If there is one actor who has created his own image as a complete actor, it is Ajay Devgn. In the twenty five years or more he has done the kind of films which none of his contemporaries have. He was branded as a B grade action hero once, but with the passing of the time and his eagerness to learn all the time has change him into actor for all seasons and for all challenges. He is always at his best whether he is doing an action film, a love story, a comedy or a family drama. With the release of Singham he proved that he was the real master of action. He will now be facing a tougher test now with the sequel to Singham, aptly called Singham Returns. Ajay Devgn who has gone through a whole gamut of experiences speaks about Singham Returns, Rohit Shetty, action in films and his own future…
Your most eagerly awaited film, ”Singham Returns” is scheduled for release on Independence Day. What are your views on films being scheduled for some of the major festivals?
I think 15th August is a good day though it’s not as great as Eid or Diwali which has so many holidays which makes lot of difference for a film. The day we decided to make Singham Returns we locked 15th August without giving it any serious or business-like thought.
What’s the difference between the south remake and ”Singham Returns”?
There are no similarities whatsoever. When the south remake started, they asked us to go through the script of their movie but we thought the script was right for us because they have their audience and style of filmmaking. It’s a different script altogether and not a remake.
How much did your character evolve as compared to the original Singham?
Technically, the characteristics are similar. The way he operates is the same. His romance has changed and so have the problems he faces. He comes to a big city from a small town. The characteristics are the same, only the scale on which the drama unfolds is bigger.
Do you have complete trust in your director, Rohit Shetty?
It’s not like that. We discuss things, even have arguments, but yes the comfort zone is there and I know that he would present me well on screen. In my first film, Rohit came as a simple assistant to learn filmmaking and it is difficult to believe that we have been working for twenty five years now. It’s too late in life to sit and analyse how and when our relationship began.
Considering ”Singham” was a huge hit, what factors were taken into account to ensure a good opening for ”Singham Returns”?
I don’t know what helps a good opening. I think if people like the first promo, your job is half done for the opening and the film has to be good. And that reaction we got from the promo. People just loved the first promo. We’ve just shot a song with Honey Singh which according to me will become a blockbuster song. Whenever I go to malls I can see even non -Marathi kids saying ‘Aata majhi satakli’. Honey Singh made a song around that.
How has action evolved since the time of your father Veeru Devgn who was the master of action thirty years ago?
Action has become bigger. Technology has come in. What was impossible before is possible now. We can do things with graphics now. Lot of safety precautions are being taken into consideration which were never there. My father likes progress.
Most stars today are bound by commercial credentials to do masala family entertainers only. Do you think you also surrender to the pressure?
No, I don’t agree. In fact, I was the first one to do hatke films like Zakhm and Thakshak at a time when no other actor would sign offbeat films. I would like to do films like those films today provided I get a script which really excites me which I have not heard since a long time. When you talk about a box- office hit and when you a film like the ones I have mentioned, they have to be made on a shoestring budget because it has got a limited audience. Films don’t fail, budgets fail.
Is the action in ”Singham Returns” real?
We wanted to keep the action more real because I believe people have seen enough of cars flying high. The taste of audience is changing and so the way you treat them should also change. We thought the action had to be more realistic. For instance nobody could hit Singham but this time he will be shown getting hit. I refused to use cables during action scenes in Singham Returns.
How does it feel to see the young crop of actors doing action scenes?
Today’s kids are evolving and that’s good. What we could pull off during that time without any graphics and safety measures it’s too difficult for the young kids to pull it off.
Would like to direct the Singham franchisee in future?
No, that is exclusively Rohit’s forte.
Did you refuse to wear a sari in the ”Kanchana” remake?
We are still working on the script. I don’t know where the story came from but that’s not true.
Did Shah Rukh Khan drop in while ”Singham Returns” was being shot?
Yes he was shooting nearby and just dropped in to meet us. That’s it.
Have you and SRK made up?
I know there are reports but I don’t know why they write made and patch up. If we had a problem we should have patched. So when there is no problem, where is the need to patch up? You haven’t seen me abusing SRK in the media nor have you seen him abusing me. There could be things between two actors for personal reasons but not between him and me. If you are not friends it does not mean that you are enemies. You are colleagues and you are there for each other as part of the industry. I’m sure if tomorrow if I need any support he will be there for me.
The trailer of ”Happy New Year” has been attached to ”Singham Returns”. Whose idea it was?
It was Shah Rukh Khan‘s idea. He asked us if he can attach the trailer of his film with Singham Returns and we instantly agreed.
You’re also directing ”Shivay” next year
Let’s not talk about things which are still in the ideas stage. I will talk if there is something that has to be really talked about. Why waste words over nothing?
”Singham Returns” has been accused of showing Hindus in a bad light by a Hindu organization.
I wouldn’t talk about that right now, because we are still solving the issue. It’s just wrong to react to something like this without knowing anything about it.
Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar have already delivered 100 crore blockbusters. Do you think you would be able to break their records?
I want to surpass my own record. You always have to try and surpass what you have done.