What has made you stay off the big screen these days?
The roles that are offered to me these days are not challenging enough to excite me. The only exception was my last film SAMAANTAR where I got to play a really meaty role that has some depth in it.
You did SAMAANTAR because it was your wife Sandhya Gokhale’s film…
Being my wife is the least of her qualifications. She is a multi-faceted personality…a very capable writer; and she takes all burdens off my shoulders in a whisk. Without her support in life I am of no worth. It’s because of her that I don’t have to bother about a single thing in life. As for SAMAANTAR, she wrote such an exceptionally exciting script that I myself got tempted and sprang at it.
Yes. I depend on her so much that if she says ‘okay’ to a shot, I blindly go by that.
“I am of no worth without my wife”
I am scared of this word ‘comeback’. For making a comeback, you need to go somewhere. But I was here throughout. It’s just that after KHAMOSH I didn’t feel that a role worth doing was offered to me by the Hindi film industry.
What’s your signature style when it comes to filmmaking?
In all my films I try to capture different issues…explore them; basically, man-woman relationship. I repeatedly try to explore all possible aspects of man-woman relationship in all my films.
How will you rate yourself as a filmmaker?
I make good films that have good content.
Script decides the language of my films. For me, it’s the script that decides everything-language, location, actors, music…and even the director. That’s how THAANG was made in English (Quest). And ONCE AGAIN has been made in English too.
You once said Marathi films are today’s art films. Can you elaborate?
I sincerely believe that Marathi films are leading the parallel cinema movement in India. The baton from Bengali and Malayalam filmmakers has been passed to Marathi filmmakers. It has broken the myth that only Hindi films are successful at the Box Office. Now-a-days even multiplexes are promoting Marathi films.
Why is that you mostly make parallel films?
I don’t sit and think if my films are commercial or non-commercial ones. It’s for you people to decide and label accordingly. When I made ANAAHAT, it ran for 60 weeks in today’s time. Now what will you call a film that ran for so long-art or commercial?
Despite having contemporaries like Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna, you had managed to make your mark as the poster boy of the middle-class in Bollywood…
Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee used to come and watch my plays regularly. One fine day, he offered me RAJNIGANDHA. I was lucky that the film was a super hit; and I got to do the kind of cinema that I wanted to do. As I said earlier, be it as an actor, or a filmmaker, I never try to categorize films into art and commercial.
What do you think of the kind of films being made in Bollywood these days?
I think the young generation is doing fine. A number of meaningful cinema is being made in Bollywood these days. Take for example A WEDNESDAY, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR and CHAK DE.
Are there any favourites?
Yes…quite a lot. Neeraj Pandey, Zoya Akhtar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Anurag Kashyap…they are all trying to make sensible cinema.