from the interview:
Q. You seem to have quietly signed a
Pakistani actor called Imran Abbas for "Heera Mandi".
A. So quietly that even I don't know about it. I haven't signed
anyone called Imran Abbas. I'm not making "Heera Mandi"
right now. It may happen much later.
I'm now directing another film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya
Rai. I'm very excited about the film, and so are they.
Q. You continue to be fearless in spite of "Saawariya"?
A. This is the time when filmmakers need to be fearless and experiment
with themes. Fearlessness is my biggest asset as a filmmaker.
I will continue to make films that come from deep within me. My
very first film "Khamoshi: The Musical" didn't do well
at all. A lot of people think it's my best work.
Q. So are you as proud of "Saawariya" as the
rest of your films?
A. Of course. "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" or "Devdas"
can be made again, but "Saawariya" cannot. It's my rarest
work in terms of treatment. It had beautiful performances and
visuals. I tried to put a stage-play on film. Of course at the
end of the day the audience decides what it likes.
Q. So have you met Pakistani actor Imran?
A. Moin Beg, who has written "Heera Mandi", wanted
me to meet Imran. So I met him almost a year ago, but I immediately
realised he wasn't the actor I was looking for. Just because I
don't speak out, people take advantage of my silence.
Q. Why don't you clarify the misconceptions when they
A. I can't bring myself to become the master of sound bytes.
But beyond a point silence is construed as a sign of acceptance.
I don't even meet new actors, musicians or lyricists. I've already
decided whom to work with in my next project. And why go to Pakistan
to get actors? We've very talented people in our own country.
Q. There were reports that some actors, including Ranbir
Kapoor, didn't want to work with you?
A. People are writing tragic tales about me every day. They are
even deciding what film I'm making and also casting actresses
in them... Maybe stories about me sell. But when the misrepresentations
go beyond my tolerance, it's time to speak up. The truth is Ranbir
and Sonam would be there for me whenever I need them. However,
at the moment I'm making a film with Hrithik and Aishwarya.
Q. What prompted you to sign Hrithik?
A. Hrithik and I wanted to work together for a very long time.
I've always been impressed by his sincerity as an actor. I was
waiting for the right opportunity to sign him. Working with Hrithik
would be a new and rewarding experience.
Q. You and Aishwarya created magic in "Hum Dil De
Chuke Sanam" and "Devdas". Time for a hattrick?
A. Aishwarya is very special to me. She suits the role in my
new film to perfection. When she read the script she was deeply
moved. Of course the true friend that she is, she told me she
would've agreed to work with me even if I didn't send her the
Q. Will this Hrithik-Aishwarya film be your first for
an international market in English?
A. But "Black" was also in English. It's important
for me to make my films for our market. But we must take our cinema
to the remotest corner of the world. Today the spoken language
is no barrier. The spoken language in our country is as much Hindi
as English. I want to capture that feeling of everyday conversations.
Q. 2008 was a great year for you. It was the year when
an Indian director was invited for the first time to direct an
opera in Paris.
A. Yes, I had a wonderful time. I loved directing the opera.
It was an exceptional honour and an unforgettable experience.
I managed to write the script that I wanted to and got the cast
I wanted. It's been a year of hard and fruitful work. And 2009
will mean even harder work.