You've lent your voice to an album of Tagore songs in Hindi. Your attachment to Kolkata and Bengali culture goes a long way.
Yes, I've enjoyed doing it. Indrajit Dasgupta, who has sung the verses, met me with his wife. The unique quality of the concept, the sincerity of the people involved in it and yes, of course Tagore and Bengal were the factors that made me accept this proposal. Kolkata and Bengali culture is a universal phenomenon and the attachments are therefore obvious. My interest is also more personal. I am after all Bengal's Jamai Babu. I need to look at Bengal a little more compassionately; else there can be serious domestic repercussions!
Doing voice-overs has become almost a parallel profession for you....Years ago you had done a commentary for Ray's only Hindi film...and now the first album of Tagore's poems in Hindi.
It's interesting, enjoyable and sometimes constructive too. Producers sometimes need commentary for their films. Documentaries take my voice, for they feel a celebrity is heard better and when there is a cause which is national or of universal importance, it becomes mandatory. Public interest campaigns for health and conduct, or the recent TOI India Poised visual comment, have all been personally and creatively rewarding episodes for me and I shall continue to do them as long as people want me to. The Tagore songs were important. For Hindi speaking non -Bengalis this album shall open up a closer view on the genius of Tagore and his contribution to Literature and Poetry. I am happy to have made a small contribution.
You've also done another remarkable voice-over recently.
Yes, I've just also finished the voice- over in English and Hindi for that fantastic French film The March of the Penguins. It'll be shown at the French Embassy on the 27th of Jan in Delhi when the Legion de Honour is conferred on me. I look forward to that with great anticipation. The film is to be premiered soon after in Mumbai and I shall be there.
You finally saw Guru. Please let me have your comments on the film. Would you like to work with Mani. I believe you came close to working with him in the past.
Yes I saw Guru and I've asked to see it again today and I shall want to see it a 100 times over. It is fantastic. It is Mani's best. And I speak as a viewer, not as a father. Abhishek is phenomenal. I have held myself back on many an occasion from commenting on my son's work, but this time I shall not. To hell with niceties and restraint. Abhishek is incredible! I have been choked with emotion ever since I have emerged from the theatre and still am. This is a role of a lifetime for him and he has given a performance of a lifetime. It's a role any actor worth his salt would die for and it's a performance that any actor worth his salt will envy. This is the truth, because it comes from within. For someone so young in age and in profession, to have performed the way he has is a revelation. It is the culmination of the strife of Abhishek to prove himself in the face of continuing odds and innuendos. And it is ironic, so ironic, that this is what the film Guru is all about. The determination, the will and the strength of a common man to succeed in the face of unending obstacles and his unfaltering courage of conviction, to come out victorious.
I've never heard you like this before!
My father wrote in his biography 'When a father looses to his son, it is his greatest victory!' I've lost to my son! And I'm the happiest father alive!! ABHISHEK IS MY SON!! As for working with Mani I called him last night after the showing and told him now that you have made my son's life, could you make mine as well, please?
How has the year started for you? What do you foresee for yourself in 2007?
I don't wish to foresee anything for myself.