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I am very passionate, says Ajay

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's two days to Vishal Bharadwaj's Omkara. And probably one of the biggest challenges of Ajay Devgan -who plays the title role.

The character is intense, brooding, passionate and driven to commit violence out of jealousy. We quizzed the actor on all these characteristics and more. Read on....

Are you anxious, tense or nervous about Omkara?
I don't feel anything. After working for so many years in the film industry you go beyond feeling such emotions. Fluctuating emotions don't change anything - the box-office success/failure will be according to how good or bad a film is. I just hope the film has shaped up well and the audiences like the film.

Which role did Vishal want you to play?
Vishal had always wanted me to play the role of Othello as he told me he could only envisage me as Othello. Even when Saif wasn't there, I was always Othello.

How did you work on the character of Omkara?
I haven't used any reference points. I haven't read Othello or watched any Bollywood versions of it. I knew what the character was, but I didn't know what the adaptation would be. I had just heard the gist from Vishal.

I liked what I heard. Vishal's adaptation was his own interpretation so characterisations would change along with the backdrop. I followed Vishal completely. And what worked, was the fact that we always had the same thing in mind. Before he could say something I knew what Vishal wanted and vice versa.

Describe the different emotions of Omi.
There are lots of emotions in Omi - passion, aggression, love, tenderness towards Dolly, the woman he loves and in a way, jealousy. I can't call it jealousy as the confusion is planted in his head. It's a norm of society that a person in love can't have more than a single lover. Jealousy and possessiveness are two different things.

Possessive-ness is when you can't handle your lover looking at anybody else with affection. But in Omkara, it's logic and not emotion - somebody has planted these thoughts about his wife's betrayal in his head with proof.

Which emotion would you relate to?
I can relate to all emotions as I have them all. Passion, aggression, love, tenderness and jealousy is there in all human beings. Not one person can say that they don't possess any one of these emotions.

It is believed Othello was weak as he didn't believe in the woman he loved.
Omkara is not weak. It's only after the doubts have been logically planted in Omi's head with proof, that is he convinced about Dolly's unfaithfulness. Any strong person would believe something if irrefutable facts were put before him. The emotions of love and possessiveness were there, other people utilised them to their advantage.

Is it necessary to feel for the character you portray?
While performing, yes. On the surface, it should not be that he starts living the character as the actor would go crazy. It's just between action-and-cut. I empathised with Omkara's character completely.

Any regrets about refusing Saif's role?
No regrets. Saif is playing a negative character. I would have never played that role even if Vishal had offered it to me. I have done a couple of negative characters lately and I didn't want to play one again.

You recommended Vivek Oberoi for Keshu's role?
I didn't recommend him. It was the director's (Vishal Bharadwaj) choice as he suited the role, but Vivek has done full justice to the role and performed it well.

Recently Vivek said that you helped him with his stunts.
I don't know about my knowledge of stunts, but having done a number of stunts earlier, I have some kind of experience and if it helps somebody, why not?

How was it working with Kareena?
Though we haven't worked opposite each other before Omkara, I have known her since she was a youngster. There is a comfort zone between us. Bebo has performed very well in films and was just perfect for the role. I felt very comfortable working with her.

For your character's look, do you rely wholly on your designer?
Though I rely on my designer's choice, I also take a personal call as to what suits me more or what goes with my character. If I feel it doesn't suit the character, I object and change the outfit.

Are you as jealous and possessive as Omi? Would you kill for love?
It's a very big moment where you feel so passionate that you want to kill. Honestly speaking, I haven't been in such a situation. It's a situation which nobody can know or anticipate till they are in it. Also few people would have the guts to go ahead with such an act.

Are you a passionate and violent person by nature?
When we are young, we have the aggression of youth which tempers with age. In college, I might have been hot-blooded and short-tempered, but we tend to outgrow such tempestuous feelings the more we mature. That's growth. I don't know much about passion. Yes, I am a very passionate person by nature, but I lose my passion quickly.

It's believed that you are passionate about cars?
Yes, I love cars and it is as much my passion as driving is, but then everybody loves materialistic things in life. But my passion is very short-lived. I might want to buy the most expensive car but then I start thinking about the practicalities of buying such an car and then passion dies.

You haven't watched Fanaa but Kajol watches all your films? Comment.
Yes, she watches most of my films. I haven't seen Fanaa, not out of choice but because I haven't had the time. I have been continuously shooting. Right now, I am in Pune. I will watch it when I'm back.

Do you give each other feedback about your acting?
Yes, when we have watched each other's films we do give our feedback to each other about the film and our roles.

Future projects

Raj Kumar Santoshi's Halla Bol, Abbas-Mustan's untitled next, Raj Kumar Santoshi's London Dreams, Ram Gopal Varma's Sholay, Anubhav Sinha's Cash.

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