By Hindustan Times
Very soon, we'll have to learn to remember it isn't 2012 anymore. Meanwhile, as the curtain begins to fall on this year, we look back at some of the most interesting and insightful responses the stars gave to our questions.
Your cousin Ranbir said that he was born into luxury. Can you say the same?
We weren’t brought up in luxury, as people think about the Kapoor clan. My mom (Babita) and sister (Karisma) really struggled to give me a better life. Especially my mom, because she was a single parent. Everything was very limited for us. Lolo went to college in local trains, but I escaped that because I didn’t go to college here. But I took the school bus like everyone else. We had one car and didn’t have enough money for a driver. It’s only because mom brought us up like this that we value everything we have today.
How does a superstar's life look at 90?
I was never pleased by my stardom. I have always said that there shouldn't be a term like 'star' for an actor. It is a marketing term, coined by the marketing men. It is the work that I chose to accept that mattered to me and preoccupied me. I always lived a normal life and never got carried away into another world of another personality who sought pampering and constant attention. When you do that, you acquire a false, unapproachable personality.
...Does it sadden you that he (Abhishek) hasn't got to where you are?
Success and failure will happen to everybody and we cannot judge somebody's career according to that. If we didn't have failures we would be abnormal people. I think we are normal people and we face failures and successes. Life is only about how we conduct ourselves, whether we are good human beings or not. And I would be happy if he is just a good human being. When somebody tells you how well you have brought up your son and daughter, and how well-behaved they are… that is like a super successful film for me.
Are you scared of ever losing the fan following you have now?
If the adulation has not affected me now, how will it affect me at all? There are people who take their onscreen image seriously. Luckily, I don’t. Rajesh Khanna is the classic case of a superstar forgotten until he passed away… I have never seen or heard of such unparalleled adulation as his. I was happy to witness a sea of humanity descend on his funeral. But I wish it had all happened when he was alive! He would have been very happy. Love and respect should be accorded in your lifetime. Honestly, I wouldn’t want such pandemonium when I am dead and gone. It’s no use then, because I won’t be able to see or feel the love.
Tell us, why people should go to the theatres for Son Of Sardaar?
I don’t have to tell the audiences anything to lure them. They decide whether a film will be good or bad by watching its first promo. After that, whatever promotions we show, they’re just a reminder that says there is a movie coming up. Impressions are made on the first day of the film. All the super hit films in the past made their mark with their first promos.
You’re all over the place just before the release of any of your films, but not so accessible otherwise. Why?
I have a personality problem. I am extremely shy; an introvert and a private person. I lead a normal life when I am not working. I am not on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere. I like it this way. You’ll see that I don’t have a PR manager to take care of my image, because there isn’t any image that I have set out to create.
Your father, filmmaker Yash Johar, left you a legacy to take forward. Who will carry forward your name?
I may adopt. I love children and I do feel the need to take the legacy forward. I am open to it, but emotionally you have to be ready for it. Raising a child is really a huge responsibility. And I should have that time and emotional energy to give to child. How and when is a decision my mother and I will take a few years from now. My father has given me this company that I have built up, and I cannot see it dwindling into nothing.
Do you agree that because the glamour industry is full of good-looking people, temptations can be big here?
Beautiful people exist in all industries. The IT industry, media, wherever you go, you see beauties around you. So much so that, where I stay in Tamil Nadu, my friends ask me, ‘Mumbai girls are very beautiful, no?’ They find every girl walking down the road beautiful. Let me tell you that one gives in to temptation, or has affairs in all fields. It’s not just the glamour industry. Yes, it exists here, but it also exists outside and I know of it.
Trishala wants to get into movies but you are dead against it. Why?
None of my sisters are in the movies, nor are my nieces going to be. That’s how Dutt sahab, my dad, brought up the girls in the
family and I am just carrying his thought forward. If he had been alive today, Trishala wouldn’thave thought about getting
Some people say you must have had plastic surgery to look like this.
I want to tell these people that instead of whining and criticising, why don’t you move out of your comfort zone, zip your mouth and slog it out? Then let’s talk! There will be a visible change not just in your appearance, but also in your attitude. But if you’re a lazy bum, hooked to TV, and cannot give up your food because you know you can undergo cosmetic surgery, you’re damned!
It doesn’t work like that. Anything that is plastic melts in no time.
What do you have to say about ghost-directing your films?
Honestly, every label accorded to me is by the media and hugely inaccurate. So I don’t have much to say about monikers like ‘perfectionist’, or ‘ghost-director’. If somebody wants to cast aspersions on my relationship with my directors, then it is their lookout. However, by saying that I ghost-direct, the media has overlooked the contributions of my directors in my movies.
...Suddenly, it felt as though Priyanka was an untouchable.
I think it’s great to be flawed. I am hugely flawed and I like it this way. That’s the fun of life. You fall, get up, make mistakes, learn from them, be human and be you.
Is Bollywood unfair to actresses who are past their prime?
...It’s not just the film industry. It’s a mindset that exists in all industries and in every sphere of life. Women are expected to be younger and good looking. Unfortunately, that’s been the mindset for ages. And to put it simply, the film industry is a reflection of society. Let’s ask ourselves: are men and women ever considered equals?
Certain people in the industry believe you exude a kind of arrogance. How did you control the damage?
People may have found it difficult to approach me and I realised that and have worked on it. I used to be socially shy. Now I have become a social animal. I go out, meet and interact with people. I made an effort and I am really enjoying that phase now. Beyond that, I cannot change who I am. I am a Piscean, and they have a lovingly detached attitude towards life.
In an interview I did with Amitabh Bachchan, he said that you were naïve back when you acted with him in Kaizad Gustad’s Boom (2003). Looking back, was your Bollywood debut scary?
It’s really an interesting observation by Mr Bachchan. I was 17 years old when I came here (to Mumbai) and I was genuinely naïve, unlike today’s 17-year-olds, who are far sharper. I viewed everything, every person in the best possible way, and it’s not like I think that’s a bad quality. But it’s a quality that people can take advantage of. I was very trusting. I felt nobody could mean anything wrong or have bad intentions. Yes, I could have been misused or led the wrong way. But there were many different factors as to why nothing bad happened to me and why I could grow very quickly.
Do you feel that the industry is unkind to actresses after a particular time?
A filmmaker chooses an actress keeping the best interest of the film in mind. If he doesn’t cast you, it doesn’t mean there’s a personal agenda. Change is constant and if you have agreed to be part of this industry, you will have to go with the change. You cannot sit at home and crib. Instead, work hard and keep looking beautiful and be open to roles that are exciting and inspiring. Success and failure are not in my hand, but hard work and perseverance are. The biggest example of this is Amitabh Bachchan. He fought it out and reinvented himself. You have to understand the mechanics of durability and longevity and go with the flow.
At 45 you still look so fit. Tell us: how important are face-lifts and plastic surgeries after a certain age?
Youth is a lifestyle; it’s not a blessing from God. If we treat our bodies as if they are not the most precious things we possess, then obviously we will show wear and tear. We’re like a good pair of jeans. If we take care of them, they’ll remain classic forever, but if we batter and abuse them, they’ll look like tattered old rags.
What I’m trying to say is, plastic surgery doesn’t make you fit, it makes you lazy.
A) It’s always obvious, so respect is lost almost instantly.
B) What is wrong with growing old gracefully with health and dignity?
Put down the steroids and the needles and go outside and play with your children and your children’s children, that’s my ‘expensive’ secret.