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'Fantasy is the key'

WHICHEVER WAY you look at it, Shekhar's story is the story of a man who dared not just to dream but dared to pursue that dream, risking all else for it. So, maybe nobody is better qualified than him to conceive a story of "Bombay Dreams", the story about another foolish but daring dreamer. On the eve of its opening, Shekhar Kapur speaks on the importance of dreams, reality, success and failure...

How important have dreams been in your life?

Dreams are not the key. Fantasies are. For, the stronger the fantasy, the greater the power of thought. The greater the strength of your message that permeates the universe, the greater the possibility that the fantasy will become an obsession, and the obsession will become a reality. So beware of your fantasies, for they have a great chance of becoming realities if you are not careful.

When you say "great" chance, do you mean chance of succeeding, of coming true?

Did I say "great"? Maybe that's not the word to use. Because it is really, really important to search for the true meanings of your fantasies, for, lurking at the base of the fantasy may be the serpent of hate, of negativity. Of destruction. Do not underestimate the power of your subconscious. Ever.

In the long hiatus between "Ishq Ishq Ishq" and "Masoom", when the road ahead must have looked pretty bleak, it is said that you used to go for long walks by the sea. Was there a dream that kept you going?

Did I have dream? No. Did I have a fantasy? Yes. And luckily I had all the time to indulge it. Which means that failure really is the key then to self-discovery, is it not? And therefore perhaps to achievement?

Was there any point in your life when you felt the shadow of failure fall over you?

There are two parts of me. Of anyone. One part totally human. The part that fears failure at every step. Because after all success is relative. But failure feels like an absolute. It just takes a thought to cut any success to shreds. And so the constant battle. Between fantasies of success and fears of failure. One driving the other. Handcuffed together, but in the illusion that they are separate. That then is the human part. The part in eternal conflict.

And the other part?

That's the observer in me. As it is there in every one. The part that watches and observes this conflict. Trying hard not to become a victim of it — and sometimes not able to help being consumed by it — and then pulling through the quicksand — and away from the conflict to observe. And then falling back.

The rest?

Is all Destiny. Or fulfilment of obsessions and fantasies. Which is the same thing.

Your success we know of. What were the failures in your life?

Failure is not an absolute, but it is a constant. I am trying to define failure as something that lives not only in contradiction, but also in balance with success.

You are looking for an event that could describe failure individually.

How do I do that without describing success? `What is' can be described only in context of `what is not'. So which one is true? What is, or what is not?

Did I ever fail — or did I ever feel I failed? Of course — since all success is relative — so is failure — so every achievement has also in relative terms be a failure. "Elizabeth" gets nominated as best film — in context of all the other films that did not get nominated, it's a success. It does not win — so in the context of the film that won, it is a failure. That is how I see success or failure.

Do you necessarily lose only because other people win? Or is there an absolute personal failure? A burden you carry that you cannot defeat...

Personally, if I have given my absolute best to anything, I never ever get a sense of failure... whatever the result. I only get that sense of failure if I believe I did not try hard enough.

Yes... therefore my walking out of "Joshilay" was one of the biggest failures of my professional life. I could have stayed on and fought it out. I chose not to. I believe that was an act of cowardice, and therefore a moment of failure. — R.R

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