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'Who cares about critics?'

He is not called Mr Blockbuster for nothing. His comic Midas touch has worked on film after film. Rohit Shetty doesn’t take it too seriously though. He won’t let success go to his head, he says. Now all set to show his Ajay Devgn starrer and to roll his first film without good friend Ajay Devgn, Shetty talks about working with Shah Rukh Khan for the first time and what exactly he thinks about film critics…

People in the industry have given you the tag of Mr Blockbuster. How seriously do you take the tag?
I am not taking it very seriously and I have no clue how it started but obviously you feel good. At first, it did not sink in. These tags come with a big responsibility and bring in a different kind of pressure.

How do you manage to let success not go to your head?
I have friends in the industry who are very honest and give me a reality check. I know that nothing is permanent and one Friday can change everything. There are many people behind my success and I will never forget them.

The critics love to hate you...
Who cares about critics. I guess they don’t like my cinema. That’s okay. God has given me so much and the audience is more important to me than getting the stars. I have never claimed that I am making a National Award winning film, so I wonder what wrong am I doing? When I am clear that I am making an entertaining commercial film, then why do critics have an opinion about it as if it were an intellectual film?

You are probably one of the few successful directors who have not turned a producer.
If everyone becomes a producer, how will the industry function? These days the stakes are extremely high. I have the pressure of two R 100 crore films behind me; so why add the pressure of becoming a producer?

Many producers want to sign you on for their banners and even offer huge money. But you haen’t given in. Do you not get tempted?
Hota hai. I am also a human being but I am from the film industry and I know how it functions. It’s a long journey and I have just started out. I don’t want to spend myself in one go.

You bought the rights of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Golmaal for your upcoming film...
I just wanted to be honest. It would have been easy for me to say that my film is not based on Golmaal and I could have easily fought it out. But I took the rights as the basic plot is inspired from the film.

After eight films with Ajay, you are making a romantic film with SRK...
Yes, I have never done a romantic film before but this has the Rohit Shetty-mark on it. Shah Rukh is a fab producer and I am in the process of starting the film soon.

Was Ajay okay with your decision to make a film with his rival SRK?
When I told Ajay that I was doing Chennai Express with SRK, he said, ‘superb’. Neither of them asks me anything about each other and I sometimes wonder why people say these things about them. They are both mature people, who have huge empires and they have so much work to do. 

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