Paresh, you've played negative characters earlier in your career but off late you have been tagged as a comic genius. Is it your previous phase or is it your current roles which makes you feel satisfied?
Paresh Rawal - Any role which is exciting and challenging motivates me. It doesn't matter whether it's negative or positive; it has to be well written.
Can you talk about Mr Bachchan as an actor?
Paresh Rawal - I think at this age to have such a remarkable control over your craft is highly commendable. In Cheeni Kum he has shown his brilliance as an actor because it was a difficult comedy to come up with. It wasn't slapstick or buffoonery. Also, there is a lot to learn from him as an actor, his work ethics, discipline and sense of proportion in his acting because he doesn't go over the board in his performance. He is a very generous actor who is never insecure about his work.
Which is your favourite sweet dish in which the sugar proportion should not be less?
Amitabh Bachchan - Once upon a time I used to eat sweets but now it's very rare that I get tempted to it. I have infact left it. But earlier in my life, I used to love Jalebi and Kheer to such an extent that I would have killed someone to get my hands on those sweets (laughs).
In Cheeni Kum, the signature dish of your restaurant is Hyderabadi Zafrani Pulav. In real life, can you make that dish?
Amitabh Bachchan - No. I cannot even boil water (laugh).
We've seen you in bold roles before; do you think the audiences are ready now to see the older man romancing the younger girls?
Amitabh Bachchan - I don't know what is the correct indicator for that. Whether we should go by critical acclaim or box office. If we go by the latter, then Nishabd was a failure. What I felt went wrong with Nishabd was that the people looked upon it as a moral question and a social negative. What we went out to achieve was how would a man face his family and react to such kind of attraction. We wanted to show the man's mental situation rather than media predicting before its release that Mr Amitabh Bachchan will be seen romancing Jiah Khan. The media could only look at the physical aspect of it.
How do you rate your comedy?
Paresh Rawal - I believe that if my fans don't like my comedy after watching me in a movie then that film is a failure for me. As an actor I've been trained to make people cry, laugh and enjoy any scene I do. So it's my job at the end of the day.
How did you rope in Ilayaraja for the music and what is your favourite track from Cheeni Kum?
Balki - I wanted to work with Ilayaraja because he is one of my favourite music directors. So, one day I went to him to narrate the story and he said that if I had made an original script then he would give an original score for the film. Ilayaraja has given music in more than 800 films in the South of India but it was time that the other parts of India hear his melodious tunes. My favourite track is 'Jaane do na'.
How was the film received in Cannes?
We had kept a very private screening with close friends and media. I hope it was well received. We will come to know this Friday.
Has your family seen the film and what was their reaction?
My son Abhishek has seen the film. He hasn't spoken to me yet but I guess if he hasn't called me up, he must have liked the film (laughs).
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