Sharmila Tagore deals with quite a few taboo topics in a conversation with Rachana Dubey.
Why have you been avoiding any comment on the rumoured marriage between your son Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor?
I haven't been doing that. I haven't been asked to comment on this subject. The marriage will happen when it has to. Right now, Saif 's very happy and carefree.
He's enjoying life to the fullest. I can only wish him luck.
The same. If that answers your question, can we move on please?
How would you rate Saif as an actor today?
Brilliant. He's getting better by the day .
How do you react to the gossip about Soha seeing Siddharth?
I cannot control all that's said in the media. I can't react to all the rumours. In fact, none of the rumours deserve to be clarified because they're baseless. They're pressurising to deal with but Soha is doing that really well. And she's not alone.. we love her and are with her.
What happens when the films of Saif and Soha come up for certification?
Yes, there's a clash of interest here. But I watch a film only when it has been rejected at all the levels of certification. Then the chief has to take the final call. Fortunately, my children's movies have never been in that category.
<b1>What's your take on Khoya Khoya Chand – it was a role of a lifetime for Soha but it flopped?
I think the movie had a different grammar. The director tried to tell the story his way. The performances and the music were outstanding. I particularly liked Soha. I'm not saying this because I'm her amma.. but because I'm her critic.
She looked as innocent as any newcomer would have looked in that era. At the same time, she didn't look a haarihui-bechari. She looked down but not out. That clicked with me.. but unfortunately not with the audience. Probably, they wanted to see her helpless. When we act, we have to be a bit manipulative.. which Soha isn't.
Would you agree with some of the critics' point of view that a senior actress would have been more suitable for the role?
I think this argument doesn't hold. All of us.. whether it was Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Zeenat Aman or I.. we all started early in our careers. An actress' seniority in the industry has nothing to do with her performance. The industry is youth-oriented.
And if the critics say that another actress could have done better, then they had better state who that is.
Okay, why have you kept away from commenting on the controversy involving the choice of
Eklavyaas the Indian entry for the Oscars?
Is this because you had a small role in it?
Excuse me.. again I wasn't asked to comment on this. And I wasn't even in the country at the time of the controversy. Indian films are made to appeal to our national audience. Quite a few movies now have an international appeal.
But the requirements at the Oscars are different. Masters like Satyajit Ray were acclaimed worldwide but they weren't as popular in India.
I don't know who was on the selection committee for our choice for the Oscars. But they do need to be better acquainted with international cinema before making this choice.
Okay, I do find it a bit surprising to see India's Film Censor Board chief on the jury of a reality show (
Dhoom Macha De). Why? I don't think there's any clash of interest there.
What's the harm? I'm enjoying myself, interacting with so many young talented singers. My co-judges Prasoon Joshi and Shankar Mahadevan are pretty jovial. There's so much positive energy around me.
What took you so long to take on a television show then?
There had been offers earlier. This time, the offer came from Savri Alagh. Her mother Maya Alagh is a very dear friend. It took them some convincing to get me to judge the show. I agreed because it fit into my schedule. Plus, I couldn't control my lalach to work with young blood. I'm not regretting being on TV.
Isn't your job a bit tough.. considering that you're not a singer?
Oh come on, you don't need to be a murderer to know how brutally it has been committed. I'm not a singer.. but I come from a family where music was a way of life. I've been exposed to all kinds of music ever since I can remember. And I've been the face to some of the most wonderful voices in playback singing. So, it's not tough.
<b2>What's the update on Jewellery Box, your film with Aparna Sen?
I don't think it's happening. Maybe Aparna hasn't been able to organise the finances. The subject is very culture-and-language-specific. So, it will lose its charm if it's made in Hindi.
And the Bengali industry doesn't have enough money to pump into this project. If made in any other language, it may not even recover the investment.
You haven't been seen in a movie of late..
There are offers. Jahnu Barua wants to make a film with me.. that will probably be a bilingual. I'm working in a film by Rituparno Ghosh. The only commercial project I'm working on is Nagesh Kukunoor's with Akshay Kumar. Akshay is busy. Once he allots dates, the movie will be completed.
Never thought of a home film production banner?
No, thank you. Saif is into it. I'm keeping out of it because I don't have the head and the patience to look after a production company. Saif 's very enthusiastic and motivated about making his kind of movies.
Does Mr Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi watch movies?
(Laughs) No, he watches news... I watch movies. To avoid clashes, we have two television sets in the house.