Ajay Devgan may wish the whole world to see and appreciate his films, but there is one person whom he doesn’t want to see any of his films. And that person happens to be his little daughter Nysa. Ajay has barred his daughter from seeing his films. “But she is a smart kid, soon she will find her way,” smiles the doting father. Wonder what will be her reaction when she sees her dad’s film?
We never doubted that the deadly Devgan was a superhero in the making, but now he’s gone ahead and proved it. Ajay is playing super-hero in an animated film called Toonpur Ka Super-Hero; it is the first time he is doing a film like this, where he will be playing a character, but not in flesh and blood. The screen superhero will look and act just like Devgan. Well, considering it is a tough feat for anyone to imitate an actor like Devgan in reality let the lad from Toonpur enjoy his field day. We wonder if superboy Krrish has any advice for our ‘toon’ superhero?
Was it difficult to break out of your action hero image?
No, I think I was lucky to get the right roles at the right time with the right directors. That gave me scope to do many different things. I did Phool aur Kaante, Jigar and Divyashakti, which wasn’t an action film. Then came Dilwale which was a big hitm, followed by Zakhm and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Like that, three-four films came together, so it wasn’t that difficult.
What’s important, critical acclaim or mass popularity?
It should be a balance of both. Nothing works singlehandedly. It’s very important for critics to appreciate your work, it gives you satisfaction. It also makes people see the film. The second aspect too is important for people to see your film and appreciate it because that’s how the collections come.
Action, comedy, romance – what’s your forte?
I really don’t think there is a forte. I should be convinced and charged about the character and the film. Then I tend to do better, but later if I feel that the film is not working or I’m not enjoying playing the character, then it becomes very difficult for me to work. I know it’s not professional of me but that’s how it is. I start losing interest.
Your character Omkara was the central character in that film yet Saif walked away with all the praise…
Nothing like that. There was a hero, there was a villain and I think Saif did brilliantly well. I really think the kind of appreciation I got was good. So it was a balanced thing. Somebody had to do this and somebody had to do that. If I had been asked to do Saif’s role then I wouldn’t have done it, only for one reason that I have done a few negative roles in the recent past. It was getting monotonous for me. I was happier playing Omkara than Langda Tyagi.
You’re playing Veeru’s character in Ram Gopal Verma’s remake of Sholay. What should the audience expect from it?
Sholay has shaped up very well and I’m also waiting for its release. The audience cannot think about the earlier film because the whole concept of this film is different. The setting is urban, the humour is urban and the attitudes too. When you change the situation of the film everything changes. So I don’t think there can be any comparison.
You’ve turned director with U, Me Aur Hum. How is it like to be in the director’s seat?
Nothing different, really. I’m just doing what I was doing earlier when I used to be an assistant director.
Kajol is working in the film. How’s it like to direct your wife?
She’s a great actress and we share a comfort zone. As for who calls the shots, come and see on the sets.
Ajay Devgan has taken panga with the producer-director of his forthcoming film Cash. The actor apparently has refused to shoot or dub for the film any further. The reason is that his loyalty is with the other co-producer of the film who had fallen out with them. Says a unit member, “Ajay Devgan has allegedly told Anubhav Sinha, the producer-director of Cash that he signed the film only because of Sohail Maklai (co-producer) and not Sinha. Since Maklai has fallen out with Sinha, the actor prefers not to continue with Sinha. He was supposed to shoot for six more days for the film, but now has communicated to Sinha that he will not be available for shooting.”
Sources close to Sinha say, “Ajay has a written contract with them and even the payment that has been made to him is through the same company. If Devgan acts tough with them, they would definitely take strict measures.” Sinha on his part says, “I wonder why Ajay has said that he has done the film only because of Sohail Maklai. He has signed up with us and our company has issued cheques to him. I know Ajay is a sensible man and if he says he has done the film because of Sohail, it means it is morally incorrect.”
However, Ajay’s lawyer Nilesh Ghag clarifies, “We are following the arbitrator and as per the letter from the matter has been fixed for the preliminary meeting on June 13. Hence once the arbitrator decides the legal owner of he film Ajay Devgan will be completing the remaining shoot for the film to the legal owner.”
Last we heard, Ajay Devgan was busy location hunting for his home production along with wife Kajol and was also gearing to team up again with his Golmaal director Rohit Shetty for the third time. No wonder he is missing from the social scene in Mumbai. After playing an army man in Zameen, and following it up with a funny act in Golmaal, Ajay now turns cop in Shetty’s film which is titled Sunday.
Despite being tagged as a macho and intense hero, Ajay Devgan has essayed a variety of roles this year. Moving on from the desperate Ajay Shastri in the hard-hitting ‘Apaharan’ to the simple Gopal in the rib-tickling ‘Golmaal’ and the vengeful Omi Shukla in Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Omkara’, he’s doing it all.
“Each of these roles gives me a thrill,” says Ajay, who adds that choosing a film has always been a spontaneous decision for him. “It all depends on who the director is. I have to know that he is capable of handling the film. It is not really a conscious decision to work only with certain directors, but as long as I feel that I can trust the person’s capabilities, I’m game.”
While insisting that big banners don’t really matter to him, Ajay points out that he needs to be absolutely sure that the production company can sell the film. “These days the promotion and marketing of a film have become as important as, perhaps, the script itself.”
About Ashtavinayak Films’ ‘Golmaal’ releasing next week, Ajay says it has his kind of humour. “It’s a really funny film. It’s not about people making faces to make the audience laugh – the script is funny and the situations even funnier.”
In the movie, Ajay repeats a stunt he did for his debut film ‘Phool Aur Kante’ – standing astride two moving bikes. “When I did it 15 years ago, it was really easy. But this time it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I guess things change with age.”
Does he think he’s matured with age? “Yes I have, but I can’t explain how,” he smiles. As for playing real life son, husband and father, he says, “I have been really lucky. It’s been easy going for me all my life. I have a lovely family, great parents, a wonderful wife and an adorable daughter.”
Which of the three has made him more responsible? “Each role comes with its own kind of responsibility. But after becoming a father, I have started working towards making my daughter’s future secure, something I wasn’t so bothered about earlier. Also, I have cut down my work so that I can spend more time with Nysa.” Wife Kajol would certainly approve.
Salman Khan is known for taking off his shirt at the drop of a hat and now close on his heels is Ajay Devgan. The media shy actor, known for his intense acting, will be taking off his shirt for some scenes in his forthcoming film, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara, the Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello. About his comparison to Salman Khan, he laughs and says, “My role required me to have a lean and mean look with muscles and cuts. And I was rigorously working out to achieve the desired results. Some scenes in the film require me to take my shirt off to flex some muscles and I did it.” So finally Devgan too joins Bollywood‘s evergrowing muscular brigade!
Ajay Devgan is all charged-up about his forthcoming film Omkara, the Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, that he prefers it to the original. “I guess everyone knows this is based on Shakespeare’s Othello. When I heard the script, I was very excited to do it. Usually what happens is when you see the final draft, you think, ‘OK, it’s nice but not as you thought it would be.’ This is one film I am as excited about as I was on the first day. The way Vishal Bhardwaj has adapted it, I would say he has done a great job. For me, it is better than the original. Vishal is a brilliant writer and director.” Talking about his first experience at the Cannes Film Festival, he said, “It was my first time at the Cannes. The experience was amazing. Cannes has a great film market. I didn’t have time to watch any other film, as I was there only for a day.” Ajay went to Cannes for the launch of a coffee table book on the making of Omkara in which he plays the title role. “It is a coffee table book and also talks about how the thought came to Vishal to make a film on Othello. The show reel on Omkara was appreciated by everybody there.” German filmmaker Roland Emmerich, who was at Cannes for the premiere of his new film, also saw the Omkara show reel and appreciated it a lot. “He freaked out over the promos of Omkara,” said Ajay.