films, but the golis are surprising.
I can’t live in my comfort zone forever. It’s really funny because till date, action in my movies hasn’t gone beyond a slap. Whenever I used to call (action director) Shyam Kaushal, he would get very irritated and tell me, ‘Kya, thappad hi maarne ka hai na, iss ke liye mujhe kyun bulate ho (There’s only going to be a slap, why do you call me for it)?” But this time, he had his work cut out. Violence is now a part of our lives. Violence is intertwined in Ram and Leela’s love story.
You manage to draw out special performances from your heroines. What can we expect from Deepika Padukone?
Deepika is like my mom. She’s graceful, outspoken yet very teekhi. Deepika has a lovely swan-like neck but her head is firmly on her shoulders. I connect to an actor, then I give a part of myself to that actor. They also surrender to me. But it’s an unconscious process. You realise this only when you see it on screen. Ash is so special in Devdas. Rani is so special in Black. It just happens. As a filmmaker, I live for that moment when actors see themselves on the monitor and tell me that I never knew I could do this or look like this. The joy on their face when they say this, I live for that.
You’ve attempted a lot of romances on screen. Do you feel the pressure of doing another one? On how to make the first meeting as beautiful as in Khamoshi, how to make monuments out of moments like in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam?
Over the years, I’ve learnt that the best approach is to just follow the flow of the character. You can’t analyse a moment of love. My films are in strange spaces. The characters I write are anyway unpredictable, so their chemistries are also “off”. They can’t meet in a predictable way, like in a college campus. The impossibility of making it is what excites me. Taj Mahal, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Mughal-e-Azam kaise ban sakte hain, that’s