Danny, will it be wise to say that you are one of the most reclusive people of the film industry?
I don′t think so; all my friends know me well and I meet them on a regular basis. May be in your eyes but that perception could also be because of the fact that at most of the parties where there are people or press is there, I am generally not present. I go to places where there are not many people.
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What actually prompted you to sign this film, Luck?
Primarily, I liked the role in this film. I liked the script and I also liked many things about the film. I liked the casting of this film and when I read the script I found the characters very interesting and I deeply believe this that when the characters are interesting then things automatically develop into a nice confrontation and then the script becomes nice. So that was the main reason, also secondly when I met Soham my intuition said that this guy is going to make a good film .I found him very sincere and hard working.
I can see three generation of actors working in the film, how was the whole experience working with them?
Please don′t put me in that category. Mithun Da is much much senior to me. He is dada to me and I touch his feet. Actually he is the senior most and there are four generations in all in the film. Dada is going to kill me for this (smiles).
But the fact remains that you were his senior at FTII.
Yes, undoubtedly, Mithun Da was junior to me at FTII. But in the 70s and 80s I have played characters which were much senior to him also. Once he made me work as his father in his own home production Boxer and he made sure that I wore some awful wigs and beard. He tortured me all through the shooting of the film. This time too when he was shooting for this film and when I was sitting in the helicopter, Mithun Da was supposed to hang from a cliff and at that time I told him to enjoy yourself. He was laughing away.
Do you feel that actors like Imran Khan and Shrutti Haasan are the future torchbearers of the film industry?
I am sure they are. Imran for example is a very bright young actor and .he is very different from other new comers. He is always aware of whats happening all around and that′s so because he is a trained film student, he has done his course in filmmaking. And that′s a huge advantage for him. As it is he has got a very good beginning with his debut film. I think he is definitely one of the bright guys in the future. For Shrutti, Luck is her first film and I feel that she too is equally talented, she looks very different. She is a natural actress and apart from this she has the gift of creating music and singing. Her way of singing is absolutely different and very powerful.
You just mentioned about singing, don′t you feel that the industry lost a good singer in form of you.
Come on, I did about just three-four song and they all were long time ago. One was with Lata Ji then one with Asha Ji, one with Kishore Da and finally with Rafi saab and after that I stopped singing.
But your song form Kala Sona is toast of radio stations till today?
Yes, the song became very popular. I think they were done when I was at my peek. Audience must have bought the song just for the sake of curiosity. I am not a great singer. These days you see programmes on TV where kids come and sing, and they are truly amazing.
One person who is greatly influenced by you is Akshay Kumar.
I think Akshay is being very modest. Long time ago when he was introduced in movies and when after the release of his initial films when everyone was saying things and criticizing him, at that time in an interview I had said that he is going to be a superstar in future and I am talking about things which took place some 20 years back and it really happened. May be he is repaying that compliment.
Karan Johar is planning to remake Agneepath; do you think there is anyone who can fill in your shoes for the film?
Yes, I had read this somewhere. It′s good why not and anybody can fill in my shoes there are so many talented people all around. Coupled with a good script anyone can play that role.
Do you plan to direct a film someday?
May be some time later. My scripts are very unusual. Once I had also narrated a couple of scripts to producers and directors who wanted to make movies with me. Most of them said that my scripts are absolutely arty types.
You are there in the industry for the past so many years; do you regret not working with any particular actor form the industry?
I am big fan of Dilip Kumar. I read this somewhere that some director is planning to make a film with him. I would work free for that film for that one scene with Dilip Kumar. I am that big fan of Dilip Saab. I hope the film is made. I regret really not working with him, in the 80s someone was planning to make a film with Dilip saab and the script was given to me and I was so excited but somehow the film did not take off. That was very disappointing.
You also share an excellent rapport with Amitabh Bachchan but you hardly worked with him barring three films?
I will never say this, that no projects came to me. Few projects surely came but the part was not good enough and the reason being that I waited for 18 years to work with Amit Ji. There were so many offers in early 70s. I started working with him only in late 80s even Manmohan Desai Ji came with few scripts which featured Amit Ji but I said that I will not work with Amit Ji unless and until there is a part which is better than his part and that′s because he is a superstar. Amit Ji has this baritone, he is taller than me, he is a better actor than me, I won′t be seen otherwise and then after 18 years Mukul Anand came with this part in Agnipath and narrated the script and then I said that I will do this. That was our first movie together and then we did about three four films and most of them I would say were milestones.
You play a henchman to Sanjay Dutt in Luck, you have literally seen his career grow in front of your eyes, how have you observed him over the years?
Sanjay Dutt has really grown into a fabulous actor. I have worked with his father too in some films and I saw him doing his first film Rocky, and few other films. I think he was very good in Mahesh Bhatt′s film Naam. After he devoted himself to exercise his whole persona changed for the better. His whole body language went for a transformation and with that his performance level too changed for the better. Both his Vastaav and Munnabhai were just amazing. Munnabhai was such a lovable character. In Luck he is playing a larger than life kind of character. He is playing a don and has acted very well in the film.
Do you still get irritated when people talk to you about Sholay?
Oh this is still stuck with me because Sholay went on to become such a big hit. But about the irritation part - not really. Initially I had signed the film but my dates clashed as I had given the dates to Firoz Bhai, he was to shoot his film called Dharmatma in Afghanistan. I could not manage to give the dates to Ramesh Ji. I had to back out form the movie and then Sholay became such a big hit. Everybody thought that I would sulk but not really. I have been telling people Sholay becoming a big hit had actually benefited me because Amjad Khan became such a big star after that and the villains became such big stars. Sholay was released two week before Dharmatma and that too was a big hit and then came Kala Sona, Kalicharan and Fakira and they all were blockbusters. My price almost went four times up and that was because Amjad was charging so much of money and I was next to him. Also if I had done that film then we would not have had an amazing actor in the form of Amjad Khan and that would have been really sad.
Thanks a lot.