Subhash K Jha | Last Modified - Mar 11, 2013, 01:38 PM IST
You lost one of your dearest friends and directors Yash Chopra recently?
I suddenly discovered the reality of mortality. I lost four people very close to me. I lost my father who was one of the most wonderful people I knew. I lost my manager Mr Bhaskar Shetty who worked with me for 18 years. I lost Sister Dolores, the principal of the Dilkhush school for special children. She was like my godmother. I’d go to her whenever I felt low. Before passing away she left her prayer beads for me. They’re part of my temple now. And finally, Yashji.
Yashji and you were really close, weren’t you?
I miss him every day. During the last ten years, I went to visit him regularly. He would talk about nature, poetry, fashion and cinema. He was passionate about living. He taught me amazing things about life. He had lots of friends. But I’d like to believe I was special in his life. His death has still not registered. Even now when I pass his bungalow I feel like dropping in to have tea with him. Mrs Yash Chopra, and their sons Aditya and Uday are my family.
You form relationships for life?
I cultivate relationships wherever I work. My joy at being associated with any cinema, its cast and crew, is not concealed. I haven’t grown blasé over the years.
What kind of relationship do you share with your son Sikandar these days?
The same kind of bonding that I shared with Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. Every parent should treat the child as a friend. Unfortunately in today’s times parents play the role of a parent instead of actually being one. My students in my acting school sometimes have issues with their parents. I make them call up their parents try to reach out to them.
I notice a childlike enthusiasm in you even today?
That has to be there in any walk of life. Otherwise you should just hang up your boots. It’s important to keep the spirit alive.
Tell me about ‘Special Chabbis’?
It’s a brilliant character with many shades. I play a middleclass farmer from Punjab with right kids who participates in a heist just for fun. On 8 February 2013, one of the finest films I’ve done will release. ‘Special Chabbis’ is like Tom & Jerry with a fake group and a genuine group of CBI officers trying to outdo one another. Abhishek and I are part of the genuine CBI team while Manoj Bajpai and his team is its fake counterpart. The film has fantastic music by M M Kreem.
Whether it is Neeraj Pandey or Yash Chopra, why do directors work with you repeatedly?
I invest in relationship. I love people. I love life. I love cinema. Some filmmakers like Yashji and Neeraj become part of my family.
How do you balance ‘Kya Super Kool Hain’ out with SLP?
I am excited about life and cinema. I am blessed to be doing both the films during the same year.For me the journey is far more important than the destintation. In that journey I’ve encountered ‘Saraansh’, ‘Daddy’, ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’, ‘Special Chabbis’ and ‘Kya Super Kool Hain Hum’. I don’t look down on any kind of work. When we see ‘American Pie’ we are thrilled because the word for copulation is used in English. But when we hear the same word in Hindi we act scandalized. I think the ‘Rosemary Marlowe’ pun was fun.
Really? Ask Rosemary about it.
I am sure she too has a sense of humour. It’s no big deal. In my 450 films I have done all sorts of work equally enthusiastically. I am just here to do my work, not here to change the face of Indian cinema. Kishore Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar,S.D Burman, R D Burman, Rajesh Khanna, Smita Patil changed the face of Indian cinema. They’re remembered by the films that they do.
You seem to be enjoying playing many roles other than that of an actor?
Today, I do everything and I do it with great joy. Earlier I was in a hurry to get somewhere. Today I am in no hurry. There was a time when I did 22 films during one year. Today I am happy doing just a few films. One ‘Special Chabbis’ is enough to keep me going the whole year. It is important to reinvent yourself constantly as an individual. Only then can you remain exciting and excited as an actor. How many actors from Indian cinema would have the balls to play a 70-year old man at the age of 28? I did in ‘Saraansh’. I broke the myth of typecasting. I wrote a book on life-coaching which had 12 editions in one year. My motivational lecture give me enormous satisfaction.
Do your motivational lectures motivate you?
Of course, I don’t talk about borrowed ideas. I only talk about what I’ve borrowed from my own life. The younger generation responds to my motivation with great enthusiasm. Today’s average youth has information on his fingertips. This has to change into knowledge. Wisdom comes from experience. I got 38 percent in college. Today I am lecturing at Infosys and Kellogg School Of Management. I think I must be doing something right.