Anil has a full year ahead. Apart from his daughter's debut, he has turned producer. While his first production, Gandhi, My Father was released earlier this year Anil moves forward bang-on with his second production Shortcut. “Shortcut is a remake of a Malayalam film which my friend Anees Bazmi is directing for me. Akshaye Khanna and Arshad Warsi will play the lead. I'll only be putting in a cameo appearance. It's impossible for me to manage acting and production at the same time."
Talk veers to Anil's blue-eyed boy, Akshaye Khanna. "Why just Akshaye? I also think Hrithik and Abhishek are damn good. But yes, Akshaye is the best thing about Salaam-e-Ishq, and I'm not saying that only because he's in my two productions. As for me, I really like my track with Juhi Chawla. In our heydays, Juhi and I just did three films together. We should've done a lot more films together. We're really compatible." Remind him that he was equally enthusiastic about Mallika Sherawat in his last release Darna Zaroori Hai, and Anil screams, "Arrey yaar, tu marwayega. Please don't compare Juhi with Mallika. But yes I was really impressed by Mallika's performance in Murder. She has a lot of spirit."
Spirited comedy is what Anil hopes to achieve with friend Anees Bazmi in Welcome. "We had a laugh riot in No Entry. We hope to achieve the same degree of humor in Welcome. I thoroughly enjoy working with directors like Nikhil Advani and Anees who are so full of innovative ideas. But I'm also having a ball working with Subhash Ghai again in Black&White. I have done five films with him. Still, this one feels like the first. I like people who can match my level of enthusiasm. Subhashji is one such person. Black&White is a very intimate and compact story. We're all having a ball. It's meant to be a small film. But knowing Subhashji it will become big by the time it's released." Anil plays 'white', meaning the good guy. The bad guy is played by an NSD graduate named Anurag. "He has immense intensity…Speaking of which, Abhishek was fab in Guru… I like the way he has worked on his physique in Guru to transform into character. When I tried something like that in Viraasat years ago, people sniggered that I was growing a moustache and my hair because I had no work. I just work and focus on nothing else. I 'm now reaping the harvest of the work that I've done. I always concentrated on playing characters rather than being a star. Over the years, I've tried not to dilute my vision. I still have a lot to do. I love to work with newer directors like G.J Philips in My Wife's Murder and Nikhil Advani in Salaam-e-Ishq. They give me an incentive to match up their energy. The last few years have been great. God has given me everything…well, almost."