Q. 1 How will a show like Khatron Ke Khiladi add to your image as an action specialist?
Action is very close to my heart, so this show is also very special to me. I was excited to be offered to host Khatron… but thought I would not be able to carry it off. Now I feel differently. Difficulties are present everywhere, what matters is the amount of hard work you put in. With positive attitude, you can achieve anything. As far as my style of action is concerned, it was never planned. But now when I’m associated with action and a certain brand of cinema, there are expectations. And we’ve tried to take the show to another level this time!
Q. 2 Since Khatron… is all about fighting your fears, do you have any?
There was no room for fear in me because of the atmosphere in my house — my dad (Shetty) was an action director, my mother, a stunt artist. I have to still experience that emotion, and I guess, I’ll find that out when I’m in a situation which elicits that reaction. The kind of training given to us, even when I was working with Veeru Devgnji, is that it’s important to conquer fear by training for it. Be it sky diving, swimming or sea diving, you train for it and conquer the fear.
Q. 3 When was your first encounter with action?
It’s a crazy story. Since childhood, I used to visit the sets with my Dad and see people doing action. But there was this day, when he had got a new SUV, an automatic car. I was seven years old then. I took the keys, and started it. Obviously I couldn’t control the car, and went into a huge pothole on the road. I think that was my first stunt ever.
Q. 4 While action is in your genes, what makes you blend comedy with it in your films?
I believe that when action meets comedy, we get wholesome entertainment. Elements like action, comedy and emotions are important to make a wholesome entertaining film.
Q. 5 Will action continue to be an integral part of all your films?
I have now been tagged an action film-maker, so if I make some serious cinema, people may get disappointed with me. Once you become a brand, it has its ups and downs. I would love to make a simple, sweet, emotional film someday, but then I get scared — what if I’m not able to meet the audience’s expectations. The image leaves you bound, and so the fear of trying something new is there.
Q. 6 So you do have your fears?
May be! But my fears are more emotional than physical. The fear of not meeting the expectations of the audience who have loved my films. My audience largely consists of families, so even though I make an action film like Singham, there’s no blood in it. I also have the fear of losing my loved ones, or not being able to give them the kind of lifestyle I’ve been giving them.
Q. 7 Which has been the most dangerous stunt in any of your films?
We didn’t have a very high budget for my first Zameen, but we were quite keen on doing a scene where a car gets blown off and Abhishek (Bachchan) had to jump off it. At that time, we were all excited because it was my first film. It was Abhishek’s seventh or eighth film, so even he was quite charged up for it. Today we laugh about it, and feel that may be we shouldn’t have taken that chance.
Q. 8 Tell us about the craziest stunt you’ve attempted in your film.
The craziest thing I did was in Golmaal 3, which was Kareena Kapoor’s introduction scene. I drove a car almost at the speed of 100 km/per hour with her standing on the bonnet. We had harnessed her, but it was risky. I had to make sure I drove properly!
Q. 9 Which actors don’t think twice about doing some dare-devil action?
All actors I’ve worked with, have always been daring when it comes to action — be it Ajay Devgn or Shah Rukh Khan. In fact, I’ve never really worked with Akshay Kumar, but I directed him for a small action portion in Khiladi 786, and he’s too good!
Q. 10 Any film in recent times, whose action you liked?
I think Dhoom 3 had some great action sequences!