So you would have started out as a romantic hero, rather than the 'action star' that you eventually became. The persona that stuck with you was that of 'Khiladi', which is from your third or fourth movie onwards. Correct me if I'm wrong, one of the tests for old-world stardom in Indian movies, is when the actor acquires a sobriquet: for instance, Amitabh Bachchan is Shahenshah, Shah Rukh is Badshah, or King Khan… Yes, when I entered the industry, it was a pure and simple thing - paisa kamao, ghar jaao [earn and leave] - I just wanted R10 crore in my bank. She happened to be in the room while I was having this conversation with you recently. She still tells Rani, "Teri zindagi maine banayi [I made your life]." She'd actually thrown the script, and called it sh*t! There was hardly any safety net from an insurance point of view either. She can't believe that someone has caught her like this [inappropriately]. If people go to work in saree, they should come to learn in a saree. That's why you'll see my choices of films have changed. Was there ever a moment when you bought something and that felt like worth earning for? I have memories of coming to that beach with my parents. It seemed to me that [your wife] Twinkle [Khanna] also had a role to play in the change in your film choices. A lot of the times we make movies, by looking at movies. Back in the day stuntmen used to die, lose limbs during jumps. Forget resisting the molestation, she was so powerful that she beat him black and blue. What happens when someone holds a girl's hands, she freezes. I am trying to teach them how to be more confident in real life, besides being able to get out of an unfortunate situation. I never have them come to the school in track pants.
SEE ALSO Small meetings in Asia | Phuket guide | Bangkok hotels | Bangkok shopping | Koh Samui resorts | Chiang Mai guide | Krabi resorts | Thai spas | Golf | Vietnam Resorts | Isan, Khao Yai guide | Lombok guide JUMP TO Northern isle | Central Pattaya resorts | South Pattaya boutique hotels | Jomtien beach | Attractions and shopping | Hotel Contacts THERE’s a lobster-pink man breathing beery fumes in my face and pointing to a restaurant menu.
A quick glance indicates it’s written in Russian and not knowing the Cyrillic alphabet (or craving a bowl of borscht) – I smile sweetly and march off.
Were you auditioning a lot [and perhaps getting rejected] in those years? I was actually in tears telling him, "Yaar, mein bhag ke, motorcycle pe abhi aata hoon [I can just rush in now]." Unfortunately, they didn't agree. So, I went to Natraj studio that day, where I met [filmmaker] Pramod Chakravorty's company's make-up man. " I said, "Haan yaar, banna hai [Yes, I want to be a hero]. " At that time, we used to travel with such big photographs, in a huge album. And the fact remains, there's nothing called a star. Except, he couldn't imagine himself playing that part, he could only see Rajini, when he closed his eyes.
So usually, in Mumbai, over 20,000 people come over every year with the expressed intention of working in films. From the North, and the South, but mostly from the North. So they step out of Bombay Central, and a lot of them head straight towards Lokhandwala, and adjoining areas... Most of them hang around in CCD [Café Coffee Day], Barista…. Yaha tak ki, I've heard so many directors say, ki jab film ke screenplay mein dhalaan aaye [when the story peters down], toh fight dal do [put in a fight sequence], toh upar aa jayegi [the tempo will pick up]! And, I don't know why, it's not that I thought my name was bad. Pata nahi, dimag mein koi chah aa jati hai [something just interests you in your head]. The exact time he gave me those cheques was 6 o'clock in the evening. So I never took the idea of stardom very seriously. (Audience laughs) So when you've done that many movies, clearly by now, you have a sense of chalegi ya nahin [will it work or not]? But I can't predict what kind of business it'll do.
But by the time we got him out, he had snapped his neck.
If you can find your way through the maze of disorienting white curtains in the lobby, and don’t collide with the randomly placed red piano, you’ll arrive at the hotel’s pride and joy – its Beach Club.
With studios coming in, things have fallen in place. When you watch new movies, you can feel this change in cinema - Vicky Donor , Shubh Mangal Savdhan … Even if I am given a stadium, I know I can change things. I might not be that educated, but sports has provided me education all along. People blamed me for it, said he was trying to copy me. Earlier, we used to lose our men, left, right, centre.
But thankfully, now we've a lot of original scripts to choose from. I remember someone had to jump from a height, and land on boxes, and he fell out of it.
But, now I don't - I want to make films, which make a difference to society. That's such a huge change from how you used to be-from your subjects in films, to your approach to movies itself. When that wire was there, what did you love about money most? I still have a photograph of me lying on the ledge, and it's the same place where I live now. Just the other day, I was watching a Malayalam film, with no subtitles. But mentally, I was weaving my own story of what's playing, based on the visuals. That's also the mode you've picked: mainstream, entertaining movies, slightly high-pitched, with a strong message [Jolly LLB 2, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha]. While you're extremely diplomatic on political affairs, I was watching an interview of yours, where you've said that you wouldn't mind being a sports or health minister. Awara Pagal Deewana  was the first movie to introduce stunts, using cables. I was quite stunned to learn that this year, you had 21,000 girls graduate from your school. A guy tried to molest one of the girls trained from my school. Women have to understand that they should be able to combat blows.
It was later that I realised that it was the same place where I'd done a photo shoot, and the chowkidaar had thrown me out! Not exactly a scene from Anitabh Bachchan's Deewar ! Earlier, who would think of making a film on sperm donation? I don't want to do politics, for the sake of politics. So far as movies are concerned, the one thing that you can certainly take credit for is bringing about change in the lives of stuntmen. Have you seen a major mishap happen in front of your eyes? People need to understand that every stunt - be it jumps, or those involving fire, skidding on a motorcycle - can be calculated. Another area that you've actively worked on is self-defense for women.
It was US servicemen who helped put Pattaya on the map initially, not always for the right reasons – they came here for “rest and rehabilitation” during the Vietnam War.