Abbas' next will be a dark noire thriller occupying a more cerebral head-space and using actors from a different generation. "I'm writing a dark espionage thriller which would take me as far away from the romantic genre as creatively possible. The rom-com limits your choice of actors. I want to do a film with Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Shah, Paresh Rawal…those wonderful actors bring in their own wisdom, maturity and wit with them. I don't want to be doing films that restrict me to the youth market."
Abbas feels that the budget did Jhootha Hi Sahi in. "We can go on doing a post-mortem. But the fact is, when we started the film, a budget of Rs. 30 crores didn't seem exorbitant for a film whose director had Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na behind him, producer (Madhu Mantena) had Ghajini and the leading man was fresh from two hits Dostana and New York. Then suddenly 2010 became the year of the bloodbath. Suddenly films with a budget of Rs 80-100-120 crores began to bomb. We were suddenly seen as being self-indulgent. I've realized the hard way that cost-effectiveness is all-important."
Regarding his wife Pakhi's insipid debut Abbas takes full responsibility. "If people said she looked like an aunty in the film I am to blame completely. I was trying an aspirational style with her. I am the one who thought she should dress up a particular way as she was playing a suicidal character. I'd constantly reject chic clothes for her and opt for the more matter-of-fact dresses. I now realize that dressing up a suicidal character in non-glamorous clothes is suicidal for a film. If Pakhi did not come across as dynamic and beautiful then I failed. I was just too close to her to direct her objectively."
Abbas advises directors in love to stay away from behind the camera when their loved ones are acting. "I owe Pakhi an apology. And I owe myself and my producer Madhu Mantena a successful film."
Abbas completely discards the rumour that he'd be working with his Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na star Imran Khan again.
"Like I told you I am going into the mature older bracket of actors. Imran and I continue to be friends. But I don't see us working together in the near future."