He is well-appointed home at Yari Road speaks volumes about his taste in interiors. Once there, I'm made to rest in his personal library.. done up with books ranging from PG Wodehouse to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock.
He arrives, greets me and rests in his study chair while I turn on the dictaphone and say:
Congratulations on your new house.
Thank you. We've moved in quite recently. We took a raw house and did the complete interiors, including the floors ourselves. Supriya was quite involved with it.
What made you pull out of Karamchand and Office Office?
I didn't pull out of Karamchand. It didn't pick up.. so it's off air now. Though the show made a comeback after 22 years, the stories, plots and scripts were much like they were 22 years ago.
One can't expect the audience to accept that. The scripts had to be in sync with today's time. I think the show's failure was everyone's failure.
Office Office has been on air for the last six years. I was a bit tired playing the same character. Plus, television is a little time consuming. I want to devote more time to some other things now. I may go back to it some time in future. <b1>
Are you happy with the results of Dharm?
It's the kind of movie that has a strong subject and gives a powerful message in the end. The audience and the critics have received it quite well. It got support from a section of exhibitors too. A film like Dharm is not made every day. I'm quite happy with it.
Aren't you turning a writer for the director of Dharm?
No, no. It's not that way.. I spoke about an idea to Bhavna Talwar and she liked it instantly. I'm not writing it for her. She'll write it, I'll help if need be. As for writing, I'm working on something that I wish to direct sometime in the immediate future. That is taking time, I may also need help for writing that down.
Weren't you the first choice for Bhootnath?
Director Vivek Sharma did approach me with his first draft. He didn't even have a producer by him then. He discussed it with me, based on which I said I'd be interested in the subject. He said he'll return a year later.. and he didn't. Honestly, it doesn't matter. It's something that just came my way and went by.
I wasn't in any way involved with it, that I should ever feel bad for not doing it. My congratulations to him for a production house like BR Films backing him and someone like Mr Amitabh Bachchan doing the role.
What vibes do you get from Gandhi My Father.. especially after you've worked on Richard Attenborough's Gandhi earlier?
I haven't seen too many promos, but from the way it was narrated to me a year and a half ago, and the way it looks now, the film's perspective is the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and his son.. something very personal.
Everyone is entitled to a perspective. I guess, it should be good. I couldn't do it because it would've taken too long to reduce weight and get the right look, etc.. for which I believe they didn't have the time. My best wishes to them.
Whatever happened to Blue Umbrella?
I've no clue! You must ring up the producers and ask them. Once I've completed the film, I move on. There's little that I can do after that. The producers tell me sometimes that it's going to release soon and then there's a deafening silence. I don't know much but I hope they will inform me whenever they plan to release it.
What about the film with Shahid Kapur?
There was some primary talk on that. The script is in infancy..it has to be worked on. It hasn't reached the stage where we can start thinking how and when to do it.
Once there, we'll finalise Shahid and my dates and then eventually start working on it. That's not happening in the immediate future at least. The day we find a script that suits both of us, we'll do it. <b3>
Are you happy with his choice of a partner?
Of course. It's his life and his choice. I have complete regard for it, love it and stand by it. Like all fathers, I'd love to see him married. When, is what he can tell you, not me.
I've committed my dates to two projects. I'll be busy with them till November, hopefully.. because I've not seen the second drafts of the scripts so far. And I've almost completed dubbing for Halla Bol where I play a theatre activist with a certain background.