Was your father, noted action director Veeru Devgn, keen that you become an actor? What influence did he have on you?
I wanted to be more behind the camera. But my father wanted me to be in front of the camera and be an actor. I used to be with him on sets when I was in school, and in fact, when I was 14-15 years old, I used to help him with edits. Then he started leaving things on me to edit and I did a lot of sequences here and there for him. He used to take a shot at that time, when there used to be no CGI, and come to me and ask me how I would take it. Because he had got me a camera, I would shoot the scene the next day and tell him how he could do it. All this I have learned from him.
What is the most challenging part about parenting these days?
To understand children and actually to follow them. Because I still struggle because we have our own point of view and they have their own point of view. So you have to start understanding their point of view. And you have to start following their point of view.
Like, for instance, when they are saying don’t be over dramatic, they don’t mean they don’t love you. But the whole generation has changed. The way they emote has changed completely, and that takes time to understand. It is the same old saying of the generation gap, of no matter how cool you are, it is still there.
You have been around for more than 20 years and obviously, there are new actors arriving on the scene. Do you see a difference in the way they function and the way when you had started out?
They are very well-planned, well-prepared and much more dedicated than all of us. I have seen how they prepare for their work. When they are working, it is just work for them. For us, it was fun because we have been brought up like that. At that time, the whole atmosphere in the industry was like that. So we had to adapt but they have come really prepared.
Your first movie (Phool Aur Kaante, 1991) released around the same time as Lamhe. What was the reaction when your film succeeded at that time?
Anilji (Kapoor) had told me not to release the film on that day. I said that I am a newcomer and I have no say in such things. He said you will suffer. I said whatever has to happen will happen. And then the vice-versa happened. So he met me and said that it was damn good. But it was so sporting. That was the kind of atmosphere and support, which was there at that time.
Has that changed?
Not among all of us who are here since then. I don’t know about the new generation but the support is always there although it has become a lot more personalised. People are more worried now because there is a lot to lose, and a lot at stake. So the first reaction is how do I protect myself and that is how it has become now. I do not blame anybody.
People often talk about your intensity and term you as an intense actor. Did you ever model yourself on anyone?
I didn’t want to be labelled as an intense actor. In fact, I didn’t want to be labelled at all, which has changed now. People say that I can do comedy, intense roles and action too. So I am happy in that zone. That makes you feel complete.
Nowadays, we hear a lot about the #MeToo campaign in Hollywood. How do you think Bollywood is addressing the issue?
I think they have. The fact is that there is no industry in the world where such a thing is not happening. Here, there is exposure. So if I say something, it is noticed. In the rest of the places, nobody will bother to hear it. It is happening everywhere. I am happy that if they are doing this, people will hear and maybe other industries can also start speaking like this.
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