Just call me Gabbar Singh

Once, someone sent me a printout of a review posted on a website titled “Get Him While He’s Down Cause He’s Gonna Come Back with a Magnum and Then You Gotta Ask Yourself: ‘Do I Feel Lucky?’ Well, Do Ya PUNK?”

I was thrilled. The writer had spewed unadulterated venom. I just couldn’t believe the amount of hatred he had developed towards me through my films. Interestingly, he had seen my film with much more intensity and seriousness than with which I’d made it. Similarly, on a visit to the Pune Film Institute where I had screened my first Hindi film, Shiva, I was amazed by the violent anger in one of the students because he hated the film. I was amused and also felt sad for him.
In fact, I am fascinated to see how people run down my films, critique them, ridicule them, bitch them out and sometimes try to analyse my mind. Their views and interprertations are as entertaining as this scene from Sholay where Thakur is seething with rage about the massacre of his family. A highly amused Gabbar Singh chuckles, “De jitni gaali de Thakur. Jee bharke gaali de.” My films can be construed to be the Thakur’s family. Thakur is my hate club and I am Gabbar Singh. Sadly, for my detractors, it is that unlike Thakur got Veeru and Jai to finish Gabbar, my hate club isn’t likely to get rid of me or the films I plan to make. I can understand people being bored or disinterested... but why hate? I don’t buy the theory that it comes out of any great expectations from me. I have repeatedly made those so-called bad films. And I have surprised people once in a while with a so-called good film.
At the risk of a generalisation, let me say that I feel the hatred is towards me more than towards my films. It’s felt as if I am getting away with murder. I seem to be callous and dispassionate about my work and can yet go on making what they think is crap day after day. There are backers and backers for me while my detractors with all their passion and wonderful stories they think they have, can’t get a producer to hear them out, let alone fund them.
That’s the reason for the anger — the kind which so many law-abiding citizens experience on seeing the success of people who they think are unscrupulous and corrupt. But if you ask me, love and hate are extremely valuable emotions. These should not be wasted.
Without a moment’s doubt, I would say that it’s wasteful to expend one’s energy in hating someone. Love at least will get you good sex at times, whereas hate will get you nothing. Now after reading this you will hate me more, but then don’t forget — I will love you more.

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