With an enviable record of three Rs 100 crore blockbusters in the last three years,Ajay Devgn has cemented his place in the top five big players of the industry. As he gets ready for the release of his next,Himmatwala,he speaks to Priyanka Pereira about the importance of making big bucks,his comic timing and why content-driven cinema is still something he looks forward to.
What do the 80s signify to you?
Childhood. It was a lot of fun,going to college,visiting the sets with my father and one of them I remember was the set of Himmatwala. I learnt a lot in the 80s about the workings of the industry.
When you started your career in the early 90s,did the 80s cinema influence you in any way?
I would say,yes and no. Come to think of it,the 80s did not have great cinema,only a few gems in between. What I really learnt was what to pick up and what to leave out.
When you decided to do the Himmatwala remake,were you sceptical of the comparisons?
I wasnt,because I knew from the first day that it wasnt a frame-to-frame remake. The germ had been picked up from there. Even the costumes are different. I do not wear white pants and white shirts in the film,nor do I try to talk or walk like Jeetendra.
But the melodrama is certainly there.
Yes,it is loud and there is a lot of melodrama. There is also the mother,sister and all the relationships that existed in the 80s movies. But it is not a spoof.
Did you have to unlearn a lot?
I wouldnt say that. I followed my instinct and added my own nuances to the character.
With Taki taki you seem to have brushed up your dancing skills. Are you working on it?
Even my daughter Nysa says that she really likes the way I dance in Taki taki. This is the first time she has complimented me on my dance. But I am not working on my dance,I dont even rehearse.
You started off as an action hero and then a serious actor. When did you start trusting your comic timing?
I still dont believe that I have a good comic timing. Initially,I did some comedies such as Ishq,where I was just about okay. But over several films,I improved. The comic timing in Golmaal was good,but Golmaal 2 and 3 were better,and Bol Bachchan is even better. Be it comedy,romance or action,one is constantly scared if one will be able to pull it off or not. The day an actor feels he has perfected the art,he should just hang his boots.
You have worked with Rohit Shetty in as many as five comedies,but this is your first time with Sajid Khan. Do the two have different approaches?
They are completely different although they understand the audience well. Rohit understands the pulse of the audience and makes the film for them. Sajid makes a film as an audience. For instance,if we shoot a scene and he doesnt find it funny,then he will just can it.
In the last three years,you have had as many as three 100 crore films. Does the money matter?
Of course. The main intention for any film is that it should make money. Money means appreciation,money means everything.
Were you always this business-minded?
No. The perspective did change over the years. But I am still open to different kinds of cinema. If someone offers me a great script,I will still do it without thinking of the box-office results.
Does Satyagraha,your next release,somewhat help strike a balance?
To make it clear,Satyagraha is a mainstream film. But the plus point is that along with the masses,the classes will also lap it up. In the film,I get a chance to play a realistic role,something that I really enjoy.