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Q. There is no end to creativity. Where do you think you will stop, satisfied?
A. I am never satisfied. Every night, when I reach home, I reprimand myself that I did not get this scene right, and I could have done better with that scene. This carries on to the next day, when I go to the set and work with double intensity. I have always been like this. I only do what I want to. I also keep tabs on how much each one in my team is doing, knowing that all of them cannot be like me. I remember Moti was quite flustered once. He threatened to leave right then. I explained to him that he may get offended with what I have to say now, but, two years later, when people still talk about his music, he will appreciate my words. Thankfully, he listened to me.
Q. How different is the Sanjay who directed 'Khamoshi' from the one who directed Saawariya?
A. The Sanjay who made 'Khamoshi' was rejected by the audience and critics, while the Sanjay who made Saawariya has a following. There was no audience for 'Khamoshi', now Saawariya is awaited with zeal. I felt weak then, I feel bold and stronger now. I am more polished now. The one thing in common between the two Sanjays is the willingness to work hard towards a goal. I am still the simple, sensitive Sanjay that I was then.
Q. Salman Khan says that your films always go over-budget. Do you worry about money?
A. Like I said, I do not want to compromise on my movies. I believe in living for the moment. I do not want to think, fifty years hence, that I cheated on my vision because of money. Not just money, even the time, set, location, music and dance – I do not want to repent on any of these aspects. I want every detail in my movies to be imprinted in the minds of the audience.
Q. Is it true that Saawariya is not pure entertainment, but that there is a social message attached?
A. Saawariya is a very beautiful love story. I have treated it quite differently from my other films. The film is only two hours and six minutes long. After Black, the response was so good that my enthusiasm increased. Page 3, Iqbal, and Gangster released the same year, and none of these movies were conventional mainstream movies. The audience loved them anyway. This convinced me that the Indian audience is ready to watch something new, something different. I am confident that the audience will love Saawariya.
Q. Was it a good move to let Salman Khan and Rani Mukherjee share screen space with Ranbir and Sonam?
A. Salman and Rani are part of the story. Their support is necessary. If I had taken lesser actors, then it would have fallen flat on its face. What they have brought to the movie is incredible. They not only supported Ranbir and Sonam, they taught them as well. The kids were not allowed to worry because these two fine actors were there. They showered a lot of affection on the newcomers.
Q. Is it true that the story is based on Dostoevsky's short story, 'White Nights'?
A. Yes, it is. I read the story after I made the film Black. I read many more stories, but they lacked that potential in them to make a good movie. This story had a lot of passion, movement and situations. The characters touch your heart. And yet, it is a simple story. The protagonist can be a Hindi movie hero. I made the story a movie which would imbibe any kind of music. It is a story of pure love, the stuff that Hindi movies are made of. It was a challenge for me to capture the Indianness of the story and to make it a commercial film.
Q. In the two years that you worked on the music for Saawariya, you must have recorded some 17-18 songs. You included only ten songs in the movie. Where are the others?
A. I have recorded them on a CD and I listen to them every night, wondering why I have not used them in the movie. If I had my way, I would insert one song in every scene. Maybe I will use these songs in my next movie. Like the song, "Thoda Badmash' – I had recorded it during my Devdas days, but I used it in this movie. Anyway, it is not necessary that each song that is recorded has to be used in the movie. I give more importance to the songs that make for good visuals, and are fun to shoot. Nasir Hussain not only gave us great visuals for good songs, but also had a good time shooting for them.
Q. We catch a glimpse of the RK Banner in your movie.
A. I am blessed to have Raj Kapoor's name mentioned in my film. No one could have imagined that I, one of his biggest fans, would launch the fourth generation star grandson of the man who launched many stars. That is why I have christened my lead Ranbir Raj. This is my way of paying tribute to a great filmmaker.
Q. Your movie will release on the same day as Om Shanti Om. Apprehensive?
A. I don't believe in collision and comparison. Shahrukh and Farah have made a movie that is entirely different from the one I have made. The two movies are not comparable. Farah and I are different from each other as filmmakers. Both Shahrukh and Farah are my friends. And I do not compete with friends. Of course, I hope Om Shanti Om runs, but I hope Saawariya runs better. Creativity should call for healthy competition, where one can better his work.