This year, Shahrukh Khan's roles have been injected with a generous dose of current affairs and reality. Hence, he talks terrorism in the comic-book Main Hoon Na, cross-border friendship in the mushy Veer-Zaara, and now, empowerment and self-reliance in the forthcoming Swades. The actor spoke to Outlook on the eve of the film's release.
On Mohan Bhargava, his character in 'Swades': He's not a classical film hero. He typifies a part of what I am, an educated middle-class guy. The future of our country is in such hands. Mohan is a neo-patriot who fights for issues like education being made available to all.
On his "socially aware" characters in recent films: As an actor, I create a myth on screen. I believe in the persona for a point in time, for it resonates well as a role model. But an issue should never be too overpowering in cinema. I have not consciously been looking out for issue-based cinema. Maybe it happened by accident, maybe it was a covert choice. But I'd love to play a bad boy, I'd love to play James Bond.
On Ashutosh Gowariker: He has chosen a subject that serves a social purpose. It is easy to sell to commerce in this industry but he has stuck to his convictions. He's serious, is particular without being patronising. He works in an organised, western way. At the shooting, it's the AD (assistant director) who calls the shots. There is discipline, you stick to time schedules and protocol. But I can't leave the comfort zone of my home for a continuous, 3-month-long shooting schedule, so on weekends I used to come back to Mumbai from Wai.
On his plans: I will take time off till February next year. Till then I'll refurbish my production house. We will be producing Amol Palekar's new film. It's a period film which I think is a comedy, but others don't agree with me. I am committed to doing Karan Johar's film next April. And we would produce Farah's next film, hopefully in July.