You seem to have quietly signed a Pakistani actor called Imran Abbas for 'Heera Mandi'.
So quietly that even I don't know about it. I haven't signed anyone called Imran Abbas. I'm not making 'Heera Mandi' right now. It may happen much later. I'm now directing another film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. I'm very excited about the film, and so are they.
What prompted you to sign Hrithik Roshan?
Hrithik and I have been wanting to work together for a very long time. I've always been impressed by his sincerity as an actor. I was waiting for the right opportunity to sign him. Working with Hrithik would be a new and rewarding experience.
You and Aishwarya Rai created magic in 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' and 'Devdas'. Time for a hattrick?
Aishwarya is very special to me. She suits the role in my new film to perfection. When she read the script she was deeply moved. Of course the true friend that she is, she told me she would've agreed to work with me even if I didn't send her the script.
Will this Hrithik-Aishwarya film be your first for an international market in English?
'Black' was in English, too. It's important for me to make my films for our market. But we must take our cinema to the remotest corner of the world. Today the spoken language is no barrier. The spoken language in our country is as much Hindi is as English. I want to capture that feeling of everyday conversations.
You continue to be fearless in spite of 'Saawariya'?
This is the time when filmmakers need to be fearless and experiment with themes. Fearlessness is my biggest asset as a filmmaker. I will continue to make films that come from deep within me. My very first film "Khamoshi: The Musical" didn't do well at all. A lot of people think it's my best work.
There were reports that some actors, like Ranbir Kapoor, don't wish to work with you?
People are writing tragic tales about me every day. They are even deciding what film I'm making and also casting actresses in them... Maybe stories about me sell. But when the misrepresentations go beyond my tolerance, it's time to speak up. The truth is Ranbir and Sonam would be there for me whenever I need them. However, at the moment I'm making a film with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.