Shahrukh Khan on Jab Tak Hai Jaan: I don’t know if I’ll do a love story again!

Jab Tak Hai Jaan - Yashji’s last film…

Shahrukh Khan on Jab Tak Hai Jaan: I don’t know if I’ll do a love story again!

Shahrukh Khan’s love story was not with Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif or any of his heroines, but with an 80-year-old man, filmmaker Yash Chopra. SRK talks of his new film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, his director and love…. This interview was done by London-based journalist Ashanti Omkar a few weeks before Chopra’s demise. Excerpts…

Jab Tak Hai JaanYashji’s last film…

I feel bad. I don’t know if I will do a love story again. My romance is over. I’m in love with an 80-year-old man. Honestly. My love stories were not with the heroines, but always with Yashji. I would always say ‘if I want a love story, I’ll do it with Yashji’. For me, he’s the greatest lover in the world. Nobody does romance like him. No heroine’s career is over till Yashji… He is pure at heart and such a clean filmmaker. Will miss him a lot (as a filmmaker)…

The title of the film and its Sholay reference…

Sholay was a favourite film for most people in India and most of the world, and a classic. Especially from my era, from the ’70s. It is one of our greatest films. The song and title – Jab tak hai jaan – it’s a way of speaking, and how we say it. It’s a deeply romantic sentence. A title like ‘unbreakable’. Love which is, romance which is – it’s tough to find that…, a word like ‘till the end of time’, ‘till eternity’. Incidentally, it’s a part of this, and of a lot of songs. I wasn’t at all a part of the title – Yashji got the title. I took the Rs 5,000 that he offered us; it’s something he liked to do – set us challenges and then he chooses and gives us the money (chuckles).

I’ll be honest, 99 percent of the time – all due respect – I get asked the same questions by journalists. So when I try and give the essence, it’s hardly about the movie. We spend about a year making it, and we have the inside knowledge of the film. So I decided to show the essence, the genre, the soulful side of the movie by translating the lyrics, as they are so deep in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. I live for films and my journey with films is over 22 years. I find the out-of-turn stuff very disturbing, like rumours of JTHJ being called London Ishq.

I just go and enjoy films. I’m a little quiet about talking about films too much nowadays.

About your character in the film, Samar…

The word ‘character’ becomes far too deep – it is more the role. He didn’t want to be part of the army. He was a happy-go-lucky guy. He turns out to be an emotionally colder person. He thinks from the heart, takes on the biggest challenge that the world or life has to offer. How we sometimes get angry with life and we decide to take on life; and on a larger scale, he meets life head on. People claim I do similar roles, but the character I develop is much deeper. The character is an internal thing that I thought of, I believed in and with what parts of my life I associated this role.

Fun moments on set…

With Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma on either side, whichever side I turned to was fun (laughs). I loved learning to play the guitar on the streets. That was a great opportunity – to sit down in a locked off street and learn to strum a guitar. We also had fun on the Gloucestershire shoot, where there was a good cricket match and a nice cosy wrap party. Riding motorbikes in Ladakh was also fun. And the film was a great ride, through Kashmir, Switzerland and Mumbai also. We had a small unit, and I’ve worked with many of them for 20 years, so it hardly seemed like work to me.

Your first pairing with the gorgeous Katrina Kaif…

It was marvellous, as she’s extremely beautiful, gentle, kind and for a star of this status, she carries no baggage of her achievements. She works on the premise that she can learn from the film. She’s a great dancer and it’s blatantly visible how hard-working and talented she is. It’s always nice to work with a new actor. I learnt a new style, as she approached it all from a different perspective. She feels for the film and is very finicky and a perfectionist.

Anushka Sharma and you reunite in this film…

Yes, it’s been very nice, as we worked together in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. She always wanted to approach scenes in new ways and infuses a lot of confidence into her role. Like Deepika Padukone, who worked with me in her Bollywood debut Om Shanti Om, Anushka has a soft corner for me. We also caught up after a long time, as our schedules don’t usually permit us to hang out.

AR Rahman, who has composed for Jab Tak Hai Jaan

I worked with him a few times now and I met him again at the awards function. We didn’t have much interaction during the film. I always believed that the ability to create music and sing is his direct gift from Allah. A true gift. He’s gifted, mashallah and a true international star. There are five or six people in our country who are prominent – AR Rahman is the topmost. I feel very fortunate to have had his music. It is an honour. Like Resul Pookutty, Rahman is an international-standard talent. I believe that quality and creativity are things that we only stand to gain from working with people of such flair.

Working with Aditya Chopra…

He’s great at managing Yash Raj Films, as creative producer. He schedules on time and does everything as planned. As this was his Dad’s last, he gave it even more love, more than usual. He found a team who loves Yashji, like Anil (Mehta), Gulzar – all fans, friends of Yashji. Yashji is (was) extremely hands-on and a workaholic and always up at 5am! Even on the day he was ill with fever in London, he still came on the set.

Why see JTHJ?

I don’t know… It’s a story about love. Whoever feels love – they should go and see it. My kid likes action films, so it’s not his type of film. It’s extremely intriguing, riveting, soulful. It is touching, but you will want to see what unfolds. It is a nice take on love. The obstacle is very big – it’s the ultimate obstacle that a lover has to overcome.

By Ashanti Omkar

Google +

Latest Photo Galleries