Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt-starrer Dear Zindagi is having a fine run at theatres. Gauri Shinde’s small film with a big heart is a interesting take on life and modern-day relationships.Here, SRK and Alia discuss their take on love, life, relationships, break-ups and more. Read on….

Shah Rukh, this was the third time you’ve worked with a female director (after Hema Malini and Farah Khan) whereas Alia, this was your first. Was the vibe on the set different from other films?

SRK: For me, it is more settled. I really believe that over chats, Farah or directors like Gauri (Shinde), Hema Malini or even Gurinder Chadha are more sensitive. It doesn’t matter if I do their films or not, but there’s something different about it. I don’t know if it sounds wrong, but I do find an effeminate quality in men also more creative than manly men. I’m not saying that because I am not manly enough, but I just feel there’s a sensitivity which makes girls, girls! And I do think they do understand everything, including fights much better than men. I really enjoy that. Also, there’s a strange calmness and a strange disruption which only a woman can bring when things are going wrong. Even in the household. I’m not being an anti-feminist and I don’t mean to say that women are only bound to households, but wherever they are or even if they are at the highest of posts which I really like, there’s something very homely about them. I’m not demeaning women by saying that. I actually feel that it’s amazing even when they scream. A woman shouting also on the sets is also not so… vulgar, abrasive as a man doing it. A man would be like ‘Oye’ with an abuse but a woman would just scream and say, “Kya kar rahe ho tum log?” A woman sounds nicer, even when angry.

Alia: (Smiles) I agree. That’s a nice observation.

SRK: (Continues) Especially in this film… because there’s hardly any men around. Except the camera team, most of the people on the sets were women. So it’s really nice. And they smell better (Smiles). They feel softer which is a big plus for me.

Alia: He’s right. All the ADs, the crew were mostly girls and women. Gauri is the first female director I have worked with. But I do believe in the statement that a director is a director, gender is only secondary. I would rather answer the question with respect to how Gauri was to work with as a director. But yeah, the more I think of it, because I am a girl myself, there’s a wavelength that kind of synced with Gauri. I also think I have a very similar equation with Imtiaz (Ali) too. But this is a different kind. Something like ‘hum log ek hain’ kind.

SRK: Yes, it’s the same with Imtiaz. I find him actually more sensitive than most men who make films. He has a lot of female qualities which is why I get along well with him. I find it so endearing to sit with him on the sets. I also feel that a woman having issues with me on the sets is somehow more handle-able for me. (Laughs) It doesn’t get into that ego zone so much. At least for a guy.

Alia: Ya, for a guy, it’s a very different take altogether. For me, it’s kind of the same thing, but it’s about working with a different director who has a different vision, a different point of view and a unique way of discussing a scene with me. That’s the way I look at it!

You aren’t paired opposite each other in Dear Zindagi. But do you think with evolution of Indian cinema today, there will be a time soon where you guys too can be romantically paired in a film?

SRK: I saw a few rushes initially and she does look much older! That’s going to be an issue. But if they have a younger boy, older woman story, then maybe… we could do a reverse Nishabd. (Laughs)

Alia: (Grins and then laughs)

SRK: (Continues) Though I’d not want the relationship to be, in any kind, abusive to a young boy. (laughs)

Alia: (Still laughing) Ya, I would not want to be abusive to a young boy, too! But to answer the question, in the end, it’s all about the story, it’s the world where there can be a lot of permutations and combinations and a lot of things can happen. I genuinely feel age is a number, but it has to fit in a story’s sense, as opposed to just pairing us up for the heck of it.

SRK: I will clarify this because I’m old now. I would love to do a couple of films with her at least because I find it very satisfying as an actor, as a person and as a friend now. I also feel that the story should be such and we should be able to figure this out, that age is not even a consideration. I remember when Dear Zindagi started, there were many people who said, “Oh my God, you two are actually doing a film together, you don’t suit, it’s about an older man and a younger woman.”

There was someone who even said, “You sound like a child molester in the film.” Come on! At the end of the film, whatever you may think of us, it will never go into that zone, even if we are romantically inclined or there’s a relationship or not, I don’t think it will be an issue in the film. We have to overcome all these things. And a story like this helps. So if we get a situation like that, it will be nice.

Alia: In fact, we have discussed a few nice story ideas here. Let’s see if they work out. We don’t want to talk about it right now!

SRK: (Cuts in) If I put her in a chequered skirt and white blouse, maybe we can do Taken. (laughs) A little kid I’m trying to save.

Alia: Like I said, the permutations and combinations are many! (Both laugh)

Shah Rukh, your love story with your wife Gauri is inspirational. Today, the definition of love has changed a lot, especially because we’re in the age of Tinder now. Do you feel passion is missing from relationships today?

SRK: Every story of mine is a little exaggerated because I am a movie star and people love to talk about it. I think a lot of people have the same stories even today. I just said it and I will say it again. One thing that most people want to do is to be passionately and permanently in love. Today’s it’s different, but it’s not all about the Tinder generation. It’s very easy to compartmentalise it like that. But maybe today, we have evolved enough to say that ‘Yeah, maybe one thing didn’t work out. It’s heartbreak. But now, I can deal with it.’ Now when I meet people and I hear their stories, they tell me, ‘I have broken up, man. I have moved on. I will find my man’ and all that. Two things that I want to say to all. In the past, too, people were married and in broken marriages for years. People separated pehlealso. It’s just that we know more about it now and people talk about it more easily. Earlier, it was a family issue, people didn’t want to discuss their family problems in public, it was more like a taboo. They didn’t want to talk and that’s okay too. Younger people, single people talk today. But yes, I would still ask youngsters not to get into a relationship using it as a testing ground. Whatever you get, it should not be a stepping stone to something better. When you are in a relationship, you can’t think, ‘Let’s work things out and then, we will see how it goes’. No! If you are in a relationship, you should think of it as the ultimate one and more often than not, it won’t end up in a break-up. Secondly, I could be completely wrong, but I find men treat women like their guy friends. I don’t know if it’s the younger generation or older. However, feminists, however equal they are, however empowered they are, need to be treated a little differently than a guy friend. They deserve a lot of softness and respect. It does not mean just flowers or chocolates, that’s all stupid. You treat a girl or a woman differently. I’m not saying women are weaker or they need our gentleness, they are far tougher than any guy around. But you don’t back-slap your girlfriend, however cool you are. You need to open the door for her, however old-fashioned it is. You do ask her, ‘Are you feeling okay?’ You do take care of her and order breakfast for her in the morning. So you gotta do a few things that are different and this is all general manliness or gentlemanliness. That’s the most macho thing about a man!

Alia: Absolutely. I think it’s how you treat them that matters the most. I would love to be loved and not treated like any other friend when I am in a relationship with someone.

SRK: I have actually heard guys talk to women very rudely or brashly. They would be like, ‘Arre tu kya kar rahi hai. Come on yaar, don’t be a fool, yaar.’ You don’t talk to a woman like that. You talk to a guy friend like that! I am a little old-fashioned when it comes to love and this is definitely a put off for me. That’s also why I guess girls want to break up with guys. You can’t treat them like a guy. You need to be a little more caring an affectionate towards your woman.

What would you tell single people looking out for love?

SRK: Find each other (Laughs)

Alia: Then call each other and meet each other! See where it leads to. (Laughs)

If you had to visit a shrink, what would be the first question you would ask him/her?

Alia: I don’t know! I can think of a few, but they are fairly very personal so I don’t want to mention that. It all depends on the state of mind I am in. I don’t really think that I am seeking something right now. Had you asked me this question a couple of months ago, I might have come up with 12 questions! I might just ask, ‘Who’s the President of India’? (All of us burst laughing)

SRK: Alia, help me with this one! Okay, I would just ask them, ‘Relationships itne irritating kyun hote hai?’

Any celebrity break-up you would have loved to stop if you had been given the chance?

Alia: I don’t know, ya. I would not stop anyone from breaking up. It’s their life, their relationship and most importantly their choice.

SRK: See, I have had experiences of trying to participate in some! And my experience told me and even people told me that you shouldn’t get into that. Today, even I believe that. Celebrity or non-celebrity, you don’t get into stopping a break-up. Hypothetically speaking, today if Alia talks to me about her relationship, I would tell her, “Give it a shot. Don’t be too hasty. Love is nice, deal with the things a bit.” I would say all the proper things. But I will not get into a personal space where it’s not right. It screws you up, yaar!

Alia: See, no one can stop anybody’s break-up. But I do miss giving advice. And that’s because no one comes to me for advice anymore. My main girlfriend as in my best friend has been single for over a year so she said ‘No issues’. For some reason, nobody else comes with their life issues to me so it’s not that I know about what others are up to actually.

SRK: (Jokes) Single girlfriends? Send them to me. Hook her up with me. ALSO READ: DECODED: Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt’s Dear Zindagi success