You are a city person -- I assume you have lived in Mumbai all your life -- how do you bring the ethos of village life so authentically in your films? Where does that understanding come from?
I would attribute that to my visits to my hometown, Kolhapur. I am a Bandra (northwest Mumbai) boy but twice a year my dad would take us to Kolhapur and the surrounding villages. It was a wonderful countryside.
So my association with the village has been since childhood. Not that I have deliberately, consciously, tried to squeeze out memory tabs from that, nothing like that, it's something that must have happened very organically and very unknowingly.
Even in Lagaan, Goli -- the bowler who swings his arm -- he is actually swinging a gofan which is a very Maharashtrian phenomena. It's come from there.
It is not just the clothes, houses etc, but the understanding beyond that?
I believe a lot in research in anything I do. And I take whatever is most useful to the plot of the film and do the screenplay accordingly. So every single book on India that's probably been written, I tried to get my hands on, including books on the economy by Jean Dreze, economic development by Amartya Senů V S Naipaul.
Any more research and I could have written my own book, so I refrained (laughs) and just stayed away, took as much as I wanted and used it in my film. In Lagaan I used it for the village structure in the 19th century, the British Raj and the maharaja's lifestyle.