How important is money to you?
Money is very important. It helps you avoid spending your entire life doing things you don’t want to.

It makes one self-sufficient and helps you live a graceful life. I think it is important that one should be financially independent and secure.

Personally, money has not been able to limit me in any way.

I am a person who has restricted the temptation of making money over and over again because I want to live my life the way I want to.

For me money is not a status symbol. I don’t live my life goaded by designer labels or the latest models of cars or diamonds to flash. In fact, I don’t own any diamonds at all!

You can’t impress me with money. Just look around my house. You would expect it to be flashy but as you can see it is simple, there is no ‘show-bazi’.

I chose to make only so much money that will enable me to do all the things I want to do with my time. I love traveling, photography and painting. All these hobbies need money to materialize, so I have chosen to make that much money so that I can pursue my hobbies.

If I were given the chance to make big money, I would like to use it to set up an old people’s home in India.

Basically, even if I had access to big money the goals would be non-materialistic.

Do you invest your money in any financial instruments? Do you have an insurance cover? And have you ever sought any advice in investment matters?

I earn and spend and I am totally reckless. I live for the present but would advise nobody to do that!

I had one life insurance policy but I think it has expired long back. I do have a medical cover though (mediclaim).

And anybody dare tell me anything about investments! I won’t let it take my spontaneity away.

Any other thoughts on money?

People who have money can do so much useful work. People spending crores on lavish weddings which runs for 3-4 days together is vulgarity to the extreme.

There is something in our Indian society that was called “contentment,” which had existed for generations.

Today consumerism is getting the better of us. You know the spirit of “Nahi hai, masti hai” is going. Kids don’t want shoes; they want a Nike or Reebok.

I can see that India is going where America has gone and has been completely dissatisfied. Westerners have come to India for solace and yet we Indians are losing that very important attribute of “being content”.

I have a simple life, artistically and aesthetically rich, but a simple one.

Do you believe that hard work is important in the process of making money?

Yes. Is there any other way to make money? I don’t know people who earn money in any other way – probably through gambling or other illegal activities. I don’t relate to them nor are they part of my life.

I know a lot of artist friends who have made ample of money from their art works. I also know a lot of filmmakers who haven’t made money even though they have worked very hard. Hard work doesn’t guarantee that you make money.

Are you spendthrift? Where do you spend your money?

I am not a spend thrift. I love to buy books.

Because I love photography, I love buying big, glossy coffee table books.

I spend a lot of money on cross-country driving for months at end. Let me also tell you that when I travel like that, I don’t look for 5-star comforts but simple budget comforts and accommodation.

I drive in my own car and eat at campsites. And another area of spending revolves around photography. So it may be a camera, films, printing, framing etc.

As told to Manish Parikh Srivastava