"Black" is premiered on TV. Happy?
Of course! Anything to do with "Black" pleases me. The premiere excites me because it rejuvenates one of my favourite films, revives wonderful memories and gives audiences another occasion to connect with this exceptional film.
Do you think the nuances are likely to get lost on TV?
Size is never a criterion for noticing nuances. If you do not possess the intelligence to savour subtleties, you won't do so on a screen any size - be it a 70 mm screen or a laptop.
TV brings in a personalised, intimate experience. People would probably watch "Black" alone or with the people they love in an environment they're comfortable with. In this way, they'd be less distracted and be better able to relate to the characters...No extraneous distractions, no ambient chatter, no mobile phone going on, no popcorn-carrying latecomers blocking your view, and no embarrassment when brimming with emotion a tear spills out of your eye.
It's been eight months since "Black" was released. Where do you place it in your bulky body of work?
Undoubtedly, it would remain an unforgettable experience, and one that I'd always be proud of. It would remain at the top of my bulky and generally unattractive body of work.
Do you think "Black" went as far as it could in terms of recognition?
All creativity begs and clamours for recognition. But recognition and achievement are relative terms. Praise for "Black" from an endless stream of friends and well-wishers was overwhelming. The film seems to have touched lives and that's so moving. The warm media reviews were so stimulating.
Shah Rukh Khan touching my feet after the premiere and Dilip Kumarsaab engulfing me in his arms and later sending flowers and a personal note moved me to tears.
How much further would you like "Black" to go?
Somewhere deep inside himself the creator knows if his creation has achieved its optimum level. Somewhere deep inside himself Sanjay Leela Bhansali knows he has created something exceptional. And that's the work's greatest achievement and recognition. All else pales before it.
Many of your fans rate "Black" as your best performance and film to date. How about you?
Every artiste should endeavour to better his previous efforts. Please don't subject us to ratings. They're impersonal and ugly. And they give rise to clichéd responses like "My best is yet to come." I'd relish fresh challenges within the limited creative resources that remain with me.
What thoughts pass through your mind now when "Black" is such an integral part of Hindi cinema's movement towards maturity of vision?
Maturity of vision? Was that an unintended pun on the film's theme of progressive blindness? "Black" took Hindi cinema to a hitherto unseen level. It excelled in creativity. In provided a gauge for the intelligence and maturity of our cinema-going audiences.
It destroyed conventional and traditional norms and forged a permanent place in the history of Indian cinema. And it shall always fill me with two hours of undiluted pleasure and pride as I sit in my wheelchair in the not too distant future.