Why don't you sue the magazine?
If the legal system in our country were strong enough, I would have filed a case. I checked with my lawyers and they tell me that I should take it up if I want to spend the next 20 years of my life fighting a case. All this distracts me from my work, which I love doing.
What is your reaction to these stories?
Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I get irritated. There are moments when I also feel sad, especially when I think that some people have to earn money by lying about others. The only thing that keeps me going is that I know in my heart that my audience knows me. I know that they won't believe the crap that is written about me.
How do your family and kids react?
My family is used to it. So they don't believe it. As for my kids, if anything has to be told to them, I'll tell them. They will never find out what's happening in their father's life from the media.
It's almost as if you operate in an alternative industry: you work with your own group of people, you don't attend award functions, don't sip coffee on talk shows and hardly give interviews. Is it by design?
(Laughs) I think that's a wrong way of putting it. I'm very much a part and product of this industry. It's just that whatever I do in my life, small or big, I like to do it on my terms. I like doing things that I believe in. I can see that I'm an oddball and I don't fit the requirements of what is recognised as a star today.
What is your definition of being a star?
In my opinion, a star is defined by the number of seats he can fill in the theatres in the first week on his own merit, irrespective of the director and co-stars. I've been fulfilling that requirement so far.
Will we ever see you acting in a mindless comedy and a mushy romance?
I don't want to use the words 'mindless' and 'mushy' loosely. I would like to do a purely romantic film, which may not be in the realm of logic, which is what Fanaa was. It was not a logical film but it was from the heart. But I have to confess that I'm comfortable doing different kinds of cinema. I want people to be entertained in different ways and I want to be able to entertain them in different ways.
Of late, you've worked with a lot of new or less successful directors. Do you want to give new people a break?
My purpose is not to give other people an opportunity. My purpose is to do films I like so that I can entertain people. I do films with directors in whom I have faith. It doesn't matter how their last film fared, as in the case of Rakeysh Mehra and Ashutosh Gowariker. My choice of what film I'm doing depends on three factors: trust and faith in the director, the script he wants to make and the producer. I don't compromise on any of these.
There are rumours that you (and not Amol Gupte) have directed Taare Zameen Par.
Yes, that's true. But that's not how it started out. A couple of years ago, Amol came to me with a script that I fell in love with. He wanted me to act in it and produce it. I was happy to do both. Amol wanted to direct the film and I agreed since I felt he was capable. But one week into the shooting of Taare Zameen Par, I wasn't happy with what I saw of the rushes. I lost faith in Amol and his capability of translating on screen what he had so beautifully written on paper. At which point, I expressed my feelings to him and did what was fair and returned the script back to him so that he could direct it for another producer, with another actor. But Amol came back to me and said he wants me to continue as the producer and he decided to step back as the director. After going through various names and options, Amol suggested that I take over as director. Our main concern was the child who has a pivotal role in the film. Both of us felt that we had found a magical child in Darsheel Safary. Any new director coming in would mean a delay of six to eight months and we were afraid Darsheel might grow up. It was Amol's suggestion that I take over as director. So I took on the responsibility and did the best I could.