By Faridoon Shahryar, Bollywood Hungama News Network
“We weren’t taking a dig on anybody. The people concerned have no issues, then, whose issue is it! And why should I answer this question,” said an angry Ajay Devgan replying to a question based on a news report in a tabloid stating that Devgan’s character in Halla Bol had taken digs at Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan. Known for stellar performances in films like Zakhm, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Company and Legend of Bhagat Singh, Ajay Devgan is a star who is an actor first for he always shines irrespective of the fate of his films at the Box Office. In a no holds barred interview with Bollywood Hungama, Ajay opens up about his forthcoming film, Sunday, first directorial venture U Me Aur Hum, how it was to direct wife, Kajol, and what makes him tick in spite of all odds.
How different is Sunday as compared to your other films?
I really don’t know. Sunday is a film on its own. I wouldn’t want to compare it with other films. It’s a comedy where as the title suggests that a day goes missing in Ayesha’s life and it happens to be a Sunday and we are all looking for it. On a concept level it’s different and the whole film has been treated on a lighter note.
You and Rohit Shetty share a similar family background as your respective fathers were prominent Action directors, he has assisted many of your films and then directed you in all his films so far…There seems to be a mutual admiration society between the two of you…When do we see you doing an action film together?
I know him for 15-16 years. We are like a family. What more can I say. If we get the right kind of script then both of us should do an action film.
Certain action sequences in Sunday have been shot in the congested streets of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. It’s an unusual choice for filming action sequences….
We did shoot there and it was managed very well. It was very well organized. There were more than 50, 000 people. Nobody really troubled us. They were very cooperative.
This is your first film with Ayesha Takia. How was the experience?
I think it was great. It’s always a pleasure to work with good actors. And she did very well.
Your male co-stars have always said good things about you. You are never accused of cutting other people’s roles. Why?
It’s the film. A film always works well when everybody in it works well and not just one person. If tomorrow I think that a scene should go from the film be it mine or somebody else’s, its not as if I want to increase my role or decrease anybody’s role. It is what works for the film.
Music of Sunday is catchy. What’s your favourite track?
Nice music. Title song is working well. In fact my favourite is Pyaar To Hona Hi Hai.
How different is it to Being Directed and Directing yourself?
Two different things altogether. Here every decision is yours. It’s your concept, it’s the way you want to make and the way you see it. The way you see your actors performing, including yourself, it is entirely the director’s vision. Filmmaking is one man’s vision and that’s always the director. You can question the director but you shouldn’t divert his vision.
The first promo of your directorial debut U Me Aur Hum was featured on Bollywood Hungama recently and the response was fantastic. It’s a very appealing video starting with flying birds, the beautiful sea, nice soothing music….
(Interrupts) That’s how the film has been shot also. Nothing extra has been taken out for the sake of the promo. People usually do that. They make some shots for the promotion of the film but what you see in our promo is all part of the film.
Kajol is looking mint fresh and your chemistry seems to be razor sharp as if it’s your first film together…
When things work, everything works. I think it’s in coordination with the whole script and it’s the way the director sees it. And, then the presentation. If these things work then everything works. If the film on a whole doesn’t work then nothing works. I don’t think there’s anything such as chemistry. If the characters are working then the chemistry is there. If the characters are not working then there’s no chemistry.
How easy or difficult is it to direct a fantastic actor like Kajol?
I think it is always a pleasure to direct great actors, good actors. She is a good actress. So, I had the leeway to push my buttons while writing the scenes because I know my actor can perform it.
U Me Aur Hum is your first film. Obviously there’s a lot of curiosity. What’s the film all about?
I think it’s too early to talk about the film. It’s a romantic film. It’s a film about relationships. It has its dose of humour and drama. I’ve just tried to say something that I believe in my heart. It’s a film that talks about positivity in life and in relationships. There’s so much of negativity around, I thought issues are there in everybody’s life and how to tackle them is the positivity. Tackle them with a smile. That’s what I believe in.
Who has done the music of U Me Aur Hum…it seems different and very nice?
Vishal Bharadwaj. I think he has done a fabulous job.
Apparently you’ve taken digs at Shahrukh and Aamir Khan in your film Halla Bol…
(Interrupts) Spoken by whom?
There are certain scenes in the film…
(Interrupts again) But spoken by whom?
There was a news report in a tabloid regarding the same…
But who created that report
The journalist who wrote the story…
Exactly…people concerned didn’t speak about it or even know about it. When we shot the film we didn’t have anyone in mind, we weren’t taking a dig on anybody. The people concerned have no issues, then, whose issue is it! And why should I answer this question.
Alright, let’s shift to greener pastures. You won a National Award for Zakhm and Bhagat Singh. You are one actor who talks with his eyes, whose silence speaks for itself! How do you internalize so beautifully?
If you ask me how I do it, I’d say I don’t know. I think I’ve been lucky enough to get the right kind of roles with the right kind of directors. I’m honestly there without any insecurities that I should do a little more than what I do, will expressions show on screen or should I overact. I just do it with honesty.
Amongst your own films, which are the ones that have been most satisfying?
I really don’t know. I think you work hard on all films. Some work, some don’t. But you’ve worked hard on all so you can’t say which is more satisfying.
But still if you have to choose say four five most satisfying works of yours, which one will they be?
You took a few names, like Zakhm, Legend of Bhagat Singh then Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Gangajal, Aparahan…and even Halla Bol where people have really appreciated the performance.
There are times when your films work and then there are times when they don’t. How do you deal with such phases?
Those phases come and go because you know it’s the right kind of films that work. And then you need to sit and think that what worked and what didn’t work. Then try not to make the same mistakes again. It’s better to make new mistakes.
Apart from you, one of your colleagues Aamir Khan also turned a director with Taare Zameen Par….
Whatever I’ve heard about the film, I think he has made a fantastic film. I think it’s great. He is a good actor. He is a sensible guy so I was always sure he’ll make a good film.
You guys gelled beautifully in Ishq. Any chances of doing another film together?
We should get the right kind of script that both of us should like and want to do. We would love to work.
What are your forthcoming films?
There’s Sunday, then U Me Aur Hum and then Golmaal Returns.