He’s a proven commodity as an actor and star too. Ajay Devgn can pack a punch in action flicks and score in emotional film fare with equal facility. Ali Peter John quizzes the performer who’s known to be quite an introvert…
The rise and growth of an actor is nothing but a marvel and even a miracle to watch. I have watched many but one man who keeps me interested and intrigued by his amazing rise and growth is Ajay Devgn. Ajay never had the ambition to be an actor, he was more interested in being a director, but call it destiny or what you may, he found himself facing the camera as the hero of his first ever film, Phool aur Kaante.
He was the action-hero of the film which went on to be one of the biggest hits. He was soon seen in any number of similar films and had most of his muscles sprained or bones broken. It was becoming a routine for him and he wanted to break loose and create a new image for himself. His wish was granted and he was soon the sober and serious hero of some very significant films.
He was first recognised as the actor with the fire in him by Mahesh Bhatt who cast him in his film, Zakhm. He was so good in the film that he himself was surprised and was in for a bigger surprise when he shared the National Award for the Best Actor with the legendary actor of Malayalam films, Mammootty. That was just the beginning for Ajay, the real actor and what he has been doing in some of the best films, has placed him on a pedestal where only the best are placed. It has been one long journey for an actor who is charged with the enthusiasm to be nothing but the best. Ajay who talks very little about himself and his achievements makes an exception and talks…
I have always had this impression that you are a very reserved person, a serious actor and a loving family man. What is the truth about Ajay Devgn?
Your impression about me is almost correct. I am all that you think I am. It is only my family and my work as an actor that matters to me. Otherwise, I try my best to be both of the industry and yet out of it. It is a very peaceful way of living life I have discovered.
It has been almost more than twenty years that you’ve been in the movie business. What do you think are the reasons why you have been going steady and only growing better with time?
The one most important thing is my honesty, sincerity and the very hard work that I put into every role that I play, in whatever kind of films I accept. I don’t think about what others are doing or about any kind of competition. This is not a cliché, but I am at my best when I am competing with myself.
What kinds of roles fascinate you now?
I am a professional actor and believe that I must do my best in any kind of role which I agree to play. I can do anything to do justice to the role I play. That is also one of the reasons why I have been growing better and more mature with every film that I do.
Who are the directors who have made a big difference to your career?
I believe in giving credit where it is due and by my standards I always think that the first credit must go to my first director, Kuku Kohli, who convinced my father and producer, Dinesh bhai to cast me as a hero at a time when no one was willing to even have a second look at me. If it was not for the grand success of Phool aur Kaante, I would not have been able to take my next step. He was also the director who made Haqeeqat with me and Tabu who was considered one of the best actresses. It was a film in which I was a very different character from all the maar-dhaad films I was continuously doing. People who saw me in action films could not believe that I was the same Ajay I had been in so many films. I couldn’t believe it when the film was nominated in all the categories of the ‘Screen’ Awards.
But then came that big swing in your growth as an actor. Who are the directors you give credit to for the rise of the new Ajay Devgn?
I would not have been able to play all the difficult characters I played during this stage if I was not lucky to find some very good directors taking interest in me. Among the big names who made a difference to my career are undoubtedly, Mahesh Bhatt, Rajkumar Santoshi, Prakash Jha, Rohit Shetty and Priyadarshan. They could find out the strong points in me and bring them to the surface, which is very essential for an actor to grow and give his best.
But you are always in your best form when working with Prakash Jha in all the films you have done with him…
We have a very good understanding. He knows how to get the best out of me and I know what he expects from me. This kind of understanding is very important for a film to be recognised as a good film. I have done some of the most difficult roles with Mr. Prakash Jha, but have never worked under any pressure or tension. It is such a pleasure to work with a passionate director like him.
And what do you have to say about Singham which is my personal Ajay Devgn favorite and which has broken all kinds of box-office records? You are sure to win all the awards soon…
It was a tailor-made role for me and more over I had the original to learn from and improve. I too feel that it is one of the best roles I have played in my career. And the records at the box-office have only given me double the satisfaction. As far as the awards are concerned, I am very happy with the awards that the people have given me. Everyone knows that I don’t have a very high opinion about popular awards. I don’t even attend the award functions.
But after doing all these great roles in your career, you come up with strange surprises like Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, the Golmaal series and what I consider the most stupid film of your career, Rascals. Why do you do such lousy films?
As I told you I am a professional actor and have to do all kinds of roles to be in what is turning out to be a race among us actors. I have to do these roles to prove that I can do anything as an actor. Moreover, these films sometimes give me a break from all the serious stuff I do.
You directed a film which was not a very satisfying experience. Will you try to direct a film again?
I have not had the time to even think about it, and I feel I may not direct a film again… but who knows?
Any chances of the magic team Ajay and Kajol coming together again?
We have not thought about it seriously, but I suppose if there is a good script for us, we just might. As professional actors, we will certainly consider the temptation.
How do you see Ajay Devgn ten years from now?
I am not an astrologer and I don’t believe in worrying about the future. Whatever has to happen will happen because it has always been like that in my life. I have not planned anything.