Jackie speaks to CS about how he manages to stay grounded after all these years:
It’s in his genes
I didn’t deliberately take inspiration from any journalist but it must be inside me somewhere. After all, I have observed journalists over a period of 30 years. In fact, my father was a journalist. So it’s in my genes. Even I used to write articles for my website in 1993-94. I used to blog too with pictures. I did that for three years.
The 30 years of my journey in Bollywood have been superb. It’s true I lost my dad, my mom and my brother on the way, but the three went and my wife and two children came in. 'Teen gaye, teen aa gaye!' I grew up at Teen Batti Naka where there were three toilets for 20 people. People used to stand in queues to use them. I kept living there for nine years after Hero released. I was a superstar but I was living there. I’ve seen it all, so I don’t have any illusions about myself. Somebody writes well about me, I feel good. Somebody writes bad, it’s fine.
I don’t have any hang-ups — how can anyone after living 33 years in a chawl? I’ve had a rock-solid upbringing. I’ve seen my mother sell her sarees and utensils for my tuition fees. When you look upto your parents and realise what they have given up to make you reach a certain standard, then you don’t let things like fame and stardom go to your head. These things stay in your bone marrow, they are too deep inside you. When you wake up in the morning, haath pair chal raha hai, be grateful for that. Jaan hai to jahaan hai, my father used to say. Now I understand.
My son doesn’t ask me for advice and I don’t give it. He has already seen what he needs to learn. Things like treating everyone equally — right from the spot boy to the producer, to taking it in your stride whether someone writes good or bad, to not letting stardom go to your head if some of your films become superhits — he knows all this.