Looking back at your illustrious career is there anything which you look at as miraculous? Things which you never expected to happen?
Life itself is a miracle ! What better can one expect or hope for? The fact that I am still alive, the fact that I am still fortunate enough to get some work, the fact that there are a few that still wish well for me, the fact that you seek my responses for an interview are all miracles!
You have been fortunate enough to closely see an enormous change that has happened in the industry, technology wise and otherwise. Is there anything that you wish had happened sooner when you were struggling to get in or when you were at the peak of your career?
Yes, technology has changed, times have changed and that bodes well. But when you get in front of the camera, nothing else matters except your interpretation of the scene as per the directions of your director. Each decade or period of time in the life of any artiste is always looked upon favourably, because at that time of your presence there were many changes that your predecessors did not have and they managed well and became your idols. So we should not have any wishes. We are fortunate to be getting the facilities with changing times and they are most welcome ..
Internationally do you think our films have to be represented better? Or do you think we need to do something beyond what is being done now?
I think our films are being sufficiently well represented internationally. There is a sizeable market for them, and if comparisons are to be made then you need to find out the percentages of other nation countries and the representation that their films are making, to judge whether we are on the right track or not. Indian films have a unique USP, and though they may have been the subject of severe criticism laced with, according to me, unjust cynicism, we have not changed and are now a greatly recognised medium. Let us be very clear on this. We make films, primarily, for our diasporas. The international interest is more than welcome!
As a senior, respected member of the industry, would you want to represent the country in more ways than you already do?
I think that I am fine with whatever little I may be assumed to be doing. I love my country, as do all of us, and to see it grow into a developed nation, a First World nation, rather than one that is often referred to as Third World, would be not only my desire but I believe the desire of every Indian.
As it happened recently with The Good Road and The Lunchbox, there was open criticism about the choice if film that went for Oscars. Do you think this open challenge of authority, which didn’t happen earlier, a sign of growth?
We have the great benefit of living in a free environment, one that gives us constitutional right to be able to express ourselves within its tenets. If there is an official body that has been put in place by the system, it must be honoured. You may have the right to disagree, and make vocal your criticism, but eventually you obey the system. That is the quality of a good citizen. Challenge to authority has always happened, more so in a democratic country like ours. When you say it never 'happened earlier', is not entirely correct. It did. Only you never heard it, because the kind of communication facility that exists now, did not earlier.
You have been handling your career with much dedication and enthusiasm. But when you introspect, is there something that you think could have been improved upon? Or given a choice you would do it differently?
Each day and each moment I look to improve upon all aspects of my life! Doing it differently, perhaps not, for then it would rob me of the benefit of learning from the mistakes that I made.
At this juncture of your career and life, what gives you the most satisfaction?
That I possess the ability to never seek complete satisfaction...
Has your definition of success and happiness changed over the years?
I have no definition to describe success ... happiness being more subjective, is and does contain a definition for me; one that I would not want to disclose.