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Theatre is live content, and you can tell if you have worked your audience.
– Om Puri
When Nandita expressed a desire to write about me, I couldn’t stop her because she’s my wife, but she has forgotten who she is.
I am grateful to theatre for making me what I am today. But it’s not like theatre is my first love. I am equally attached to cinema, which is, actually, a child of theatre, since it borrows heavily from it.
I have been in the film industry for 35 years, and everyone, including the spot-boys, will vouch for my character.
I have no regrets at all. I have done quite well for myself. I didn’t have a conventional face, but I have done well, and I am proud of it.
I don’t expect anything from anybody. When you grow old… Your days are gone; it is part of life.
We have filmmakers who make films with some kind of responsibility and take cinema seriously like Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani, Prakash Jha. But now these people also take stars… Without stars they cannot work.
I don’t spend on expensive brands. I don’t need foreign holidays.
What Bollywood lacks is scripts. A lot of the films are copies of western films.
Actors are just soldiers who follow commands.
When I was at school, I wanted to join the army. At college, I started acting in college plays, and it became a kind of addiction. I was very shy when I was at school, but the plays seemed to give voice to my feelings.
I personally enjoy theatre, but preferably I do films so that I can reach up to maximum audience. If you want to give a serious message, it will reach out to maximum people through films. But through theatre, you can hardly reach out to about 3,000 audience at a time.
In western countries, there are roles written for older actors. Films are made on them, including love stories.
I prefer working in good cinema, wherever it is. I like subjects that have a universal appeal.
In theatre, you’ve got to make the connect with your audience in the first three minutes. If you haven’t, you know you’ve almost lost them.
Fat noses have no place in the Hindi film industry. But it is not so in the West – otherwise, Anthony Quinn would have never been an actor.
Meeting Helen Mirren was a fabulous experience. I had played it out in my mind, how I should greet her when we would be introduced. But the way we met was funny because I just didn’t recognise her!
Parallel cinema has not made an effort to communicate in a language the other person understands.
I feel even old people can do a nice love story, but here we don’t make that kind of films. In the West, such films are being made and they make a nice romance, which is more like compassion.
I was very sensitive to the environment around, and this disparity in people, seeing beggars and laborers not paid well, used to disturb me. So these emotions in these roles came very naturally to me.
The fact is I like Mumbai less and less. My son says, ‘Baba, let’s go for a drive’, and I tell him, ‘Where’s the fun of a drive in this place?’ You get caught in a million traffic jams, and you spend time cooped in your car with all that mad cacophony around you.
Every person wants to stretch himself and widen his audience. Since Hollywood has got more exposure and is shown all over the world, it’s obvious that every actor would want to do an English film and explore himself.
It is my first preference to do films with social significance. Art cinema has given me credibility and status as an actor, but commercial cinema has given me a comfortable living.
As a young man, I was very introverted and quiet, but with a lot of intensity and feelings.
I had hoped when my life was chronicled, it would be an inspirational story.