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No new projects now, says Big B

Bollywood icon, who was off shooting for three months after an intestinal surgery, expressed gratitude to fans.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 27, 2006 10:37 AM IST

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You are facing the camera after nearly three months. How does it feel?
A: It feels the same... not much difference... same people... same mode of work... camera still rolls and cuts, trolleys and cranes work, music plays, and life moves on. On the first day at the shoot for Karan's film people showed respect and joy at my return. I feel odd and embarrassed.

Q: Which film have you started with, and why?
A: I started on Monday, March 20 with Kabhi Aalvidaa Na Kehna. It was a day's shoot with Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherji, Preeti Jhangiani and Kiron Kher.

There was no particular reason why, just that the dates worked out in this fashion. On Tuesday it was a Bhojpuri film being produced by my makeup man Deepak Sawant. He has been with me for 30 years and has with great courage put together this project. He was the one affected the most due to my illness. It's a small-budget film. It would have finished in November... So, I gave it priority.

Q: Describe your thoughts on the first day... how were you welcomed on the sets?
A: Yash ji (Yash Chopra) was in his new state-of-the-art studio, with flowers and a warm hug... Karan came with chocolates and gifts. That's it. Otherwise it was like just another normal day back at office.

Q: There's jubilation and elation at your return... message from fans and filmmakers?
A: I did not witness any jubilation... except the TV crews and OB vans following me from 6 in the morning as I went to the gym and then on to the studio, such a waste of tape and time over nothing, really.

I don't think it (my return to work) deserved so much attention. But fans... yes... they were warm and emotional and affectionate. They prayed for me and I got back on my feet because of them. I thank them and acknowledge their love.

But it's still insufficient and I have no adequate words to express my gratitude to them. God bless them all. I owe so much to them.

Q: There is a pile-up of work. How would you cope? After Kabhi Alvidaa... what do you go into?
A: It's not so bad. The producers have been very kind and gracious. They haven't thrown me out or replaced me, and timing-wise there has not been a marked difference in their planning.

No serious delays have occurred and everyone is quite happy. I think... unless I am unable to see something. I'll be doing the Bhojpuri film for a couple of days. Then a few days of ads... leading on to Babul for a while and then Kabhi Alvidaa again in one final schedule.

Q; Your new assignments and the ones you are thinking of signing?
A: No new projects at the moment. There are restrictions to how much I can take on. And I need to finish those I committed to do before thinking ahead. But I meet and I like what I hear from Rakeysh Mehra and Ram Gopal Varma. There are others too. But I'd rather they took final shape before we talk of them.

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