“Having done so many from the side of good, it’s exciting to play the bad guy.” – Shah Rukh Khan

What convinced you to do the sequel to the film?

With the first film, the whole ideology was that we were taking a risk and a step forward in that we’ll make the bad guy win at the end of the film – not the good guy as usually is the case. That was really accepted, but we didn’t think we’d make another film out of it. If you don’t have a nice story to tell there is no fun in making a film. Two-three years ago Farhan called up and said, ‘You know what? I’ve got another script and I think we can make it into another Don film and really have fun taking the bad guy forward.’ That’s very exciting. You know, there is this darker element that all of us have. Somewhere down the line we subdue it because of the way we live our life but it has always existed. It’s really nice to see a story line from the side of evil. Having done so many from the side of good, that’s exciting, you know. Don is stylish. He is cool. He’s someone we would all like to be, but we can’t be because it’s not nice to be Don. But there’s no harm in doing it, there’s no harm in seeing it.

How was it to step back into the character of Don and play him again?

We had more freedom now, you know, because it was kind of written in a free form – something not locked or having the binding of it being a remake. I think Farhan was very clear that what he’d like to do is take forward the one-liners and we are going to make him, as I keep saying, leaner, meaner, smarter, sexier. He’s a guy who is not in any which way good. I don’t think we had a goal of him having any redeeming factor. It’s like the Silence of the Lambs character, where you know he’s a merciless killer, but you are mesmerized by the sensuality that surrounds him. Don’s got all the trappings of being the epitome of what we think is of macho – fast girls, faster cars, and just being cool, drinking, beating up people… just the childhood fantasy of any guy. (Laughs) You know, just to relive it was quite cool, for Farhan and me actually.’

This one has much more action and for one stunt you jumped off a building in Berlin…

Yeah, they make me do stuff – I work hard for my dinner, which I’m not cut out for sometimes. (Laughs) Yes, they made me jump from a high building, which was 400 feet or something. That was scary for sure. I mean it’s safe because it’s all tied up and people show me how to do it before that, but still just to take that leap! Actually you know I have done lots of these. I have jumped off a 16-story building. I have done one with 45 feet without a wire. But, you know, every time you have to take that jump it’s like, ‘Why the hell am I doing this? I don’t need to do this.’ But then I kind of feel that the audience has made me believe in the last 20 years that I can fly and I kind of trust that. If the audience thinks I can fly, then I can fly, so I’ll take the chance.

The action is also very fast. It’s based on a few techniques, which is close unarmed combat. The good thing about it or the interesting part is it’s not cranked up in the camera; we are doing it live at that speed. We have to train a lot on the sets. You know, because it’s live at that speed, sometimes it can give you bruises on your arms and legs. So you go back limping, but you feel very cool. It’s the price you pay for doing an action film. When it comes across on the screen, it looks very cool and nice so you feel very proud, that yeah, you’ve been able to do this. We as actors get to experience these things that lot of people don’t even get to see. It’s quite a blessing, actually.

The music for the film is really cool and different. Do you have a favorite track?

Yes, there is one song, which is in the background, which is part of preparing for a caper in the film, which is called ‘Hai Yeh Maya’. I really like that song. I think it’s very nice, sung by Usha Uthup. And we have a new version of ‘Main Hoon Don’. It’s not in the film but we made a video out of it. It might be on the net right now, on the trailers. It’s picturized differently, where you are doing action and singing; it’s not like dancing because Don doesn’t dance. He is too cool to dance. I like that song a lot. There’s another song that I like, that I think is not in the film, but it’s in the rolling credits, with Priyanka, which is ‘Dushman Mera’. Again it’s a very different number where it kind of shows the relationship they share, the love-hate relationship that is very intense in the film. Each one wants to kill the other, but they still seem to like each other.

The way Farhan has done the album is unlike it is normally done in Hindi films. They are more based on the emotion and the internal aspect of the song instead of standing and dancing. I like that aspect of it. It’s a different kind of music. I don’t know if anyone can make out that it is an album of the same genre of music like how you have on a single artist’s album…not a film soundtrack. That’s what makes it different. Like in Hindi song albums normally you have a ballad, you’ll have a rock song, you’ll have a fun song, you’ll have a comedy number and a sad song or a Sufi number. With this one it is like a regular musical album that a singer would put out. That’s an interesting aspect.

What does your fans support mean to you?

It means everything to me. From the outside when people see me mostly on screen or giving an interview on television perhaps I don’t come across as grateful as I feel about the fact that whoever I am, whatever my children are, whatever my family is, whatever my wife is, whatever I stand for for the last 20 years, I am very clearly dependent and I am very clearly given that to me by people who love me so much. I go to Germany and there are hundreds of people. Today I was supposed to go to Patna and there are lakhs of people standing on the road. I go to London, there are people there. At Jumarakhesh we had like a lakh and half people in the square. It’s very heartening. I don’t take the onus of all this upon myself. I don’t think it’s because of me. It’s because I have been doing films. I happen to be in the films and I am extremely, eternally grateful for making this life happen to me. My life’s only ambition is to meet each one of them and give them a hug if I can possibly do that in this lifetime.’

  1. sputnik 13 years ago

    I don’t think Shah Rukh and I can ever be backslapping buddies

    Your character in Don 2 character is being labelled a jungli billi’s. Are you a ‘jungli billi’ off-screen as well?
    Yes, I am quite a ‘jungli billi’. I stand up for myself and I won’t tolerate being treated badly. That’s jungli enough.

    Does your character, Roma, go through a transformation in this film?
    Yes, she has evolved in the last four years. She goes through a change in her beliefs and in her personality. She is angrier and more upset.
    It was very difficult to act in a sequel because you had to take the same character you played the first time round and make it more interesting. But Farhan (Akhtar, the director) has written all our characters brilliantly.
    Don 2 has some incredible dhishoom-dhishoom action, banging cars etc. And I get to do some incredible action sequences like automobile chases. There is a fist fight that my character gets into too. I had to prepare for all my action sequences.

    Now that you have worked with Shah Rukh again, has he become your buddy?
    I don’t think we can ever be backslapping buddies. He has always been somebody I have admired and seeing such an amazing actor on set is a pleasure. I feel a tremendous amount of respect for him.

    Do you ever envision a Don 3 or Don 4 with playing the Don?
    No, let him be the Don. I’d much rather be the ‘jungli billi’ (laughs).

    You have done two remakes, Don and Agneepath, back-to-back. Which character was tougher to play?
    In Agneepath, I play a lower middle class Maharashtrian girl, so to draw on that character was very interesting for me. Don is a slick, cool, action film. Both the characters were challenging and different.

    Have you had a chance to see Katrina Kaif’s item number, ‘Chikni chameli’ for Agneepath yet?
    I have seen bits of the song. I have been shooting for three films at the same time so I haven’t really gotten around to seeing the full song yet.
    I am really excited about Katrina being a part of Agneepath, because it will add so much to the glory of the movie. I love the song, and she will be incredible in it.

    Speaking of which, songs and music have suddenly assumed major importance in your life — you will soon be debuting with your own music album!
    Music was something that I was always very fond of and this was an interesting opportunity that came my way. Now let’s see where it goes.
    I am not really thinking about it and putting pressure on myself. I will wait to see when it happens.

    In what way have you collaborated with international star Jay Sean for your album?
    Jay has written a couple of songs for my album. But eventually the songs that stay in the album will be the ones the label takes. We worked together and wrote a few songs and had lot of fun doing it.

    Are you a trained singer?
    I trained in Western Classical music while I was in the US.

    You have written the lyrics for your songs in the album. So what do they reveal about your personality?
    (Laughs) Well, lyrics are a reflection of one’s personality. It is not like I am going to be writing gossip about myself.
    I am a very private person but
    I spill a lot of my personality into my songs and in the lyrics I write.

    What kind of music do you like listening to?
    I love listening to a lot of house, hip-hop and pop music. At the same time, I like listening to Bollywood songs as well.
    My biggest musical influence has been my father. Music is his hobby so I grew up on music. I have woken up in the mornings to Mohammed Rafi, Lataji and Ashaji. I have always been very musically inclined.

    Do you have any plans for singing your own songs in Hindi films?
    Not yet. Everything depends on how I am accepted.

    Coming back to films, you have quite a mixed bag coming up — Krrish 3 with Hrithik Roshan, Barfee opposite Ranbir Kapoor and Kunal Kohli’s next with Shahid Kapoor.
    I always like to do different genres of movies. We have done only three-four days of shooting for Krrish 3 as yet; and I am very excited. It’s great to get back on the set with everybody from the earlier team.
    Kunal Kohli’s film has an amazing script and I wanted to work under his direction.
    As for Barfee, it was a tremendous challenge because it’s a comedy yet at the same time I am playing an autistic character.

    What barfee do you like best?
    Kaju katri. I eat it whenever I can get my hands on some.’


  2. sputnik 13 years ago

    ‘“In ‘Don 1,’ I was playing supposedly a character, Vijay, who is acting like Don, but actually he’s Don who’s acting like Vijay acting like Don,” Khan told India-West with a laugh.

    “There were a lot of restrictions because you could not do anything which would fool the audience. We had to let the audience feel till the end that this is Vijay playing Don, though it was actually Don who had killed Vijay.”

    It turns out that Khan is very good at being bad, so they decided to move the “Don” sequel in that direction, he explained. Costarring in the sequel are Boman Irani, Priyanka Chopra and Lara Dutta.

    “We got very encouraged at the ending of the film that people accepted the fact that the bad guy won,” Khan told India-West.

    “I always tell everyone that there is a huge amount of evil in all of us, which does not come to the fore because that’s how we are brought up and educated. Society has curbed us, but we always have that residing [within]. No human being in the world is complete without good and evil. There is this repressed badness in all of us.” ‘

    ‘“I’d say three things were the scariest moments for me,” he recalled.

    “We did an action sequence in Malaysia where a bridge collapsed, and you have to keep ahead of the bridge falling behind you.

    “The second one was the car driving, in Germany [a year ago] on the Autobahn with four or five cars chasing you all the time, and there are a lot of cameras around you. I do the car stunts myself, most of them, and we had a bang-up once. The cameras got destroyed and it was quite scary.

    “The third one was jumping from a building — the first shot I did for ‘Don’ as a matter of fact. It was in Berlin, it was very cold, and they put me on top of a 450-feet building and said ‘Jump.’ It’s a little scary to go up and hang in the cold, and a thousand Germans are standing below and they like you, so you’re not going to say no I’m not going to do it, you have to do it!” He laughed. “I can’t look un-Don-like!”’


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