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I want to serve the nation
This has been a great year for me. Antakshari is going strong even after four years, its popularity soaring with every episode. It is one of the top revenue earners for Zee. On August 1 it completed 200 episodes. Sa Re Ga Ma is also very popular. I’m hoping in 1998 too, both the programmes will be big draws. Now I’m working on a tele-serial with a contemporary theme, an abitious music-based programme and an Indian classical dance-oriented tele-serial. Whatever I do, I’ll see to it that I’m doing a social service to the nation.


I proved I could give a hit without Govinda
It’s been a reasonably good year for me. With Judwaa I proved that David could give a hit even without his lucky mascot Govinda. The Salman twin caper did excellent business and so did Hero No. 1. Frankly, I was always very confident about Hero No. 1 . It couldn’t go wrong. But Mr & Mrs Khiladi and Deewana Mastana had me a little worried. The media made such a big issue of the fact that both the films were releasing on the same day. They insisted that I was being presumptous and adversely affecting the prospects of both films. I’m glad I proved my detractors wrong. Both films were average grossers despite being released almost simultaneously. I guess, I was very lucky. If my luck continues to hold, 1998 should be an even better year. Banarasi Babu and Chhote Miyan Bade Miyan, both with Govinda, will hopefully be blockbusters.


Even a small role can get you accolades

The last two years have been very good for me professionally. I’ve had a number of hits and got some rave reviews for my performances. The year took off with a bang. Raja Hindustani was doing record business and my two new films, Judwaa and Hero No. 1, also made it to the top 10 charts. They did phenomenonal business at a time when the industry was going through a period of crisis, just recovering from the exhibitors' strike in Mumbai which had resulted in theatres downing shutters for almost a month. Their success in the circumstances was most heartening.

However, the film which made the year really memorable was Dil To Pagal Hai. Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined that my performance would get such an overwhelming response. It has taught me that footage is not important. Even a small role can get you accolades.

Working with Yashji was also a learning experience in itself. He’s like a father figure, a wonderful teacher. He’s so warm and fun on the sets that your shots get canned without you realising it. Even the most emotional scenes don’t give you a moment of tension. The tears just flow easily and within minutes after the shot you’re smiling again.

I hope 1998 will be another wonderful year. I know one thing for sure. I’m not going to depend on any one film. I’ll give my 100 per cent to all my films. You never know which one will hit bull’s eye.


Shri Krishna topped the charts till July

For Sagar Arts 1997 was a fantastic year. Our serial, Durga, was launched and Shri Krishna topped the charts till July. That was a major achievement.

For the last 47 years, we have been organising a havan in our house every year during Durga pooja. We think it is because of ma’s aashirwad that we have got so much name and fame.

1998 should be good too. Thanks to the satellite boom and the broadcasting revolution, software business is suddenly big business. Today the sky is the limit. One can reach for the stars, reach into space. The small screen is always beckoning. We have multiple plans for the year. We are planning to expand our hotel business. We opened a 50-room hotel in Manila last year. It’s the last word in luxury. Haridwar is our next destination. We are also planning to start a yoga foundation trust and also expand our studio. I guess, we won’t have time to even breathe. 1998 is going to be a very hectic year.


I’ve matured as a director
In 1997 I regained the showman position I’d lost after the debacle of Trimurti. After that unexpected flop I’d been surprised by the way people’s perception of me and their reactions to me changed, dramatically, almost overnight. Even my friend Ashok Amritraj who flew down to India three months after the release of Trimurti noticed the change. I had been written off after just one disaster. It was disgusting and disheartening. But I never lost faith in my ability. I knew this was only a passing phase, I knew I’d be back. And after Pardes I’m back and so are my stars, financiers and distributors. No, I’m not bitter. It’s part of life.

Khal-Nayak was also a hit but all the credit for the success of that film went to Choli ke peechhey. I was totally sidelined. But Pardes was a Subhash Ghai film, most definitely. My films have a lot of glamour and grandeur, they’re formula films. Pardes was different, an experiment. I replaced my regular music directors, Laxmikanth-Pyarelal, with Nadeem-Shravan. I opted for two newcomers. Pardes was a simple family entertainer which had even my wife worried. She wanted me to make an extravagant multi-starrer at that critical juncture in my career. But I knew if I didn’t take a risk now I’d never achieve anything in life. I’m happy my gamble paid off and my special film was critically acclaimed and was a commercial success too. It’s given me the confidence to attempt films with more depth. I’ve matured as a director.

All these years I’ve announced a new film on my birthday in a grand fashion. This year I launched my new project in a simple way on my anniversary. I’ve realised only quality films work, gimmicks no longer pull in the crowds.


I have had three victories in ’97
Every year is different for me. Last year was like a masala year for me — fabulous in some parts and okay in some. But one must look at the brighter side of life and I have achieved three victories. My choreography in Dil To Pagal Hai was widely appreciated. Diana Hayden, the girl I trained, won the Miss World contest. And my debut Hindi music album was also released.


I'd lost all hopes of getting back into the reckoning
In the last couple of years, I’d suddenly dropped out of the race for no fault of mine. I’ve always been very selective about the projects I took on. I had almost lost all hope of getting back into the reckoning when two long-delayed releases —Deewana Mastana and Yes Boss — came along and turned out to be surprise winners. And my career suddenly changed for the better almost overnight. Thank you 1997.


It's been a miracle year for me and my family
It's been a miracle year for me. Most of the numbers I sang were chart toppers. Even my numbers in Koyla which was only an average grosser were very popular. The same holds true for ...Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. My number, Meri sanson mein basa hai, was in the top 10 of all the countdown shows. Viju Shah’s Gupt was also a hit and two of my numbers, Duniya hasinon ka mela and Bechainiyaan madhoshiyaan too topped the charts. The miracle hit of my career is, of course, Dil To Pagal Hai. It has made musical history and I was lucky I got to sing all the numbers in the film. My first Hindi non-film album, I Love You, is also doing very well and its number, Ab yeh mohabbat, had become quite a rage even before the release of the album.

Aditya too has given four hits this year — Chaklo chaklo vada pao and Jago jago jago subah ho gaye from Ghoongat, Khul gaya naseeb from Bhai and Yeh mera India from Pardes. My wife, Deepa Narayanan was one of the recipients of this year’s Mahila Shiromani Award for her contribution to regional music.

Never had I dreamt that this year would be so good for my family and me.