You were supposed to do the Angoor remake with Rohit Shetty. How did 'Chennai Express' happen?
Ronnie Screwvala had signed Rohit for the 'Angoor' remake. Meanwhile, I had just seen 'Golmaal 3'. We had an Angoor narration and then Rohit told me that he had another script, a love story he had written eight years ago. When I heard it, I fell in love with the story. After that I called everyone and said we should do this project. It was a much bigger film and as a producer, I like to do big films as 'Angoor' by virtue, is a much smaller film.
People in the industry said that you stole Ajay Devgn’s director...
I don’t think mujhe kissi cheez ki chori karne ki zaroorat hai. If people want to gossip, what can I say? Main apne khoon pasine ki khata hoon and I believe that people want to work with me as an actor. So all those who are saying these things... may God bless them.
Rohit Shetty’s films are mostly action. Did your injury come in the way?
I injured my shoulder in December. I informed Rohit and we designed the shoot in a way that we finished the action portions first. Most of the action was set-related so it wasn’t difficult and Rohit is fantastic in his work so it was safe too. In fact, there was not one stuntman used for my stunts and no wires were used either.
When and why did you guys decide to release the film on Eid day?
It all started with my surgery. I was supposed to shoot with Farah (Khan) for 20 days in January for 'Happy New Year' but jab pata chala that I’m injured and I could not delay my surgery for three to four months, we decided to finish the action. But the pain was getting worse so I requested Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Deepika Padukone to allot us 15 days from their 'Ram Leela' schedule. They were gracious enough to agree and then we made the second set in Wai instead of flying to Kodaikanal. We were earlier targetting October 11 but the action sequences got over, so the VFX was done earlier and that’s when we decided that we can try and target Eid.
You had once said that your films do not do well in Bihar. Do you think this massy film with Rohit Shetty will cover that area too?
A distributor told me that aapki picture Bihar mein nahi chalti. But ab release hone ke pehle why should we assume that the film won’t do well? Let’s wait and watch. This regionalisation is small talk. Films are global. I don’t make movies thinking that Bihar mein itna hoga. Artistes sheher ki hisaab se thodi film banate hai. Ho sakta hai meri film yahaan nahi chalti hogi but wahaan chalti hogi. Aur agar kahi chalti nahi hoti, toh 20 saal se thodi na mein kaam karta rehta (laughs).
When Salman Khan and you hugged, it became the talk of the town...
Did I ever talk about my fight with Salman Khan? I don’t think that both of us have any reasons to discuss our personal equations outside. The world has already analysed it for so many years now that the truth now can’t be explained. We are two mature gentlemen. My fight with an actor at a party or my fights with someone at a cricket stadium are my personal issues and I can’t explain them. I don’t wish to explain every every single action of mine. I feel that if love, friendship and relationships become public they become confusing. It was a good opportunity to do what we did. And how we resolve our issues or are they resolved yet or will they ever get resolved, is nobody’s business.
But you seem to have rivalries with Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgn as well....
Log karte honge, main nahi karta. I never had any issues and whenever we meet, we talk. I don’t have rivalry with anyone. My blinkers are on in my race where I don’t see who is behind or ahead when I run it is only me.
About your newborn son AbRam, you said his birth was a happy as well as a sad moment...
He was a premature baby but woh theek ho jayega. Someone asked me about how my son is and I said he is untouched by media and I would like to keep it that way as long as I can. But Shah Rukh Khan ka beta hai to kabhi na kabhi toh dikh hi jayega.