Recently, Sholay celebrated 35 years. There was widespread speculation on your non-participation in the events. What is the truth?
I am unaware of any events that were undertaken for 35 years of Sholay! I was requested to do a TV interview on the film for a channel I cannot remember now. But I do remember Anna Vetticad asking me for it. I regretted it because I had already contractually done an interview for Zee TV on a programme, which was showing a film of mine every Saturday. I did not think it to be ethically correct to do it for another channel. It would have meant dishonouring a contractual obligation. Besides, I was out of the country during that time.
The telecast of KBC is around the corner. How has the preparation been so far?
The preparations have been as preparations should be. We have been doing mock rehearsals for the show and soon we shall be getting into the technical aspects of it on set, before starting to record for broadcast. All other aspects of the show are being handled by the channel Sony and they inform me as does Siddharth Basu, that everything is on schedule. The initial selection process for prospective candidates for the show is in progress and Sony informs me that soon they would be in a position to announce them as well.
Do you see the changes in the format as being conducive to a more interactive show?
Yes, I do. Certain elements have been introduced that shall make it more interactive, not just with contestant on the hot seat but with those who'll be watching.
Having hosted the show twice earlier, is it like returning home?
Yes there is a feel of great nostalgia. Of working with the same production team as last time along with Siddharth Basu. And always the desire to recollect some of the moments that went by during the first association with KBC.
One change that has occurred in your life since the last KBC is the blog. How much more open to the participative spirit of KBC has the blog made you?
I don't think the blog has anything to do with the participative spirit you talk of. Perhaps the blog has made the fans and well wishers come closer; more reactive. There is more information about my daily life than before perhaps, primarily because the medium was not present then. But now, since there is so much activity via Blog, Twitter and Bachchan Bol, the Vog, I would assume that it would make the spirit on set more casual than formal. Which I think bodes well for the game show. It relaxes the atmosphere for the competitor and hopefully helps him or her to perform better.
Coming to your films, there is an impressive line up gathering momentum again. Raj Santoshi's Power requires you to be extremely agile and action-oriented. Does that mean we need to get worried about your safety precautions?
Yes, there are a few films ready to go on the floors... Rajkumar Santoshi's Power, Puri Jagganath with Buddaa, Prakash Jha with Aarakshan. Balki is working on the script for our next, as they are an excited bunch of younger and fresh talent about to make their directorial debut. I have approved a project by Rakeysh Mehra as producer for a subject to be made under his banner and directed by his assistant Sunil. And very recently, Priyadarshan has narrated a subject which we are working on. Action films have always been in the need for agility and I guess keeping my age in mind the stunts shall be designed accordingly. Though accidents do happen at times despite all the required precautions.