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Action Jackson’s Ajay Devgn: It’s no fun romancing on screen

After the gun-toting Singham in 'Singham Returns', Ajay Devgn plays the sword wielding Jackson in 'Action Jackson'.

Written by Geety Sahgal | Mumbai |
Updated: December 6, 2014 9:23:11 am
Ajay Devgn’s mercurial rise seems remarkably understated and subdued. Ajay Devgn’s mercurial rise seems remarkably understated and subdued.

He’s a man of few words, but Ajay Devgn has a keen sense of humour. When asked how it felt to romance three heroines in Action Jackson he retorted with ‘it’s no fun romancing on screen. When you are giving a shot, it does not matter who the actress is’! Devgn who has completed more than two decades in the film industry, has earned himself the label of an action hero and recently featured in three films, (Son Of Sardaar, Bol Bachchan and Singham Returns) that crossed the Rs.100 crore mark.
At a time when stars are flaunting their stardom, Devgn’s mercurial rise seems remarkably understated and subdued. Screen catches up with the actor who would rather let his work speak.

You have worked with Rohit Shetty and Prabhudheva, both directors who make films in the same space, entertainers with a good dose of action and humour. How would you compare the two?

Although both of them make action entertainers, their belief and style of film-making is completely different. Prabhu likes to make his characters and action more stylish, while Rohit keeps them more real.
But both are very honest towards their work.

How would you describe your character in Action Jackson, in which you sport three distinct looks?

I cannot talk much about my character, except that the three looks released in the media are aimed to create intrigue.

Your character looks like a complete contrast to the good cop you played in Singham Returns.

If I have done Singham Returns, I have also done Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and Company in which I played a gangster. So, I have been appreciated as the underworld hero and as the cop.

Prabhudheva had mentioned that you lost almost 17 kilos for the film?

Yes. I lost a lot of weight because Prabhu wanted me to look lean, very different from the way I looked in Singham Returns. All physical transformations are difficult if you have to start from scratch, but if you have a decent body and a role comes along, it takes a month or so to tone up completely. Although, I don’t have six packs, my body is lean and well toned. Six pack abs are not very good healthwise. I would not want to promote six packs because, physically, it makes you very weak.
It took me a little time to prepare for the role because I had to train in sword fighting, something I had not done in a long time.

What are your expectations from the film?

I am keeping my fingers crossed, it has shaped up well and the buzz is also good. Everything seems very positive.

How would you compare the action of today to what you did in your debut film Phool Aur Kaante, almost 23 years ago?

Action was much more more difficult then. It’s easier now because we have safety equipments like using harnesses while doing action scenes. If possible, I avoid using it unless necessary, because I like to push the envelope as an actor.

Were you nervous about working with Prabhudheva, who is known for making his actors do intricate dance moves.

Actually, I was prepared (laughs). I trusted him because he is the best choreographer in the country and knows what he is doing.

Prabhudheva holds the reputation of being a very demanding director.

All good directors are very demanding and will extricate the performance that they want from you.

He is also a man of few words, so how does he explain a scene?

He’s a good actor, so he performs and shows (laughs).

What was the most challenging part of the film?

Dancing was the most challenging part! But he made me do it. Everything else like dialogues and action are easy. It was fun doing three different looks as it meant emoting differently, which made it more colourful and fun.

All the Khans, Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman like to book the festival dates for their film releases. How about you?

Who wouldn’t? The business done by films is very good during festivals. But in the future, say in two to three years, there will be several releases during festival time. Monopolising the dates is not good. Film-makers will be left with very little choice.

For the first time in 2015, you will not have a single release. Is it because you want to devote your time to Shivaay, your directorial venture?

I want to take that one year break, as Shivaay is a film that I had been planning for the past three years.

What is your opinion about films today doing business for a maximum period of a week only?

The problem is that every week there is a new movie. You have to have a big opening or a big run. We may not release on a holiday, but we have a two weeks window for Action Jackson, before the next film releases.

You have done emotional dramas like Zakhm and U Me Aur Hum in the past. Would you like to do more films with such sensitive themes?

If someone offers me a great script I will do it. Shivaay has got a lot of action, but it is also very emotional. There is a lot of drama and intensity too.

There has been a gap of six years between your first directorial venture and Shivaay.

I was busy with my acting assignments, but simultaneously I have been working on Shivaay during the last one year.

Why did you decide to present the Marathi film Vitti Dandu?

The script and the story was very nice. It’s a very touching story about a grandfather and his grandson. People have reacted very positively to it.

Kajol’s Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge will complete 1000 shows in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir on December 12. Have you watched the film?

Honestly, I have not seen the film. There’s no reason in particular, it’s just that I did not get the time. I hardly see my own films too. I prefer international cinema, but now, I do watch some Hindi films as I want to know the kind of films that people are making.

What is your opinion about two big stars coming together in a film?

There was a particular era in Hindi cinema, when that used to happen. But today, it’s very difficult to get a script that balances the roles of the actors. Besides, the money involved in such a project will be so high, that it is unaffordable. Still, I am not saying that is impossible, but it’s difficult.

What’s the status of Prakash Jha’s films that you are presenting?

He’s still working on the scripts of Raajneeti 2 and Satsang. The idea of Satsang is interesting and if the script works out I will be acting in it.
When you sign a film, do you think of the box-office prospects of the film?
n Yes, that is an important element that bothers you.

Amongst all the films that you have done, which has had the maximum impact on you?

Playing Bhagat Singh’s character affected me the most. It is exemplary and truly noteworthy, and comes as a shock when you learn about the sacrifices that he made for the country.

Who has been your constant companion and guiding light in your journey to stardom?

I don’t know. People attribute their success to others, but I feel it’s myself. My inspiration has been my father and I have got full support from my family. But having said that, ultimately everything depends on the amount of hardwork you put in to achieve your goals.

Do you feel that you have yet to master some skills?

Every time before giving a shot, I wonder whether I will be able to do it. That insecurity is always there and is something that keeps me on my toes.

Any regrets?

There are no regrets. Whatever I have done, either good or bad, I have always learnt something from it and I try not to repeat the same mistakes again.

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