Ajay Devgan has come a long way in his Bollywood career from Phool Aur Kaante to All The Best. The once action hero has tried his hand in everything from acting to direction to production. Ajay shares with his journey so far in Bollywood.
How do you look back at your career from Phool Aur Kaante till All The Best?
I should say that I have been very lucky as an actor in the sense that I have always got the right film with the right director or else life would have been very boring.
How confident are you of All The Best clicking at the box office in a big way?
I have not seen Main Aurr Mrs Khanna and Blue, but since I have seen my film, I am pretty confident about hitting the jackpot at the box office. I am very confident 'All The Best" will click at the box-office in a big way. It is a rib-tickling comedy resulting from mistaken identities and hilarious goof-ups.
Are you hogging the show as a producer?
I may be the producer of All The Best but that does not mean that I am hogging the show. Sanjay Dutt fans will be ecstatic to see the actor donning his comic hat after a long spate of serious and intense roles. Bipasha too, after her much appreciated stint in 'No Entry" is back to showcase her comic streak adding to the madness that All The Best has to offer. While Fardeen Khan"s 'rock-star" look is fresh and appealing, Mugdha Godse looks all set to impress the viewers once again with her 'natural" screen presence, after Fashion.
Is All The Best a rip off from Paritosh Painter"s play Uncle Samjha Karo?
In fact, Uncle Samjha Karo has been ripped from a foreign play. We have bought the rights from the foreign writer of the play. Since the subject is in court, I cannot say more about this.
What according to you is the secret of your success as an actor?
I should confess that I have been very lucky as an actor in the sense that I have always got the right film with the right director or else life would have been very boring.
Do you regret having turned director with a flop like U Me Aur Hum?
My directorial debut U Me Aur Hum may have not clicked at the box office but that does not mean that I regret having made my debut with a sensitive film like that. If only I had wanted, I could have easily made my debut with a formula film but then I was very particular that I did not want to do a typical film when I set out to make my debut as a director with U, Me Aur Hum
Do you agree that you have played safe as a producer with a film like All The Best?
I knew that I was not taking a risk because I was not playing 100 percent to the galleries. I always knew that making Golmaal or for that matter Golmaal Returns was safe, because if a film makes you laugh, there is absolutely no risk at all for the maker. I have always believed that life is all about risks. All The Best is one such hilarious film.
How tough was it for you to direct U Me Aur Hum?
Direction was quite tough. If you are planned, direction is not at all difficult. The feedback that I got was that every one loved the second half of the film. If you are planned, direction is not at all difficult. The failure of U, Me Aur Hum did not shatter me because frankly I didn"t expect its collections to be extra ordinary like Golmaal Returns. I knew that making U, Me Aur Hum was part of the game. The kind of appreciation that I got from the audience was fantastic. However, I should confess that I was shocked at the kind of overwhelming reception that Golmaal Returns got at the box office.
Was it very difficult to convince Kajol to act in U, Me Aur Hum?
I knew exactly how she would perform and had written the character that she played in the film actually keeping Kajol in my mind. When she listened to the narration, she fell for it and said that she would love to do the role. I did not force Kajol to act in U, Me Aur Hum, just because it is our home production but cast her because I do not think any other actress could have done justice to her role the way she did.
Was London Dreams delayed because Salman and you did not see eye to eye at all?
I have never been an insecure actor. It is wrong to say that Salman and I did not get along with one another when we were working in Vipul Shah"s London Dreams. Salman Khan and I get along very well. We have had no issues either personally or professionally because we respect each other. Vipul is an organized director and knew what exactly what he wanted from Salman, me or for that matter Asin who is playing the leading lady in his film. Why would a director want to spoil his film?
What is your role in London Dreams?
I do not wish to divulge details about my role in London Dreams. Since Vipul has specifically asked me not to tell the media anything about the film before it"s release, all that I can divulge about the film is that it is about two friends, who are working in a musical band called London Dreams. It is a musical drama which has a lot of humor.
There are rumors about a split with Rajkumar Santoshi after Hulla Bol flopped!
Do not jump to the conclusion that Rajkumar Santoshi and I have sworn not to work with one another in future because Hulla Bol flopped and he did not set out to direct London Dreams as per his earlier plan. I have given my consent to Raj and will do a film with him. Raj is now working on the script and the day it is ready and I like it, I will go ahead and work with him.
Which are your forthcoming releases?
Besides Toonpur Ka Super Hero, which has an animated character, besides Kajol and me as the live characters, I also have up my sleeves films like Prakash Jha"s film Rajniti directed by Prakash Jha, who is known for his intense and thought provoking issue based films with the accent on politics, like Apaharan and Gangajal.
What is your criterion for saying yes to a film offer?
Either I like a script or not. The script should excite me. I see whether the producer and the director are both capable of ensuring that the project is completed. I take up a film, if and only if, I am convinced by the vision of the director. I have always believed in the fact that the director knows the best about any film and the actors only jump in and out of the sets. I make it a point to question my directors, though they always have the answers.
You seem to be the only actor who is extra choosy when it comes to selecting films!
It is not that only I am quite choosy as far as films are concerned. Today every actor is choosy. Every one of us is doing just one film at a time. It is only when you do ten films at a time that often you end up realizing that you do not have a choice.
You have surprisingly not jumped into the bait of corporate companies!
I do not want to commit myself for tomorrow. I have been getting a lot of offers from various corporate giants who are now making films. Who knows what is in store tomorrow? Why should I get stuck? When there is no lack of offers, why should I jump into any contract with any corporate and sell my soul to them?
What has been your experience as a distributor?
It was not as bad as people think. You wouldn"t believe it but the fact is that I have not lost any money at all in distribution of films. Thanks to the proliferation of the multiplexes in the metropolitan cities, distributors do not lose money at all these days. The producers of Black lost money but the distributors made money. In any case, as a distributor I believe in playing safe by undertaking to release the films on a commission basis.
To what extent has marriage earlier and fatherhood now brought about a transformation in you?
I feel that marriage and fatherhood certainly change one for the better. You get more responsible and want to spend more time at home with your kid.
Do Kajol and you have any plans for Nysa?
Nysa is too small now for us to think of what she is going to take up when she grows up. All that I would like to state now is that I want her to be daddy"s girl, because though Kajol is able to spend quality time with her, unfortunately thanks to my preoccupation with my commitments, I am able to spend very less time with her.
Though you had started off as an action hero, strangely enough, you do not have even one action film on hand now! Why?
I am keen now on doing an action film because I feel that I have not done one for such a long time.