Raj Kumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi and you are back to working on the next Munnabhai film, right?Yeah, Abhijat and Raju are doing most of the work. I’m just the wall they need to jump over to get to the other side. God willing, we should lock the screenplay in three months.
Buzz is that you’re thinking of replacing Sanjay Dutt?
Munnabhai has become a brand name. At some point, we could shuffle around with the cast. I don’t think it’s likely to happen with the next film. But if we want a younger Munnabhai, we might look at Ranbir (Kapoor) or Shahid (Kapoor).
I’d definitely like to work with Aamir again but I don’t see him as Munna since Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) and he are almost contemporaries. If you remember, Shah Rukh (Khan) was our first choice for Munna. Sanju was the cancer patient, a role eventually enacted by Jimmy (Sheirgill). Even Rancho was first offered to Shah Rukh. We had a misunderstanding and Aamir stepped in. Today, you can’t imagine anyone else as Rancho.
Will 3 Idiots have a sequel too?
Had it been any other film company, 3 Idiots 2 would have gone on the floors by now. But for us, the script comes first. If a great idea comes up, maybe we will take the story forward.
It’s been three years since Eklavya: The Royal Guard, when are you returning as a director?
I’ve finished the script of Broken Horses; we should start shooting by next year. It’s a gangster film based on the Mexican mafia and will be shot in the US. It’s a dark thriller like Khamosh. My first wife, Renu (Saluja), always wanted me to make another thriller.
What’s happening to 64 Squares?
I’ve outgrown that story.
What do you mean by ‘outgrown’?
There’s a story in the Mahabharat about a boy who, for 14 years, goes to his guru with a story he’s been reworking only to see it torn up. Finally, he pleads with his teacher to stop. His guru smiles, “I’ve been waiting since the last seven years for you to tell me to stop. You’ve become a better writer than me.”
Does this mean that you too are waiting for someone to stop you from tearing up the script?
(Laughs) No, when I started writing, I liked what I had written. Then Eklavya came into my life, followed by 3 Idiots. Now I’ve lost interest in 64 Squares.
What about Ram Madhvani’s Talisman inspired by the novel Chandrakanta?
That’s also in a limbo. The script didn’t work out. But I’m co-writing Ferrari Ki Sawaari with Rajesh Mapuskar who will be debuting as a director with this film. It revolves around a young boy whose pursuit of a cricket legend’s Ferrari turns his dream of playing cricket at Lord’s into reality. I will also be directing another film, Pachisvi Salgirah, once I’m through with Broken Horses. You’d planned Mission Kashmir with Amitabh Bachchan.
Talisman and 64 Squares also featured him. Will Pachisvi Salgirah finally bring Bachchan and you together?
It’s too early to talk about the cast of Pachisvi Salgirah. I called Mr Bachchan the other day asking him to teach me how to speak. (Laughs) I could do with some lessons in diplomacy.
You’re obviously referring to that infamous press conference during which, when questioned about Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone, you asked a journalist to “shut up”?
I said “shut up” only once. But they edited the footage, had me repeating the words, and that’s what you saw on the channels. It made me look really silly, as my daughter pointed out. So I said ‘sorry’ publicly.