Okay, your objective assessment of the film.
Very competent presentation, excellent visuals, wonderful music, well picturised. That's what even my wife feels. And you know I never question her judgment. Jaya liked the film very much. But you know she also liked "Deewaar"...
There's a belief that your role is only a cameo.
But it is a cameo! I play a man who is in charge of an orphanage. I play Aishwarya's uncle. I felt so bad about it, ha, ha. One thing I liked about the role was that it gave me chance to interact with kids. After "Mr Natwarlal" this is the first time I get to do that.
So playing Ms Rai's uncle became bearable. Also, I think most of my recent roles have been very uniformed (a cop, an army officer, prisoner of war) and grim. So if people are looking for a change in me, they know where to go.
But one more AB film after so many this season. Does that make it less attractive for the audience?
You'll have to ask the audience that. I'm just doing my job. I was offered the role, I didn't force myself into the project. When it's released and how isn't my lookout. It's up to the producer. For me "Kyun Ho Gaya Na" was another job. I hope I've done it professionally.
Given a chance wouldn't you like your releases to be better spaced out?
I don't think that's possible. The number of films I do makes it difficult. Producers keep approaching me to do films. I need to do them, so I do them.
How was Samir Karnik as a director?
For a first-timer he had great confidence. He's a mature director. I found Samir to be organized and gregarious. He had all the shot compositions and takes drawn out on our call sheets before we arrived on the sets. That was very comforting.
And Vivek Oberoi?
He's fine. We were together in Coorg for a 20-day schedule. And that was it. My work was over.
And Ms Rai?
Ah, she's exceptionally beautiful. According to Jaya and me, she looks wonderful in "Kyun Ho Gaya Na". I feel she needs to do more mature subjects now.
She's a favorite?
All my co-stars are my favorites. You don't have to take me to task because I like Ms Rai. Who doesn't? I get along with everybody. Those I don't get along with I'm not working with. With her around, there's joy, laughter, fun and a good working atmosphere.
No more films from you for some months?
I don't know. There's a small cameo of a song and a scene in Yashji's film with Shah Rukh Khan. That's in Diwali. Then there's Anil Sharma's "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon". Finally, Sanjay Bhansali wants to come with "Black" in December. So I guess you can breathe easy for a few months.
How was it shooting for "Black" in Shimla last week?
Amazing. Except for the fact that a columnist has made some very unfair comments on how I travelled to Shimla. According to him, I travelled with a cavalcade of cars all paid for by the government with money that should be paid for the betterment of Shimla. He's right about the cavalcade of cars. I travel with about 15 cars and a personal staff of 20 people. But all of them are paid for personally by me. There were 150 people in the unit of "Black". Surely, a few cars would be permissible to carry so many people?