However, stupendous success has always eluded this talented actor, who insists that he prefers a happy life overa successful one.
Excerpts from the interview:
After a string of comedies, what convinced you to do another funny film, Mr Joe B Carvalho?
I love its straight-faced comedy, that is not vulgar. The industry is full of loud and sexual comedy; we are still harping on that. But I like witty and funny lines which are difficult to write. We have gone far away from clean films like Chashme Buddoor (1981). I hope people like Mr Joe B Carvalho so I can act in Part two and three.
Though you play a detective here, the film is a comedy. Can we not have a serious detective film?
We are scared people who want to play safe. We think people will come to see the film if it’s funny.
After almost 20 years in acting, would you say your career has consisted of more ups or downs?
There have been more downs than ups. I should not complain though … and I generally don’t. But honestly, careerwise, I needed to be in a better place than this. I am good at the job and I deliver. I play it more than the writer has scripted without overdoing it. But in life, I am comfortable and happy.
What didn’t work out?
Sometimes it is luck and sometimes your connections. But God has balanced it. I like a happy life compared to a successful one. God ‘karmically’ asked me what I wanted and in my subconscious, I chose this life.
Why do you say your life is a happy one?
I am able to spend time with my children. I don’t want to suddenly see my kids not looking the same one day - I don’t want my kids to grow up without me. You have to take time out for your family. My wife Maria doesn’t have to manage too many things. She is a working woman and is writing a book also. I have never stopped her from doing anything.
Have you developed cold feet after producing Hum Tum Aur Ghost?
I am a good producer but a bad businessman. I splurge a lot. I need to hire somebody who can look at the business side while I manage the creative side. I want to direct and do lots of films.
Though you have done serious roles, only your comedy roles stay in the minds of the audiences.
I am better off in serious roles than in comedy. Doing serious roles is a piece of cake. But I scrape through when it comes to funny characters. Comedy is far more difficult than drama. But I have been fortunate. I don’t stress about my work or scenes when I get up in the morning.
Your next film Dedh Ishqiya has Naseeruddin Shah. Can a good co-actor act as a catalyst to your performance?
It helps to make it better. I enjoyed Ishqiya because it had Naseer saab. Javed Jaffrey, who is part of Mr Joe B Carvalho, is also tremendous at blending into different characters. And Mr Joe B Carvalho also stars Soha (Ali Khan), who is attempting something new here.
You have acted with everyone in Soha’s family. Between Soha, Kareena, Saif and Kunal Khemmu, who has the best comic timing?
(Ponders) Kareena. She can be very funny and hilarious. She would crack me up. Saif has his own cool and bizarre sense of comedy.
Mr Joe B Carvalho is releasing on the same day as the 3D version of Sholay. Do you think that’s tough competition?
I had never imagined that this would happen. I had started my career with Amitabh Bachchan’s production Tere Mere Sapne. Somewhere down the line, the young generation that has heard a lot about Sholay will probably go for that film. Many may go in for the 3D experience. You can’t argue with Sholay but I would like people to come and watch our film too.
The title of your film is a pun on jo bhi karwa lo. Is there anyone in your life you can say this to?
My kids. They can get me to do just anything.