How do you keep fit at 47?
I don’t have excesses — I don’t overeat or overindulge. I have no bad habits, except coffee and smoking. I sleep as many hours as required. I have a few days off presently, after which I won’t be able to spend time with my kids for some time. So I am currently keeping them awake till 3-4 am; but apart from that, I don’t have any late nights.
Has age taken a toll on your thinking yet?
My mind is much faster than my body.
What was it like to play an army officer in Jab Tak Hai Jaan?
I am glad I am playing an army officer. I hope that by portraying characters from the armed forces in our films, we can popularise the profession. Our army, navy and air force are beyond being a profession, it’s a dedication to your nation.
I will be glad if even one young boy is inspired to join the armed forces after watching the film because it is the most honourable and noble
You star alongside two heroines in JTHJ. The last time you did that was in Veer Zaara. What took you so long?
I only do love stories with beautiful women. I was waiting for them to come around again. My eight year-old search ends with Katrina (Kaif) and Anushka (Sharma). I called Yashji and told him, ‘mil gayi’. The object of desire has to be beautiful. Lately, many people tell me that I am better-looking than the heroines.
This year, it will be 20 years since your first hit, Deewana (1992). Are you happy with your journey?
I like my job. I just get up everyday and work. I am happy when people say that working with me is like a dream come true for them. I never had big dreams, I just wanted to work hard and be accepted. I got more than what I had wanted. I will not do anything to tarnish this happiness. I will continue to achieve greater heights and work hard in the film industry.
Which of your films is close to your heart?
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa was special, as it was one of my first films. Some of the scenes in the film were completely contrary to the script. I would do what my heart said. There was a scene between Suchitra and Deepak where they are kissing each other and I watch them. In the scene I am supposed to keep looking and feel really sad. But I would run away each time the camera was switched on. I said, ‘If a girl I love is being kissed by another guy then I have to beat him. But this guy looks big; I can’t beat him so I am going to run away.’ There was a lot of honesty and earnestness in that film.
I think it is beautiful to be in love like that where you keep on lying — not cheating — to get things done because you are not that attractive.
You have worked with most of the major names in the industry. Are there any names you want to work with?
I wanted to work with a few actors when I joined Bollywood. I have worked with some of them, Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan), Sridevi, because these were the actors we used to see when we were in college. But I also wanted to work with Sanjeev Kumar, Madhubala, Dilip Kumar and Balraj Sahni. I am working with Kamini Kaushal in Chennai Express.
The Diwali clash between JTHJ and Ajay Devgn’s Son Of Sardaar is getting serious. Reportedly, Ajay Devgn has sent a legal notice to JTHJ producers Yash Raj Films about locking the majority of screens.
I read this in the newspapers. Fortunately, this time, I haven’t got a legal notice. I am not the producer of the film; and the matter is between the two producers. I have no idea about the legality; it must be a company-to-company thing. I just hope they resolve it nicely in whichever way possible.
I feel there is enough space for everyone to release their film. I just hope our film releases and everybody enjoys it on Diwali. For the good of everybody, all films that release should do really well.
How do you look back at the public interview you did with Yash Chopra just days before he passed away?
I was very moved by the fact that he came out publicly and said this would be his last film. I have worked for 20 years with him and am also going to be a part of his last legacy. Now when one looks back, it is his last movie — in more than one way — not that one would have wanted it to be like that.
What are some of the best memories you have of him?
Yashji was very young. He wasn’t 80, he was 18. We had some awesome times. I have had really young conversations with him, younger than the conversations that I would have with people my age or even younger. We talked about everything. In his own fun way, he would relate incidents that happened in films before my time. We had a great rapport. He radiated energy and happiness.