According to our analysis, the three blunders of your career were ‘Boom’, ‘Nishabd’ and ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag’. Do you agree?
Once I have agreed to do a film, I do not want to backtrack from it. I also do not want to overanalyse what happened; instead, I stand by the decision I took while signing the film, whatever the reason behind it. Whether the film eventually turns out to be – good or bad, whether it is criticised or ridiculed – it comes later. But once I have worked honestly on a film, I will not give up on it. Alright, the audience might have found a particular film dirty or unacceptable. I accept their judgment. I liked playing the characters that I did in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag and Nishabd. In the case of
Boom, I had nothing much to do. There was a tongue-in-cheek feel to the whole film which should have been maintained. That it wasn’t done, is unfortunate. Nevertheless, I liked working on the film.
Are you nervous when your film is on release?
Yes. Any job for which the janta (audience) is going to deliver its verdict is always a scary one. Every artiste is afraid of being judged, especially by the public. If you are an artiste who is making the piece of art for himself, it’s fine.
In such a nervous state, how do you take the reviews and comments by critics and trade analysts?
I am very eager to read what they have to say. They say that they will not read a particular critic because it doesn’t matter. But, at heart, every artiste awaits reviews. For instance, they would be waiting for your review and they will jump straight to the last part of your review, where the film’s box-office performance is predicted. Critics have a valid profession. I know that because I have been exposed to the criticism of my dad’s writings also. In fact, even before I joined films – when I was working as a business executive in Calcutta – I used to do plays. I remember, the plays were typically performed on Saturdays and I would be eagerly waiting for the reviews of the play on Sunday morning. We used to stay awake the whole night at the place where the paper would be delivered the next morning!
But many years ago, you had gone off-press…
That’s a long story. I banned the media only after they had banned me. After that, the ban went on for 10-15 years… but the media did not stop writing about me. Yes, for a few years, the media stopped printing my name and pictures. As fate would have it, most of my films in that period worked really well, so, I, at least, have the consolation that whatever the critics might say, I did well at the box-office. I read a lot about myself, heard a lot; but all that didn’t affect me much.