Are you relieved with the response to Dabangg 2? Especially since some people said you’d fail as a director?
Yes. I am genuinely feeling relieved. It was a huge weight on my shoulders. I was aware of the cynicism and I know a lot of people said I wouldn’t be able to deliver. But I relied on my instincts and decided to let my work do the talking. I must admit I was very tense but I also knew if I did good work, everybody would appreciate it. On the other hand, if I made a bad film, I wouldn’t have anywhere to run. And now the film is out and you guys have liked it. I am a free man now.
Is it true the sequel had been elaborately discussed during the shooting of Dabangg?
That’s utter rubbish. Everything was done by the team of the new film. Each and every aspect was conceptualised and executed by us. This time around, we knew what we wanted to create and the process was smooth. There was no ambiguity, no revision of scripts and no creative differences.
Considering Dabangg 2′s rights were sold to distributors at a premium, you must be now laughing all the way to the bank…
(Laughs) Money always follows a successful film and I never wanted to be an exception to that rule. Imagine what would have happened if I had made a bad film after Dabangg. I was handling two brands simultaneously; one being Salman Khan and the other Dabangg. In any case, making a sequel is hard work and the bar set by Dabangg was very high. I was always more concerned about surpassing the expectations of Salman’s fans than the money the film would generate. And I refused to lend an ear to my critics because that wasn’t doing me any good either. All said, the tension was palpable during the countdown to the release. It was a huge brand and my job was to make it even bigger.
Are you now ready to announce Dabangg 3, what with a successful second installment.
We will definitely go back to the drawing board but I want to take a breather and do a film in between.