Why have you been rejecting international offers, including a project it seems pitting you against Tom Cruise?
Who told you that? But yes, you're on the right track. Frankly, I don't want to go global. Believe me, it's better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven. Indian cinema is my home, it's more valuable to me than Hollywood, Hong Kong, Paris, wherever. I want to be the best here. If I ever go abroad, I must get respect, at least as much respect as Nick Nolte gets in Los Angeles. I don't want to be treated like a brown Third World urchin. I can do without that we're-doing-you-a-favour look from the Hollywood honchos.
What kind of offers did you get?
I was approached for a remake of Hitchock's Dial M for Murder and for what I think is a British TV series based on Vikram Seth's novel, A Suitable Boy. Then there was a fax, asking me to do an important role alongside Anthony Hopkins in the new Bond movie. Of course, Pierce Brosnan would be Bond, while I would...well...be around somewhere in the scenery.
Why did you say no without even hearing the role out?
Because they wanted to see my photographs. They wouldn't ask Nick Nolte for his photos, would they? This kind of vanity may be silly and stupid, but if I'm approached, shouldn't they know what I look like at least? Shouldn't they see some of my films? I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I don't want to be treated like a rank newcomer. I don't want to be questioned on my credentials. I'd rather be a frog in the well, and for a frog I haven't done too badly. I've moved from Delhi to Bombay and now I'm working with Mani Ratnam from the south. So Hollywood can wait.