What do you think about 'kidnapping for ransom' acquiring a professional status?
It's no longer restricted to being just news. It has become an official business. If goons do these acts, one can understand their motivations. But when educated people do it, it disturbs us.
What do you think are the reasons behind this development?
I would think lure of money. Also the changing value systems. So when Prakash Jha came to me with the script of "Apaharan" that dealt with all this, I got interested. We discussed and worked on the script for a year.
What is the film "Apaharan" about?
I don't think it's possible for me to explain what kind of film it is. You'll have to watch the film. Prakash makes cinema with power. When Prakash told me, "Nana, I want you to do this film as I can't think of anyone else for this role," I was deeply touched.
What's your character?
I am playing the role of Tabrez Alam, a politician. He works with a certain conviction that whatever he does is an order from the almighty. Whatever he does - right or wrong - he is totally convinced of his actions. He does this with certain piousness. But he is not a villain in a real sense.
He has a variety of shades to his character. This is the first of its kind of role for me. I asked Prakash to complete the film as early as possible as it was difficult to sustain a character like mine. I had to continuously think about it. Somewhere it gets disturbing.
So did you start living your character?
Yes - one tends to start thinking about the character and in that process starts living it too in his mind. But fortunately we finished it fast. We went to Satara and finished it at one go.
How did you prepare for the role of Tabrez Alam?
No, not really! Whatever I did and said, 80 percent of it was Prakash's contribution. He was very clear the way he wanted to project Tabrez's character. And as an actor I understood what he was looking for.
I followed Prakash's direction in totality. If people like my role in the film, the credit goes to Prakash. I will take just 20 percent credit the way my role has shaped up.
What was your initial reaction when Prakash came to you with Tabrez's role?
It was not about Tabrez role. The story got me interested first. What a film wants to portray is important for me. What role I would be playing is secondary.
And what's the relationship you share with Ajay Devgan in the film?
Ajay plays the role of Ajay Shastri - a young man aspiring to join the police force. He is like my son. He thinks that he is on his way to become the next Tabrez Alam.
He starts gaining confidence about taking over my role. But a point comes when Ajay realises that the path he is treading on would not make him happy.
This was your second film with Ajay Devgan. What do you feel about him as an actor and his role in this film?
Ajay is very intuitive. The basic difference between him and me is that I discuss a lot with my director - I think about my lines, then next day I come on the sets and rehearse it many times.
On the other hand, Ajay does whatever the director tells him and he can deliver whatever the director wants immediately. That is really an amazing quality.
Bipasha does a complete turnaround in this film.
Unfortunately, I don't have any scenes with her in this film. As an actress, she knows what she wants to do and would like to grow as an artiste. And I am happy that she allowed herself to be part of this film.
How was it working with Prakash?
Wonderful. He was the producer, director and writer. As producer he did a good job, he gave my money. As writer he gave me the script. As a director, he directed me properly.