By Hindustan Times
Actor Shah Rukh Khan admits to an “emotional and mental” void in his life after father figure, late filmmaker Yash Chopra, passed away last week. So much so that the 46-year-old has cancelled the shoot of the last song of Chopra’s film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ), in his favourite outdoor location, Switzerland.
“We don’t feel emotionally and mentally ready to go to Switzerland and shoot without Yash ji. You don’t go to Switzerland without Yash Chopra,” says the actor, who will now be a part of a grand farewell in ode to his guru with a lavish premiere of the film on November 12.
What happens now to the swan song in Switzerland that was due to be filmed for JTHJ?
We could not shoot for it as Yash ji was unwell. After he passed away, Karan (Johar) said, ‘Should I shoot it?’ But Adi (Aditya Chopra) said, ‘No we are not going to shoot it.’ If the song is not being shot by Mr Yash Chopra in Switzerland, then even I don’t want to shoot it. None of us wants to. The song will now be played in the background. We’ll use some scenes from what Yash ji’s already shot.
What is the thought behind doing a gala premiere of the film?
Yash Chopra always released his films on Diwali (JTHJ releases on November 13), because his ideology was that it’s a festival of life and happiness. Hope it’s not seen in a wrong sense, but the fact that he’d been making films for the last 50 years, and just 10 days after he made his last film, he passes away — I think in a strange sense is the happiest a filmmaker can be. We as people who’ve experienced him should celebrate what a wonderful and happy life he had. We shall carry forward the reason he made films for, and that was to celebrate life. We are going to have this huge premiere, Insha Allah, on the 12th (of November). To me it has become a little more than a film. That is the best way of giving a tribute or the best way to mourn for Yash Chopra’s passing away and to celebrate the fact that he was a part of our lives.
‘I was never a part of this game’
A newspaper in Pakistan has reported that Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ) will be banned there and the promos have been pulled off air. Are you aware?
I never read the posts that come in newspapers anymore. I don’t know about this. You’ll have to ask the distributors.
Your Diwali release clashes with Ajay Devgn’s Son of Sardar. Does that worry you?
I find this talk of competition within films and actors to be redundant. It’s actually the sensibility of outsiders who don’t know this business or who don’t feel the film. I feel the film. My film is not mathematics. I don’t believe in numbers. I know people think I’m a rich capitalist, a well-to do star. Ya, I’m a rockstar. But all that follows the belief that I’ll only do a film which my heart tells me to. I don’t need to know which other film is coming when my film is coming. With all humility and honesty, when my film comes, then only my film comes. I’m not being derogatory to anyone. But my film comes from the heart. If it’s just about the business, then I hope everyone else’s film does more business than mine.
Trade experts are predicting collections of over Rs. 200 crore for JTHJ. What are your expectations?
I’ll tell you two things. I am not a trade pundit. I am not an astrologer. I am an actor and that’s what makes me unpredictable. I hate numbers. It is so being tunnel visioned to be confined by numbers. I don’t even understand why people celebrate birthdays. You’re just getting older. It’s really stupid to be confined by numbers.
Have you passed on the same outlook towards business of cinema to your kids?
I’ll never be able to teach my son or daughter to be successful in the business of cinema. But they will know how to tell a story from the heart. My son has gone to study abroad. He looks a little educated now. I’ve been an outsider here. I was never a part of this game.
Have you began working on the sequel to RA.One?
Films like that take a little while. I am making three films already (Chennai Express, Happy New Year and A for Apple, B for Billi, C for Cutta). I need to take out some time, which I don’t see happening. It’s huge pre-production work to look into the VFX. It takes about a year. So not right now.
Is it true that you have postoponed Chennai Express to avoid a clash with Salman Khan’s Brindavanam during Eid next year?
Again, utter crap and nonsense of newspapers, with all gentleness and kindness.
You are a very loyal ambassador when it comes to brands you endorse such as Tag Heuer that have become a part of your life through your trademark red glasses and watch. What keeps it going?
I have been fortunate to have had employers who have had an association with me with the mindset of continuing it for a lifetime. Tag Heuer and Hyundai are among those. It has been close to 10 years with Tag now and they have never forced me to promote it in my films. It’s by default that I keep showing off pieces like this Tag Heuer Carrera India Racing Edition Chronograph that I am in Delhi to launch. When I need money, I work, otherwise I attend Tag functions (laughs).
About the song
The song, we hear, was supposed to be as intensely romantic as Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai from Yash Chopra's Daag, the first film that Sr Chopra directed for his home banner Yash Raj Films in 1973.
The song was to be shot in the snowfall capturing the same desperate romance between Shah Rukh and Katrina Kaif that Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore projected in Daag.
For the shoot of the last remaining song in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, director Yash Chopra had a grand vision: a sari-clad Katrina Kaif romancing Shah Rukh Khan in the lush meadows of the Swiss Alps. But unfortunately, his illness and then his sudden death stymied the plan for the song, which would have reflected his trademark directorial style.
It is now also believed that the film's stars Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma will work together to ensure that the film proves to be a fitting tribute to the Bollywood stalwart.