may not be an Internet person but I love it for having brought the world closer. One day I’m going to learn it like a child. And then, I’ll beat you to it!
Perhaps you’ll make a movie on the cyber world then?
If an idea triggers off my creative consciousness, I will. Never mind if I have to go without sleep for hours and hours and months at end. When I’m charged up, I’m unstoppable. Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the producer of 3 Idiots, called you the biggest idiot at an awards function recently. Comment.
Yes, I was sitting quietly in a corner when suddenly, I saw this group lead by compere Shah Rukh Khan headed in my direction. Vinod Chopra called me one of the idiots and it was flashed across television sets. (Smiles) My fans liked seeing me. It is rare for me to make public appearances.
You launched Jackie Shroff in Swami Dada. Did the thought of launching his son Jai Hemant aka Tiger ever cross your mind?
Jackie is still my Dada. When he stands in front of me, so big, I feel so frail. But he has the heart and charm of a teenager. He’s in new my film, Chargesheet. His son Tiger is growing up well. If I ever write a movie that has a role for him, I’ll tell Jackie to give the boy to me.
It’s amazing that today when other filmmakers have slowed down because of the global meltdown, you continue to move on uninterrupted...That’s because I am an economical filmmaker who knows what he wants and how to get it done without stretching the budget.
I have my own studio and a staff that’s been with me for years. They will be loyal to me even if I don’t pay them for two months. Not that I care about money, it’s not something I can carry with me when I go away, so why horde it?