Was it difficult to break out of your action hero image?
No, I think I was lucky to get the right roles at the right time with the right directors. That gave me scope to do many different things. I did Phool aur Kaante, Jigar and Divyashakti, which wasn’t an action film. Then came Dilwale which was a big hitm, followed by Zakhm and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Like that, three-four films came together, so it wasn’t that difficult.
What’s important, critical acclaim or mass popularity?
It should be a balance of both. Nothing works singlehandedly. It’s very important for critics to appreciate your work, it gives you satisfaction. It also makes people see the film. The second aspect too is important for people to see your film and appreciate it because that’s how the collections come.
Action, comedy, romance – what’s your forte?
I really don’t think there is a forte. I should be convinced and charged about the character and the film. Then I tend to do better, but later if I feel that the film is not working or I’m not enjoying playing the character, then it becomes very difficult for me to work. I know it’s not professional of me but that’s how it is. I start losing interest.
Your character Omkara was the central character in that film yet Saif walked away with all the praise…
Nothing like that. There was a hero, there was a villain and I think Saif did brilliantly well. I really think the kind of appreciation I got was good. So it was a balanced thing. Somebody had to do this and somebody had to do that. If I had been asked to do Saif’s role then I wouldn’t have done it, only for one reason that I have done a few negative roles in the recent past. It was getting monotonous for me. I was happier playing Omkara than Langda Tyagi.
You’re playing Veeru’s character in Ram Gopal Verma’s remake of Sholay. What should the audience expect from it?
Sholay has shaped up very well and I’m also waiting for its release. The audience cannot think about the earlier film because the whole concept of this film is different. The setting is urban, the humour is urban and the attitudes too. When you change the situation of the film everything changes. So I don’t think there can be any comparison.
You’ve turned director with U, Me Aur Hum. How is it like to be in the director’s seat?
Nothing different, really. I’m just doing what I was doing earlier when I used to be an assistant director.
Kajol is working in the film. How’s it like to direct your wife?
She’s a great actress and we share a comfort zone. As for who calls the shots, come and see on the sets.