You need to have a couple of conversations with Ajay Devgn before a mutual comfort level sets in. Yes, he has opened up with media but his intrinsic nature still doesn't allow him to go overboard yet (all for the right reasons though). You have to give the man his space, await reactions and probe to an extent that it stays within the zone. On the eve of the release of his much awaited film Raajneeti, Ajay Devgn talks to Joginder Tuteja about the 'event' factor attached to a Prakash Jha film, how it is different from Yuva and his thoughts around the promotion which saw a diversion towards Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.
A Prakash Jha film appears to be an event in itself. We have seen it in the past, whether it is Apaharan or Gangaajal. However, in case of Raajneeti, the buzz and hype has scaled an altogether different high. Are we actually looking at a high profile event in the form of Raajneeti?
See, Prakash Jha makes films which are realistic and have a strong element of truth to them. However, he has also learnt over a period of time that he has to tell a story in an entertaining manner so that people don't get the sense of a docudrama. He knows how to excite audience and has found that knack. There are very filmmakers who even attempt the kind of films that Prakash Jha makes. This is the reason why when once in a while a film like Raajneeti arrives; it takes the shape of an event.
Prakash Jha makes films which are realistic and have a strong element of truth to them
Well, in an event like Raajneeti, there are also points where it seems that your character is a take off on what you did in Yuva. Are there any comparison points here?
None at all; you can't even think of any comparisons whatsoever. In case of Yuva, the character I played was quite honest. He was trying to get into politics because he wanted to cleanse the system. In case of Raajneeti, this character doesn't come with any such aspirations. He is already a politician and his characteristics are certainly not white.
So how does the Mahabharata angle come into picture?
I play Karan in Raajneeti. Remember him? He was someone who was not a bad guy. But then uske saath galat hua tha aur uske paas koyi choice nahi bachi thi siwaay iske ki woh galat ka saath de. He made a promise and refused to come on the right side. He was selfless though and this is what my character is in Raajneeti as well.
Ajay Devgn Well, you also seem to be quite selfless in real life too. One can see that despite the film seemingly a hardcore political drama, there has been quite some focus on songs between Ranbir and Katrina. They ('Bheegi Si', 'Mora Piya') are good but don't you feel this was distracting audience from the real essence of the film?
What happens is when you make a film like this, you have to give in to promotion of music. You have to sell your film and for that songs have to be promoted. Yes, in the course of this happening, a film does take a backseat. Well, that's a hazard with our film industry and we have to live with this.
You have to sell your film and for that songs have to be promoted. Yes, in the course of this happening, a film does take a backseat
But then audience may not really be looking at music within the narrative of a film like Raajneeti?
I think so. Wahi toh main keh raha hoon, yeh hamaari majboori hai. Aisa nahi hona chahiye but there is not much choice actually.
Having said that, it is not a matter of choice when it comes to watching the film. There are many out there waiting to catch up on Raajneeti. One question though - Earlier in the year, we have seen a serious film like Rann, which despite being well made failed at the box office. Doesn't that lend you a scary feel for Raajneeti?
As I stated earlier, Prakash now understands that audience ko entertain kaise karna hai. Also, a film like Gangaajal being popular till date is a testimony to the fact that a good film always finds its audience. I am told by so many that when it comes on TV, people do not switch on to the other channel. They say that they have seen the film not 5, 10 or 15 times but 20 times. It would be great if there is similar response in theatres this time around for Raajneeti.
Meanwhile, promotion of your next film Once Upon A Time In Mumbai is also picking up steam. Some good feelers here?
Yes, reactions to the first look have been pretty great so far. I have been told that the buzz is indeed catching up for the film. I have seen portions of the film and truly believe that there is some good stuff that we have in our hands here.