It would be so-so-so boring to ask him about Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay, Aag the Fire, Raakh the Ash..whatever. I just ask him an assortment of questions which he answers diligently, expressionlessly.. the only time he smiles is when I leave at the end of the interview.
Do you think there is a common theme running through all your films?
Yes, it's possible. I like this idea of a guy coming from somewhere and getting into these situations. That's what I picked up from the Bruce Lee films – Enter the Dragon, Return of the Dragon and Fist of Fury.
Also, films based on James Hadley Chase novels would be a very effective way of getting the audience involved -- because you connect to the protagonist, and through his eyes, into the story. Even in a horror film, a family coming into your house gets you involved. I guess I'm obsessed with the idea of someone coming somewhere from elsewhere.
Do you see ghosts behind the doors in your house?
I used to feel that way when I was making Bhoot.. I have this L-shaped bedroom, and if I was on the bed, I used to feel that Manjeet, the ghost in Bhoot, was behind the wall.
I used to laugh at myself and turn to one side and sleep.. and then hear this breathing sound. I would want to turn and see, angry at myself for being imaginative.
Have you ever got into a crisis, felt helpless?
No, I've never got into a crisis or felt helpless. If something happens which is not in my control, I usually think of a way of getting out of it. And if I can't, then I'll face it.
Have you ever been lost?
Never, because I don't drive. I always have a driver with me, or someone else driving.
<b1>No bizarre situations, robberies or rapes?
No, I've never been involved in a situation, which is out of the ordinary.
What attracts you musically?
Whether it's my stories, or the music of anything I do, most of it is from how I was influenced in my teens or childhood.
There is a heavy influence of Ilaiyaraja. Like when I brief my music director about the sound I want, I probably take it from a memory of what I felt when I heard a particular song in my growing years.
Tell me about some of the western influences on your music?
Western influences, too, would be the music I grew up on. for I rarely listen to contemporary music now. I have very little knowledge of it.
What did you listen to?
More than songs, I used to be heavily into background scores. There were no CDs then. I used to take a small tape recorder and record the background scores of Enter the Dragon, The Omen or Jaws.. those kinds of films.
<b2>Did you have any favourites?
Abba was my favourite.I knew most of the songs but I can't sing any of them.
You worked very well with AR Rahman in Rangeela and Daud. So what happened? Break-up?
I don't think I could call it a breakup. Rahman is a very rare individual. I know only one of his kind, I don't think there's anybody nearly as sincere as Rahman in the music business.
When you listen to his music, you don't have a choice.. while making Rangeela, I used to have sleepless nights, trying to work out how I would do justice to the music he had composed.
I work at a certain pace and am very impatient by nature. I want to do things yesterday and Rahman will do it day after. It's basically that delay in time – I don't have the patience to wait – this is the only reason I haven't worked with Rahman after that.