What makes a great conversation? I believe it’s curiosity, generosity and authenticity. The interviewer must bring a genuine passion and insight to the questions, which then enables the interviewee to reply without discomfort, hesitation or even boredom. I’ve been interviewing artists for over twenty-five years and one of my favourite stories is from a chat I did with Amitabh Bachchan. It was for a print publication. By this time, Mr. Bachchan had already been fielding media questions for more than four decades. He was detailing for me his day, which began at 5 or 6 am at the gym and ended around midnight after he finished his daily blog. In astonishment, I asked – when do you sleep? He replied with a straight face: during interviews. Since then, my first task during an interview has been to make sure that my subject isn’t falling asleep!
The interviews you are going to read in the book In Conversation with the Stars were done for Film Companion. This year, the platform celebrates its 5th anniversary. We have an insatiable curiosity about the creative process. We want to dive deeper into the instincts and methods of artists. In this book, you will get a glimpse into the minds of actors and directors – from Sanjay Leela Bhansali to Shah Rukh Khan – they are all here. The hope is to capture a time and a place so that you get an insight not just into a singular sensibility but also into an ethos.
Cinema permeates and punctuates every facet of our life – from our innermost fantasies to the way we dress and the songs we listen to. For me, films and especially Hindi films, have never been just entertainment. They are a way of life. I hope this book enriches your experience of cinema. Eventually, we are all film lovers. And may our tribe increase.