Shahrukh on Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani pre-release
Have you postponed the release of the Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani?
No. Since the film is called Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, we want to
release the film around Republic Day. We had thought of advancing the
release date to Diwali, but since we still had to complete the
background score, we thought it better to stick to the original date.
Everyone - including the producers of Mela and Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai was
inquisitive about our release date. We've told everyone that it's
Usually when an actor turns producer, there's a grave risk of the
film going over-budget. Has your film gone over- budget?
Aren't 12 assistants on the sets a bit too much? It's being said that
too much time and money is being wasted on elaborate discussions.
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is an expensive film. But there's nothing
spectacular about it. There's nothing in it that you haven't seen
before. It's expensive because of our working style. We haven't cut
corners or compromised on quality. We've shot with two-three cameras.
See, when we have the money, why should we be stingy? My partners often
warn me against spending so much money. And if the distributors are
willing to lend me the money, why should we be kanjoos?
It's the company's prerogative to decide whom it wants to employ. There
are so many departments of film-making. And you need people to look
after them. I admit that we have some absolutely raw staffers. But they
are young and enthusiastic. Though they don't know much about the
film-making process, I'm sure they'll learn on the job.
It's rumored that you've shot almost 2.5 lakh feet of raw stock
for Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani...
Films don't go over budget because of raw stock. Raw stock is the
cheapest thing in the film. Yes Boss was made with the average
one-and-a-half lakh feet of raw stock used in Hindi films. Ours has
extended by one lakh feet. We haven't gone overboard. We've made the
film from our hearts. We haven't bothered about table profits.
Are you satisfied with the end product?
You mean if you aren't satisfied, you'll make more and more expensive
No, I'm never satisfied with my efforts. It's a good film, no doubt, but
I've just begun. I want to make even bigger films. Probably that's what
prods me to work harder each day.
If I like the subject and if I get financers willing to support my
project, I'll go ahead and do it. I've been in the industry for the last
seven years. I've done many big films. This industry has given me a lot.
Now I want to return something to it. Making my kind of films is my way
of paying tribute to this industry. By the way, it's a misconception
that all my personal expenses involving my home, my cars and other
material things are met by my production company. Believe me, all the
distributors' money has been judiciously invested into the film. For
example, I scrapped a song because I wasn't happy with the lyrics. I got
it redone. Any other producer might have had a chalta hai attitude. But
not me. Everything must be perfect.
Talk is that Karan Johar is assisting you in Phir Bhi Dil Hai
Hindustani. Is it true that he's shot certain patchwork scenes?
As an actor you're at the top of the charts. What are your
experiences as a producer?
There is no doubt that Karan is helping me in the film. But he's
involved with the costume department. He's in charge of our look and the
clothes we wear in the film. The look of the film is very youthful and
modern. Since Aziz Mirza and I have absolutely no clue about clothes,
Karan and Manish Malhotra are handling that department. As far as his
directing Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani is concerned, people can say
anything. They can say that Karan has directed the film. Or for that
matter Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, Sashilaal Nair, Aziz Mirza, Santosh
Sivan and I directed the film together. Ha!
Every producer I've worked with has given me a free hand. So it's not as
if I'm out to fulfill my unfulfilled wishes through my production house.
I love holding the negative of the film in my hand. It gives me a high.
I'm grateful to this industry that's given me so much. I want to give it
a production house that works on modern techniques. So I'm finally
putting my money where my mouth is. I haven't made this film to make
money. I've bought new cameras, trolleys, cranes and other latest
equipment. I'll hire these out to other production houses, too.
You have several incomplete films. Except for Mohabatein, you
haven't started any new film. Is this because you want to complete Phir
But this year you had only one release, Baadshah...
The backlog has nothing to do with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. My film
can't be blamed for delays in other projects. My dates had been evenly
distributed. In a month, I keep ten days for my film and 20 for other
producers. Besides, I don't do more than four films a year.
Yes. But I was committed to four other films as well. K Sashilaal Nair's
One Two Ka Four has been delayed and so has Josh. I feel it's wrong to
start a new film without completing my backlog. Now my film is over. So
is Sashilaal's. Even Josh is nearing the finishing line.
Your films with Ram Gopal Varma, Rajkumar Santoshi and David
Dhawan were announced long back. Why haven't they been launched?
Coming to Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein, what was your criteria for
working in a film that has such a huge cast? Besides, Aditya's
introducing his brother Uday in the film.
They haven't been delayed because of me. Rajkumar Santoshi's film will
only start after he narrates the story to Aamir Khan. Aamir is also busy
with Lagaan. I've given my word to Bharatbhai Shah that I'll do Rajkumar
Santoshi's film. But I haven't even spoke to Rajkumar Santoshi as yet. I
haven't taken the signing amount for this film or for David Dhawan's
film or, for that matter, even Aditya Chopra's and Karan Johar's next
There are some people with whom I've had a long association. I don't
question them when they approach me for a film. People are more
important to me than scripts. Before starting a film, it's important to
me to be able to sit and discuss my ideas with the people I'm going to
work with. As far as the Chopras are concerned, they know me very well.
And when they have Shah Rukh Khan, how can they not make full use of
Is it true that you asked for 50 per cent of the overseas price
for Mohabattein as your remuneration?
False. I've heard this rumour, too. Yash Chopra is too senior for me to
talk money with him. The Chopras and I respect each other. I'm priceless
to them in more ways than one. As they are to me. I know they'll pay me
well. When I do Mohabbatein, it's not money that's important. I think of
the respect and fame I'll get by doing this film. I've done Darr,
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Dil To Pagal Hai with the Chopras. Can
you tell me the price I should have got for those films? I became Shah
Rukh Khan because of those films.
Another allegation against you is that you've limited yourself
only to big producers and directors. You've become inaccessible to
The rumour in the market is that Aishwarya Rai won't play your sister
any more in Josh. She'll be your friend
That's not true. I meet people and I keep reading new scripts on my
computer. It's not true that I've limited myself to big names. Remember,
I've worked with Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra, too. But Aditya Chopra
is Yash Chopra's son and Karan is Yash Johar's son, both are big names.
Besides, the two young directors are your friends. Excuse me, it's
unfair to discredit them like this. It's a fact that they were just
assistants when they approached me. So what if they were born as Yash
Chopra and Yash Johar's sons? What was Yash Johar's position after
Duplicate? Karan was at a disadvantage. Many people warned me against
doing Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. They told me it'd harm my career to work with
a flop producer. But today Karan is a happening director. People had
warned me against Sashilaal Nair's film, too. They said Nasir Ahmed
isn't a big producer. But I don't listen to such advice.
Who told you this? As far as I know, there's been no change in the story
line. It's surprising how people cook up stories about me and my films.
Earlier they used to say that Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was directed
by Yash Chopra. Then they said that Dil To Pagal Hai was directed by
Aditya Chopra. Now they are saying that my film is being directed by
Karan Johar. I'm the common factor in each of these rumours. Ha!
Some of your directors feel that you interfere a lot in their
Who says so? Probably those whom I haven't worked with. There's this
misconception about me. It's impossible that any of my directors would
have said this. Well, if someone is saying that I'm the interfering
sort, then I can't defend myself. Yes, I interfere. And it's better
people realise this before they sign me on. I interfere so that my
close-ups are better. Yes, I'm self-centred, an egoist and selfish. If
anyone still wants to work with me, then you have to wait for two more
years so that I can interfere in their films, too.
Tell me, what went wrong with Baadshah?
You've become quite a socialite. You're seen at every do in the city.
Maybe I should have interfered more. I feel the film has quite a few
loose ends. It could have been edited by a further 20 minutes. But I
loved the film. I'm keen on making Baadshah Part-II. Actually, everyone
enjoyed the film. I thought it was a film for the masses, but it turned
out to be a film for the classes. I made Aryaan see the film. It was the
first film of his life and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Now he keeps
singing the title song.
Really? I go where my wife goes. I'm happy going out. I have parties at
home like everyone else. But if Shah Rukh Khan has a party, it's called
socialising. Frankly, I feel awkward at parties. But when friends call,
I make it a point to attend. But I love going to a coffee shop with
friends. That I've been doing ever since my days in Delhi. If that makes
me a socialite, maybe I am.