Did you give a speech?
Yes I did. It was part of the protocol and a meticulously designed formal procedure.
Were you accompanied by family ?
No. Jaya had to be in Mumbai to be with my ailing mother, now hospitalised, and also to be present a day before in Parliament for her swearing in. Abhishek was in South Africa shooting for Dhoom 2. But, the family was more than ably represented by Amar Singhji.
Were you also there for a shooting?
I was shooting for Baabul, left for Mumbai and connected to Delhi the next morning, witnessed the swearing in, came back to Mumbai by the evening and at night took the flight back to London to resume shooting the following morning. I returned early this morning and am on set of Baabul as I speak to you.
BAFTA held a Bollywood Weekend recently. Why weren't you there?
BAFTA is the British Academy of Film Theatre and Arts... I presume..or something similar... It is NOT... the BRITISH ACADEMY FOR TRIVIAL AMITABH !!
Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna casts you in an avatar never seen before.
A happy-go-lucky Lothario, open- minded and honest about his activities, even though they are below the belt - and the pun is intended !! But, also, as the senior- most character in the film, he bears a certain responsibility of guiding and monitoring others who seem to be drifting in the wrong direction . My character's ability to judge and advise in moments of extreme sensitivity are perhaps the crux of what the film deep down intends to convey .If a marriage is not working out, it is better to walk away from it, rather than continue just because society and tradition so dictates . Why suffer the pain anguish and incompatibility by remaining with it?
Quite a novel character for you?
Yes.. .it is new for me. A fun- loving skirt- chaser. Good humoured. Living thus, because he has been permitted to do so, in an abstract sort of way, but has his moments of softness, which hopefully will redeem his otherwise -flamboyant and somewhat frivolous nature.
You once described your character as a 'colourful old man'. How colourful ?
It's not all colour . There are at end of it all, portions which are black and white as well !
How do you see KANK at the box-office?
It is going to be huge.The detailing is flawless. The screen-play and dialogue have panache and finesse. The performances from all his artists are without error and the way Karan has put all this together is a marvel.
Did you miss Jaya in KANK?
There was no space for Jaya in this film. And I personally feel she would not have wanted to be in it either, because there was nothing for her to do. There was no role in the film where you could have said, 'This should have been done by Jaya' . On the contrary, she was very apprehensive about my role and felt I should not be accepting it. After the trial I have not ascertained from her, whether her apprehensions were justified or not.
Karan missed her throughout the film.
Karan misses her as not just another member of the cast. Let me tell you she spent a large number of days with us on location and even visited the sets, here in Mumbai. She never does that for any of my other films. Which really speaks a lot about her relationship with the Johar family, a family she treats as her own. As do all of us.
How different is Karan's approach to filmmaking this time as compared with K3G?
His approach is no different from K3G, I believe, or indeed, from any of his other films. He is well- planned and crystal -clear about what he wants. On occasion, and these are few and far, when you surprise him with something not pre-planned, he will ponder for long on why he didn't think of it earlier. That is, if he decides to accept your suggestion.
Karan says he was playing to the galleries in K3G, not in KANK. Do you agree?
The galleries haven't opened yet, so I cannot say. But he has greater knowledge of them and is far more accomplished to make such an observation.
How was the camaraderie in NY with the entire cast?
Damn good !! It was a picnic !!
Abhishek plays your son again. How different is this father-son relationship from the one in Sarkar?
In both we are father and son on the same side of the fence. Sarkar was intense and dramatic, KANK is light- hearted and friendly, wram and open. In the former father and son shared the grim intricacies of the system, falling victims to it and surviving. Here we share intricacies, perhaps frivolous and risque in content. But the affection, emotion and love are all-pervasive . And yes we still survive. Well..almost !!
Describe your interaction with Shah Rukh, Rani and Preity.
We were a happy, fun- loving, pulling each other's legs, intensely mad and grossly misbehaved group of wannabe's on the set. But... when the camera went on...we continued to be the same!!
In some ways KANK has been a truly stressful experience for you. You fell ill, had to postpone schedules. Good memories or bad memories of KANK?
C'est la vie..!! That's life , baby! You come across all kinds of situations. The important thing is how you face or cope with them. I would like to believe we faced them well. There was never a stressful moment during the making of KANK. And if there was, we never came to know of it, or were ever made aware of. That is why Dharma Productions and Karan Johar are by far the best Production House and Producer that I have worked with. In fact we were all thoroughly spoilt, by Karan's generosity. His excessive spending would most certainly have raised Yashji's (Karan's father, Yash Johar ) eyebrows several times.
The film is about fidelity and trust in a marriage. How important do you personally think these qualities are to a marriage?
They are the foundation of all associations.