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Though I love technology, according to me it cannot override creativity. For me, acting has always been the same, in whatever medium it may be – stage, television or films. Technology can help in fine-tuning certain moments, certain emotions. It can give more life to something already living. Technology can even help some wooden blocks to act. But beyond a certain point it is only belief in what you’re doing and knowledge of your craft that works. There is no alternative to that.

I remember there was a shot in Baazigar for which we had to do 40 takes to get it right. It was a long shot in which I’m on the telephone and the camera had to zoom in to a close-up of my eye. Today the shot can be done in two takes with a Jimmy Jib or a Crab Trolly. So that helps the creative artiste to do more. This is just a small example but it adds up to a lot when you apply it to many other creative fields in cinema like action and song sequences. Earlier, during a stunt sequence you had to jump on nets, which could break your back. Then it went on to cardboard boxes and today we have air pads and in fact, you don’t even have to jump. You just stand in a room with a blue matte background with the wind on your face and through special f/x it can be made to appear as if you’re jumping.

Also, technology opens new vistas. It frees your imagination. Like that ‘tootta tara’ scene in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. You would otherwise have to wait for a shooting star to fall to get that shot but now you just sit anywhere and add that later. So your imagination is the limit. You just have to think it and it will be done, especially in Hollywood. Even in India, technology has really, really helped the entertainment industry. Small, simple things can enhance a character, though it is not an alternative to a good performance.

It makes me very happy to be a part of the radical change in technology which has happened in the last nine or ten years, even vis a vis cameras and equipment. I really do believe in technology. I sincerely believe that the only reason Indian cinema has not hit international cinema in the way it should is because we are technologically backward. And if we get that right, I think our cinema is the most wonderful in the world.

Many people ask me whether internet will kill cinema. I don’t think any one medium will kill another. People say, video killed the radio star. I don’t think so. Did Asha Bhosle suffer because TV has come in? If I wasn’t in films I wouldn’t know what Lataji or Ashaji looked like. Thanks to television at least I’ve gotten to know the face behind the voice. So ultimately all the mediums end up working hand in hand.

When cable television was introduced in India people said it would destroy cinema. Today, television promos are helping advertise a film like never before. Five years ago you could not dream of publicising a film on this scale. And every medium will help to reach the masses. A few years ago, I remember walking into small towns near Jaipur where I was only known because I had appeared on TV. So I don’t think TV is going to kill cinema. Neither is the Net.

Of all the mediums, Internet has maximum accessibility across the globe. Compared to it, television is limited lingually. In Sweden you’ll not see a Hindi TV channel or in China you won’t see French cinema. But Internet is available all over the globe, even if you don’t want to access it. I visit Chinese websites once in a while. I think Internet fulfils a basic need of mankind – the urge to know, to peep into your neighbour’s garden. I discovered so many things through surfing which I would never know otherwise.

I am quite thrilled by the fact that a person in China logging on and searching for ‘Shaolin’ might come across ‘Shahrukh’ and say, ‘Hey, I never knew Indians make so many films.’ Then he might learn that Indian cinema is the largest cinema in the world.

Ultimately, video-on-demand and pay-per-view will also get integrated into television and it will become one more channel. And one channel which has millions of channels within itself. So I think the far-reaching effect of the Net is going to be a very positive thing for cinema. Today I publicise my film on TV, on the radio, in the newspapers, on the walls, tomorrow I can publicise my film on the Net. And there may be 20,000 people in Europe who are interested in Hindi cinema. I know a lady in Germany who knew me. I asked her how come she was so familiar with my films and she said her husband was an Indian and she liked to see Indian films. So maybe she would go on the site and find out what’s happening in the Hindi film industry. It will be a slow process. But when it finally matures, it will break across all barriers. I think it’s where the future is headed. Ultimately all the mediums will function in synergy.






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