How important is it for an actor today to be a businessman?
I don’t think in those terms. However, being an actor doesn’t mean I don’t have any other interests. I love sports. If I didn’t have an injury, I would have been a professional sportsman. If my kids want to be professional sportspersons, I would love it. When I got the chance to be a part of entertainment, which I belong to, and in a way sports, then it becomes a natural affinity. Similarly, since I am a science student and geeky in terms of gizmos and spend a lot of time on computers, VFX is a natural affinity. Also, I believe in education. When you meet educated actors, you can tell the difference. Besides, my biggest love is children. I saw Kidzania in Dubai, where my kids ended up spending eight hours. I liked it and the Chandarias, who had the franchise, happened to be friends of Jai (Mehta) and Juhi (Chawla). And I thought if I can afford it, I should bring it to India and reach out to all the children here.
Whether it’s your roles or ventures, you have never shied away from taking risks. Aren’t you scared?
Why should I be? Somebody asked me ‘don’t you get up in the morning scared of losing your stardom?’. I have nothing to lose. A young girl once told me that she had waited 26 years to see me. Tomorrow, even if I lose everything you can’t take away from the fact that a girl waited 26 years to meet me and say ‘I love you’. Even as far as my roles are concerned, whether it’s Baazigar, Darr, Chak De! India, Don, Devdas, Ra.one or Jab Tak Hai Jaan, I have never been confined by what is right. When you are successful, two things happen which are dangerous — you lose the ability to fail because people think you should just be winning, and you also lose ability to surprise audiences. If you are scared of failure, you will be scared to do new things. It goes hand-in-hand. I have got name, fame, car, kids, bungalow, a production house — everything is paid for, I have no loans or debts. Hopefully, with my new venture, I will be able to participate in social building and future building because life and this country has given me too much for me not to give back.
A lot is being written about chances of Salman Khan and you patching up after he was seen at the premiere of your film...
There’s nothing like that. Patch up, makeup, hug — all these are childish words. Life is more than that, at least, at this stage in my life. Some people are part of your family and friends, some people are not. It’s not the most important thing. It’s written about in the paper and people think I am talking about it but there’s nothing to it. How often do you sit down and think woh ek dost tha, hoga ki nahi etc? You are more concerned about subah uthke jaana hai, aaj nahi jaana hai... Why should it be any different for actors? When you are friends with people, especially girls, you are looked down upon and on the other hand when you are not friends with a man, I am told, you should be friends. It’s very odd.
Among your forthcoming films, has the heroine for Farah Khan’s film been finalised?
Even the heroes are not finalised yet, heroine toh baad mein aayegi. There are seven important characters in the film. And we’ve to get the right combination. It has to be made among friends because there’s a lot of give and take. In another two months, we’ll finalise everything.