Even as Hindi cinema continues to follow the tradition of judging stardom by one’s ability to dominate the box office, the bearing of a star’s social media engagement on his or her fame today is undeniable. But actor Ajay Devgn, who has famously remained private in his over two decades-long career, is not pleased with the way Bollywood has latched onto the instant gratification.
Ajay, in fact, said it is sad that nowadays, actors are constantly screaming for attention rather than letting their work speak for them.
“There’s a lot of insecurity today. What’s also happening is that people have so much to do that their memory is very short lived. I will forget in two days what I was talking about today. Whereas in our times, this never used to happen. So, you start feeling that you have to be out there and you have to keep reminding people, ‘Look I am here’,” the actor told indianexpress.com in an interview.
But being an active entity of the business, doesn’t he feel the pressure of being “out there,” especially at a time when stardom is being defined by number of followers and likes? The actor, whose latest project Raid is enjoying a successful run at the box office, replied, “I mean we all do that. Like social media, I personally don’t believe I need to do but when you have something important to say or during these promotions then I do it. Otherwise I don’t think it is important to tell people, ‘Look, I am alive!’ That’s sad.”
He, however, admitted that despite his reticence being known to people around him, they keep pushing him to engage more with media, fans so that “he is seen more.”
“Yes, I have been told that. People come and tell me, and not just for films. They tell me I should go out and talk about myself. But I can’t do it. I don’t think that’s my job. My job is to be in front of the camera and work speaks for itself.”
Not the one to enjoy the limelight beyond the one in front of the camera, Ajay also has an opinion on the attention his kids are subjected to, courtesy his and wife Kajol’s star status. The actor says it would be “more human” of the media if it leaves star kids alone.
“It troubles you. I just feel that if people had this responsibility. I understand it’s a part of our job, we chose this, but that doesn’t mean kids will understand this. They are just growing up. So, if they are left alone, it would be nice, more human.”
In his long-standing career, while he has been admired unanimously and consistently for his films and characters he has played, something that has often been speculated is his off-screen conduct. From being called arrogant to intimidating, Ajay, many times, has been given unpleasant labels, which the actor says is a misconception he has finally made peace with.
“I feel misunderstood. I have said this earlier also. Because I keep to myself and don’t talk much, they feel that he is arrogant or intimidating. But once they get to know me, their perception changes.” But the perception has never forced him to act against his nature. In fact, the actor said one of the reasons he likes to stay distant and detached from the industry is because he feels people are sadists.
“People can never be happy watching other people happy. It’s not about being a good or a bad person. It’s just the society. It’s human nature. That’s why we are more fascinated with other people’s lives instead of thinking about ours. You are always judging. You always want to judge and not for the good because according to humans, everybody is inferior to what he or she is. That’s what you like to believe.
“You know how many people are not happy with your success, are jealous of you in not just professional but in every other way, in marriage and whatever. So, they want to take out faults in you. They say, ‘These people are just acting. They are not happy.’ Why do they talk like this? Because they don’t want other people to be happy. And the fact is that nobody is happy,” added Ajay.
And while one would believe this sentiment is heightened in Bollywood because it is extremely competitive, Ajay disagreed, “Not at all. It’s just that people have a platform today (courtesy social media) and you are coming to know about it. You can take the industry and put the whole scenario in a building or a society, it would be the same – neighbours talking about neighbours. It will be worse, where they will be coming face to face to fight. At least here they don’t.”