The Proust Questionnaire is a fortnightly feature which derives its name from the French writer Marcel Proust, whose personality-revealing responses to these questions went on to popularise this form of celebrity confession. This questionnaire was administered by SOMA BASU.
What is your idea of happiness?
Being able to make films without worrying about where the funding is going to come from.
What is your greatest fear?
That our audiences will want to see only romantic comedies soon and that all our stars will want to act in romantic comedies only. I feel that day is fast approaching.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
That we would all be living in the same city. As it happens, I live in Kolkata; my husband Kalyan lives in New Jersey in USA; our elder daughter lives in Cincinnati – also in USA; my younger daughter lives in Mumbai; my sisters live in Delhi.
What is your idea of misery?
Not having the opportunity to make films.
Where would you like to live?
In an attic in Manhattan.
Who are your favourite authors?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and J. M. Coetzee.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Michael K in Life & Times of Michael K by Coetzee.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
What is your favourite occupation?
What is the quality you most like in the opposite sex?
What do you most appreciate in your friends?
A sense of humour.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having managed to continue making my kind of cinema for the last 30 years in a crassly commercial film industry.
What are your favourite names?
Kalidas. I had a turtle that I called Kalidas.
What is your present state of mind?
How would you like to die?
What is your favourite motto?
Never answer questionnaires like this again.