His Love Story 2008-’09 is rocking, thank you, never mind those rumours about romancing one of his heroines in a vanity van. Harman Baweja in a conversation with Hiren Kotwani.
Hello, have you gone underground after Love Story 2050?
I’ve been working. First for Victory, then for It’s my Life. I’ve also started shooting What’s your Raashi?
Have you recovered from the after-effects of your debut dud?
See, I think it was the mixing of two genres — science fiction and the mythology of reincarnation — that didn’t gel.
Did you see many films this year to check out what the audience likes and doesn’t?
Ah, I haven’t seen a film in quite a while.. (pauses) except for Jodhaa Akbar, Singh is Kinng, Drona, Fashion and Dostana.
Drona, Fashion and Dostana.. for Priyanka Chopra?
Ha ha ha ha..
How’s the industry’s attitude towards you?
It’s hard to tell.. because the market is in a state of flux. Many big films which were announced have been placed on the back-burner.. but I’ve still got a backlog of scripts to go through. In fact, I’m about a month behind schedule.I’ll be finalising a couple of scripts soon.
Another release this year could have salvaged the Love Story debacle?
Victory wasn’t complete. We had to shoot with some cricketers, we also had to incorporate the Sri Lanka tour. And then we required a particular stadium for some crucial scenes. Coordinating all that took time.
It seems you taught some pretty good dance moves to the cricketers participating in a television reality show. Did you learn anything about the game from them?
I did learn about cricket from them.. like the stance, the technique. And some of them did ask me for some help in dancing. Sreesanth is very good, he performed to my song Milo na milo on Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. Dinesh Karthik is good. Harbhajan Singh is fabulous, and that’s why he won.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali signed you for Chenab Gandhi being directed by his assistant Vibhu Puri. But when it came to his next as a director, he’s signed Hrithik Roshan. Does that bother you?
That doesn’t bother me at all. Of course, I’d like to work with Mr Bhansali. But this is his production and obviously it’s as important to him. When I read the script, I didn’t have to think twice. I’m sure Vibhu will make a great director.
Reportedly it’s a period film with Amitabh Bachchan playing the protagonist. So what scope do you see for yourself?
It’s hard to say that Mr Bachchan is the protagonist. Having read the script, I’d say it’s well-balanced.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s What’s Your Raashi? is reportedly similar to the TV serial Mr Yogi featuring Mohan Gokhale, also based on Madhu Rye’s book Kimball Ravenswood. Since Priyanka Chopra is playing 12 different characters, aren’t you apprehensive of being sidelined?
The only TV serial on Doordarshan I remember is Malgudi Days. As for Raashi, I think mine is a good role. Please don’t jump to conclusions.
Priyanka Chopra and you have been constantly supportive of each other during your careers low phases.
What else are friends for? I don’t believe in just fair-weather friendship. It shouldn’t be sukh mein sab saathi, dukh mein na koi..
Reportedly, the relationship soured after Love Story 2050.. but stabilised again after God Tussi Great Ho and Drona tanked.
These were just rumours.
It’s believed that Priyanka Chopra recommended you to Madhur Bhandarkar, after Fashion broke her flop run.
I don’t know why Priyanka should recommend me to anyone. I’m available on the phone, any director can contact me directly.
Rumours are that you’ve been sharing a lot of quality time with Amrita Rao.
Amu and I get along very well. She’s a sweet girl and a very gifted actress. That’s it. Period. Full stop.
But isn’t she too petite to be paired with you in Victory?
Nah. I may be six feet but we’re quite compatible.. just as I am with Genelia D’Souza, whom I’m working with in It’s My Life.
Okay. So are you the mushy romantic type?
I guess I’ve been like a Mills & Boon guy all my life.. very mushy. But because of work pressure, this side of me had remained hidden.
You sent Priyanka Chopra a huge bouquet of roses on the first-day shoot of Raashi.
A few days later, you sent her a bouquet of blue orchids with a note saying, “I’m blue without you.”
Where did you get that? Though I must say that’s a very nice line. I must use it.
Recently, Priyanka Chopra gave a list of what she’s looking for in a guy. When asked if you fit the bill, she said she hasn’t checked those aspects in you.
It’s tough for any guy to fit the bill of Priyanka’s Mr Right. I’d feel very immodest if I were to say, “Yes, I fit the bill.”
Do you get upset reading about her growing friendship with Shahid Kapur? Aren’t you possessive?
Not at all. Why should I get uspet? I’m sure of the relationship that I share with my friends.. and that’s all that matters.