Aren’t you working too much these days?
I don’t think so. Recently when we shot in London for Housefull it was like family holiday. It was like a picnic. Houesfull is an emotional comedy. When Sajid Khan told me we were done with 90 percent of the film in Europe I couldn’t believe it. Our families were there. Once I was back in Mumbai my schedules got stressful. That’s why I like shooting abroad. I came back to Mumbai last month to shoot two songs for Blue.
Do you enjoy shooting songs as much as all the other aspects of a film?
I enjoy being in front of the camera, period. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to put sindoor in the leading lady’s hair or to wipe it off.
The rapport between you and the Blue director Tony d’Souza is supposedly amazing.
Tony took really good care of his cast. Though Blue is his first film you can’t really make it out. He’s a very hard-working man. Of course I want Blue to work for my sake. But more than me it’s Tony who deserves to succeed. I hope he succeeds. Regarding our rapport it’s all about the vibes you give to the director as your actor.
You’ve established a long-standing rapport with many directors?
Why just directors? It’s important to have a rapport with producers. You’ve to be a thoroughly professional, finish your work on time. I feel it’s more important to be a good human being than a good actor.
When you are shooting abroad you also escape all the gossip and controversy?
No, that you are clued in to wherever you are. You can’t get away from that. Trust me if I’m shooting abroad and no one calls me I’d get very anxious and insecure. After every shot every actors checks his missed calls. If after three shots there’re still no missed calls it’s time for pack-up.
Do you enjoy the freedom of moving around freely abroad?
You mean because of the fans? But there are Indians in every part of the world. And they do call out to you, wave and say hello. But beyond that they leave you alone. My son loves skating. We went in skating in Hyde Park.
Do you want to direct a film?
Not really. I’m very happy being in front of the camera. I’m happy being an actor and a producer.
Are you producing a film with Shah Rukh Khan?
No, not at all.
Are you working in a film with Trisha?
Yes I am. Priyan is planning something. I love working with all kinds of co-stars, new or established doesn’t matter. I’ve worked with three new girls in Priyan’s Garam Masala. And that was a hit. Hopefully Trisha will be a hit too.
Blue is the first Hindi film to go underwater?
I think the movie should’ve been called Red. The sea is now filled more with the blood of killed fish than the blue of the ocean. And now there’s my own blood in the ocean.
What do you mean?
I got badly injured doing an underwater sequence. I hit my head 150 feet under water and blood just started oozing out. I was in a daze. I’d have been dead. I could’ve been eaten by one of the sharks. It happened while I had to kick a goon underwater. For the action shots the oxygen tanks were removed. You can’t control your body movements underwater. I hit my head in a sunken ship. Blood started oozing out. The unit was in a panic because sharks get instantly attracted to the smell of blood. There were 40-45 sharks around me. One of the unit guys quickly stopped the blood from oozing out of my forehead. Two sharks actually smelled the blood and started coming my way. One shark chased me all the way to the top of the ocean, as I swam back to safety.
Were you frightened?
Not at that time. But looking back I realized anything could’ve happened. I realized sharks are not a threat to you until they feel threatened by you. Now do you know why I think Blue should be called Red?
Was Blue the most difficult film you’ve ever done?
By far it was the most difficult film. Every morning going underwater. It’s the toughest film I’ve ever done. I don’t know what bigger challenge I can throw at myself…except shoot a film in space. I’d also love to jump down from the Empire State Building.
Didn’t you once say you won’t do these dangerous stunts now that you’re a father?
If you saw Khatron Ke Khiladi (Fear Factor) I warned audiences not to try the stunts. I don’t want any harm to come to anyone while trying my stunts. I do them with a lot of precaution. But at the end of the day I know with my caution and experience I could go badly wrong with my stunts.
Is it worth it?
I’ve seen stunt men lose their lives in front of my eyes because of one wrong move. The wind can suddenly change its direction during an aerial stunt and you’re gone. I know it’s dangerous. But I just love doing stunts. It’s a thrill I can’t stop myself from. I tried to stop it for my son. But I can’t. I suppose it’s my one addiction in life.
— By Subhash K Jha