In Conversation with Subhash K Jha
Kannada actress and Congress I politician Ramya was labelled seditious for saying Pakistan is not hell. You’ve had close emotional ties with people in Pakistan. What do have to say on this?
It is wrong to mix personal relations with the political. The lady went to Pakistan and she found the atmosphere civil and warm. So she said so. To say the country is not hell is by no means anti-national.Let the political and personal not be mixed. Even I share warm relations in Pakistan in my personal capacity.Zia-ul-Haq’s daughter Zian is like my sister.
You had even attended Zian’s son’s marriage in Islamabad?
Yes ,and Zian Haq was in Mumbai as my guest. Zian is my mooh-boli bahen .She was here as my guest. My relations with Zia-Ul- Haq’s family have nothing to do with politics.
Do you feel the peace talks between the two countries must continue?
Compared with earlier times the civilians in Pakistan are very pro-India today. I was there in Lahore when India won and Pakistan lost the cricket match. There was no hungama after that. Progressive-thinking people on both sides want peace. The dialogue between the two countries must continue uninterrupted.
Do you intend to visit Pakistan any time soon?
Yes,I will be visiting Pakistan again very soon to meet my sister Zian.There should be no politics in our relationship on a human and humane level.Look at the life of the Pakistani philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhiwho passed away recently. He was was the person who rescued and sheltered Geeta the mute girl who strayed from India to Pakistan.We have good people on both sides of the border.
How do you feel about your daughter Sonakshi’s triumphant performance in Akira?
I’ve seen how hard she has worked for the action scenes,her fierce dedication to getting the stunts right is beyond anyone’s imagination. We had converted one floor of our home into a makeshift training ground for action scenes for six months.In my entire career as an actor I’ve never prepared so much.
Come on,Shatruji, when did you have a chance to prepare? You used to do three shooting per day?
That’s true. But for a film like Gautam Ghose’s Antarjali Yatra I had done a lot of preparation. But not as much as Sonakshi did for Akira.
You staged your play Pati Patni Aur Main in your home town Patna recently where you took a dig at Prohibition in Nitish Kumar’s presence?
(laughs) It was all in good spirit, no pun intended.Over the years I’ve added new lines and situations to the play. Recently I had introduced some lines about censorship as an acknowledgement of the good work that my friend Pahlaj Nihalani is doing. The lines on drinking got me a lot of applause during the Patna performance. Even Nitishji appreciated it.