By Devansh Patel, Bollywood Hungama News Network
Achieving prolonged success in Bollywood could never be described as easy. To do it, switching regularly between comedy, action and art-house drama is harder still. And to do it as an actor, director and producer must surely qualify you as someone truly gifted. Funny, they say, is hard. Funny floats in the ether and only the chosen can snatch it down. So, to be the funniest of them all without making those stretched faces is a challenge few can rise to. Ajay Devgan did this. This is a position he's achieved both through the relentless perfectionism of his approach to his work, and the ferocity with which he protects his private life. Apart from the very occasional tabloid snippet, we hear nothing about the man, only ever seeing him when he's playing someone else - which is, of course, exactly how he wants it to be. The actor took some valuable time out for London correspondent Devansh Patel from the set of his new film London Dreams and shared his views on his big Diwali release, Golmaal Returns, which he thinks has shaped up better than its prequel, Golmaal. So as one Dev questions, the other Dev answers in this Bollywood Hungama's short and sweet exclusive!
You return with Golmaal again. Are you looking forward to it?
Of course I am, because the first part was really appreciated and still people come up to me and say that they've formed Golmaal Returns groups which is on the net also. When we started Golmaal Returns, we were very hesitant as it had to be funnier than or at least as funny as the first part. So there were many scripts we looked at but eventually we found one and we all thought that it was funnier than the first one.
Did Sharman Joshi's absence make you feel vulnerable?
Initially we were wondering how we were going to fit in Sharman in the film. But the first day when Shreyas performed, we were all at ease. I think that Shreyas is fantastic.
Are you happy that you all have a woman in your life now?
(laughs) Yeah, you're right. We were missing them in the first one. But the fact is that the script demanded it and female leads were not forced in Golmaal Returns.
You've worked with Kareena in Omkara and now in Golmaal Returns. How was it to unite back?
It feels great. I've known her since many years now. It is very important for the co-actors to get along especially in a film like Golmaal Returns because you improvise a lot where humour is concerned and when you keep jelling and then pulling each others leg, it works both ways, isn't it?
Tell us a bit about the comic song where Celina holds you on the ship.
That was really funny. You have to see it to believe it. It was a bit difficult to shoot that song but it all went well. It is the funniest song of the film.
Do you think Rohit Shetty making comedy instead of action is working for him?
Rohit joined us as an assistant in Phool Aur Kaante. Since then, he has been with us. Then he joined Devgan Films. So as a kid brother, as a colleague and as a friend he has been with me for more than 15 years. I know he is good at action but right now he is doing good for himself by making comic films. I always knew that he had a great potential of becoming a director and that's why he started Zameen and now that he has proved himself, there is no looking back for Rohit.
U.K audiences are the most unpredictable. Good films are being rejected here. What have you to say?
That's all over the world. It's happening everywhere right now. But I think that good scripts eventually work and something must be terribly wrong with some films which don't work. What has happened is that people now a days only want to be entertained. So when they are depressed, they don't want to watch another depressing story. But if you show them comedy and family dramas, it works. The problem with such audiences is that they don't want to experiment. They want to forget their personal issues and want to go and enjoy with family. They aren't bothered in which way you entertain them, but they have to be and that's the bottom line.
After U, Me Aur Hum, what next Mr Director Devgan?
I am working on a script right now. I don't want to make films which are just regular films. It has to really come from my heart. The script has to move me. U, Me Aur Hum in fact did well in the U.K and now I'm working on something which is a little whacko. Devgan Films is also working on two or three more scripts which I won't be directing.
We also know that the inbox of your email is filled with more than 250 emails from fans across the globe. Hows the idea of interacting with your fans in the U.K working?
I am interacting with everybody and not only the U.K audiences. It's just that I am in the U.K right now shooting for London Dreams and I thought that this can be a fantastic way of interacting with one of Indian Film Industry's biggest market after India, London. U.K is like a second home to us.
Did Shreyas Talpade get along well with you?
He jelled in the first day itself. In fact you should ask him how he did that. He got so comfortable with all of us. Maybe everyone knew what to expect from everyone after having seen Golmaal, the prequel. I like the crew to sit down together and eat. I knew that Shreyas was the new one in the gang and if we did not make an effort of making him comfortable, I believe it could've messed up many things. It was just about breaking the ice on the first day and everything from then onwards was a smooth ride.
How was the experience of stretching your legs between two hummers?
I didn't stretch my legs in between the hummer, I was standing on it. The stretching was done in Phool Aur Kaante. It was comfortable and Rohit wanted to continue where I left from Golmaal part one where I was seen on bikes. He wanted to elaborate a more and thus went for the hummers.
You've won the National Awards twice but we all know that they're under a big scrutiny. Do you think it's losing its national pride?
I really don't know what happens where, and what leads to what. But I hope things remain good so that the credibility of the National Awards is maintained. That gives you a high or else they'll fall flat.
You're happy that Studio 18 is marketing and distributing your film Golmaal Returns? Your last film saw Eros International doing the same.
It's not about name here. Both are good. There are so many films coming up and so many means of entertainment. Everybody is so busy. So you need to divert their attention and inform them that it's time for some light entertainment. Though this may sound simple and easy but it's not and Studio 18 knows it. But ultimately it's all decided after that Friday night when reality hits you. So you really need to market your films to grab the audience's attention in today's time.
Golmaal is returning two years after its prequel. Did you see the first part before you started shooting the second?
No. The film has a very different story all together. It's got similar characters but their characterisation is different. It's another script at another level. It has nothing to do with part one but it will make you laugh more than part one, I'm sure.
How are you going to celebrate Diwali this year?
By watching Golmaal Returns I guess. Diwali is a time of happiness. That's why I think Golmaal Returns is releasing at the appropriate time. It's an entertainer. So go, watch and laugh this Diwali. It's going to be fun unlimited.