What did Aamir say when he saw Swades?
You'll be surprised, Aamir hasn't seen the film yet. Because he's been so deeply involved in The Rising that even during the release of the film -- pre and post -- he was involved only in The Rising.
There are at least four times, he came close to watching the film but couldn't. I hope he'll see it now. He wrote to me saying he would see it at a later stage.
Had Aamir been the film's producer, do you think he could have persuaded you to reduce the length?
No. Even Lagaan (Aamir Khan in the film, above) was 3 hours 42 minutes. They were a lot of feelers coming (then) to Aamir as producer from other producers who were well wishers who said: 'Lambi picture nahin chalti, you must cut it'.
I was doing the background music in Chennai and Aamir would call me and ask, 'Ash, these are the kind of reactions I'm getting, should we cut it? I feel we should cut it, distributors are saying -- 'Teen shows mein picture chalegi.'
I would constantly tell Aamir that this is the film we've made and there should be no adjustments for anybody else because I was not going to remove this or that scene.