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I came back with a bang
From the beginning of my career I’ve strived for variety and versitality but the inexplicable failure of Lamhe and 1942— A Love Story had, I must admit, rattled me. I had a very different film—Virasat — coming up in 1997 and I had decided that if it didn’t work, I’d do some serious rethinking about my strategy.

The year didn’t begin very encouragingly. Judaai failed to get an initial and Boney and I were worried. When we made a Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja people said it was a film with no soul. And when we made a Judaai which relied entirely on an unorthodox story, the verdict still wasn’t in our favour. What were we to do? Fortunately, the collections started picking up after a few weeks and Judaai went on to become the surprise hit of the year and vindicated our confidence in the unusual and the untried. The success of Virasat and Deewana Mastana which were also not your usual masala movies— I don’t usually do them anyway— was also very heartening. It proved that God wanted me to take on challenging roles.

All my three releases in 1997 were very different films— one was a woman’s film, the other a social and the third a comedy. And in all three films my involvement in all departments of film-making had been 100 per cent. I’m glad my hard work has paid off. My new year’s resolution? Well, every year I’ll make one, or may be even two, off-beat films. Though I’d been almost written off, I came back with a bang.


Roses all the way
except for one bitter experience

Professionally it has been a fairly good year. Virasat was a hit and Bhai also did good business. Even the one Malayalam film I did, Chitralekha, made money. So I guess, I have nothing much to crib about. If it hadn’t been for that one bitter experience at the end of the year, it would have been roses all the way. Hopefully, 1998 will be wonderful. I have some very good projects, I’m very busy. I hope I’ll get another opportunity to work with Priyadarshan. I also want to work with Shyam Benegal, David Dhawan and K Shashilal Nair. I want to work with the cream of the industry, and make some meaningful movies.


There was cause for double celebrations
1997 was special for me because I had a release after four years. My last film Darr had picked up several awards including the National Award. And Aditya's first film, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, also created box-office history, so there were sky high expectations to live upto. I was a little apprehensive initially because of these inevitable comparisons. I knew Dil To Pagal Hai would be a very different film. More youthful and relying more on feelings... deep and warm feelings.

The trade wasn’t very encouraging. They didn’t think the film would run. But I was confident. When the advance booking counters opened I personally visited some of the major theatres and was thrilled by the overwhelming response. It got a record opening and proved that Yash Chopra hasn’t lost his touch. Dilwale Dulhaniya... also completed 100 days so there was cause for double celebrations.


I won't take on new assignments till the case is decided
1997 was a year of ups and downs, but on the whole it was an encouraging year for Nadeem and me. The first half of the year was a great phase, when we composed some of the best music of our careers in Subhash Ghai’s Pardes, followed by Judaai and Mohabbat. Our music was appreciated and the songs of the above mentioned films featured, and continue to feature in the music charts and countdown programmes on all channels. Our Pardes songs are still the number one songs in all the countdown programmes. The response to Pardes’s music is truly overwhelming and for that we have only Subhashji (Subhash Ghai) to thank. Because of him we could compose such soul-stirring music, with which we have created history all over the world. After July, when Nadeem went to London, we didn’t do any recordings. In August, the case came up. Producers are still keen to sign us. Offers keep coming in from Madras, Calcutta and Mumbai, but I have not made up my mind because the case is subjudice. Nadeem is in London, and I am in Mumbai, but that hasn’t stopped the constant flow of offers. Some producers even want me to compose solo but I have decided not to commit myself till the case is decided.

Among the major achievements of 1997 was bagging an R.K. film, Aa Ab Laut Chalein. Working for an R.K. banner was like a dream come true for us. We also recorded a song sung by the master qawwal, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for Venus and Dharmesh Darshan’s Dhadkan. We had the good fortune of working with a legend like Nusratji . We signed two prestigious films, Tips’ Soldier and Dil Hai Tumhara. We have given good music for Shabnam Kapoor’s forthcoming Purab Ki Laila Paschim Ka Chaila and Suresh Grover’s Juaa. Our music for the Govinda-Mamta Kulkarni-starrer Naseeb has just been released. I can confidently say that the music we have composed for Boney Kapoor’s untitled film, starring Sanjay Kapoor and Priya Gill, will again create history. And our music for ABCL’s Saat Rang Ke Sapne is already on the channels and is winning hearts.

I will be completing the music for Sattoo Singh’s Saawan and K.C. Bokadia’s untitled film. In the next year, I will complete all our incomplete films, but won’t take on any new assignments till the case is decided.


David and I have had eight consecutive hits
1997 has been a learning year. I’ve learnt to respect time. Earlier I was living life meri marzi se. But after my mother’s death I’ve become very serious about my career, my family, life and time. Now I’ve become very punctual. I’m on the sets on the dot.

Professionally, it’s been a good year. Both my films with David Dhawan, Hero No. 1 and Deewana Mastana were very successful and David and I continue to have an unblemished track record. We’ve had eight hits in a row now. It’s beginning to get very scary. Expectations have become sky high. What will happen if we trip? Lekin iss saal to bach gaye. Hopefully, Banarasi Babu will be another hit. I have my fingers crossed.

Personally, we were rather low at the beginning of the year. We were still very upset that our much loved mother was no longer with us. But now, slowly, we’re beginning to start living our life again. My son and daughter have been a great source of joy to me and with ma’s blessings, I hope we’ll continue to prosper.


I don't expect to do frivolous roles
I don’t see myself as the next big star. I didn’t do Himalayaputra with that thought in mind. And today when people make such statements my answer to them would be, “So what? Big deal!” It’s just a passing phase. Tomorrow someone else will come along and he’ll be ’the next big star’. So I’m not taking any of this stardom thing very seriously. There’s a whole variety of work floating around whether its commercial or art cinema. So I don’t see why I shouldn’t get to do some interesting roles. I can assure you that I don’t expect to end up doing a whole lot of frivolous roles.