What is your ultimate dream as an actor?
To get the Dadasaheb Phalke award like my grandfather and father and uncle did. I’ve to work hard for it. I’ve been working for 31 years, entertaining the audience. I’ve never had any recognition, not from the government or the press.
You have played the hero opposite 23 new girls...
I wasn’t well-matched with established actresses. I was the romantic, young boy. Hemaji, Rekha, Shabana looked older. Dimple Kapadia had just got married. The only actresses I could work with were Moushumi Chatterjee and Neetu Singh. In seven years before I married Neetu, I did 11 films with her. Today, my colleagues are working with young heroines to look younger. But I was always working with younger girls.
Lately, we haven’t seen you in too many films...
What can I do if I am not getting good films? I won’t do bogus ones at this stage. There are not too many inspiring roles. That’s why I am excited about my new film All Is Well. I play a very unlikable character.
What kind of rapport do you share with Ranbir?
I was never “friends” with my son. There has always been a wall between us. We are comfortable around each other. But there’s a line, which we don’t cross. It was the same with my father. I can’t say I was friends with him either.
Did Ranbir always want to be an actor?
Yes, he was quite sure of it and I was proud of that. That’s exactly why I sent him to a filmmaking school in New York. Like many other actors, he wanted to learn the ropes of filmmaking. He took his CV and sat outside (Sanjay) Bhansali’s office for two hours. He got the job on his own merit. And then soon I had every producer, director in India coming to me saying they wanted to launch him.
Back to your films, any future projects you are excited about?
I’ve a very interesting role in Kapoor & Sons. And then there is Aayee Balaa Ko Tal Tu. This film is stuck for money. If they make a film with me in the central role, this is bound to happen.
I’d rather do films where I play supportive parts. Those are not coming to me. Suddenly, they aren’t writing enough roles for actors my age....