Ajay Devgn shrugs off all previous controversies and forges ahead into the New Year with several films, and promises to experiment with different genres of cinema.
Ques. You had two hit films last year - Bol Bachchan and Son Of Sardaar. So would you call it a good year?
Ajay: It was actually a mixed year for me. As far as success is concerned, we worked really hard and achieved what we wanted. But there were also a lot of things that we didn't want to do ... however we didn't have a choice. Nobody wants to go through sleepless nights. Otherwise, I am very happy and content with what we have achieved.
Ques: A few years ago you started the trend of doing offbeat films. And now comedy seems to have become your forte.
Ajay: I would like to, and will continue to do films of different genre. Himmatwala is not just an action-comedy, there's drama too. Then I have Prakash Jha's Satyagraha - a zone where I wanted to get back to again.
Ques: You had done several films with Prakash Jha (Gangaajal, Apaharan, Raajneeti), but weren't a part of Aarakshan and Chakravyuh. Had your relationship with the filmmaker changed that you are collaborating with him again?
Ajay: After hearing the script of Aarakshan, I realised that I do not suit the role. Hence, I asked Prakash to go ahead and make the film. Then he was working on Satyagraha's script. When he narrated it to me, I liked it. But he to start the film immediately, while I had other projects and was busy for another year; so he made Chakravyuh. The relationship between us has always remained the same.
Ques: You will also be working with Amitabh Bachchan after a long time in Satyagraha.
Ajay: He keeps you on your toes. You realise you are working with a fabulous actor. I wouldn't say I get intimidated by him because I have known him as a kid. In fact there's a comfort zone; he has a knack of making you comfortable.
Ques: Sajid Khan, who is directing you in Himmatwala, is known for making comedies; but the original was an action film.
Ajay: There was a lot of comedy in the original Himmatwala too. Sajid's comic timing and the madness he brings to the table is very much there in the film. He's got a wacko sense of humour.
Ques: I believe he has made you speak in several languages in the film.
Ajay: Sajid wanted me to speak six different languages in a scene. I thought one line in each language is no big deal so I took it very easy. But when I reached the set, they gave me four lines of each language! I keep hearing Bengali and Gujarati from people around me, but Telugu and Tamil were unfamiliar and difficult for me. However, when you have to do it, you have to do it. It was fun.
Ques: Can Tamannah do a Sridevi?
Ajay: This was the film that had made Sridevi really popular.
She's a big star in the South and is doing a perfect job. We all hope she makes it big in Bollywood too.
For the first time in several years, there's no Rohit Shetty-Ajay Devgn film on the floors.
Singham 2 will release next year. We are planning to start the shoot around October-November this year.
Ques: Are you doing another action film?
Ajay: Prabhudeva's film, which is still being scripted, will have hardcore action.
Ques: Prabhudeva's films have arduous dances for the stars. Will you be able to keep up?
Ajay: I think Prabudeva is sensible enough to know what he should and should not make me do. I'll just leave it up to him. Dancing is fun, but when you suddenly have a dance sequence only because you need to have one and it does not go with the character, that's when you feel uncomfortable.
Ques: You last directed a film You Me Aur Hum way back in 2008. Do you plan to get back to direction?
Ajay: I want to direct...it could be in any genre; it is all about storytelling. But I don't have the time. I am shooting for four-five films back to back. You need a break of a year and a half to get ready to direct a film.
Ques: Are you bringing up your son Yug differently from the way you brought up your daughter Nysa? Like would you have him start horse riding sooner?
Ajay: I don't differentiate between them. And my son is too young for activities like these. Nysa is nine, and she is into gymnastics now.
Ques: Does Nysa comment on your films?
Ajay: Yes. And they are really strong comments. But if she doesn't like something, she has an explanation for it too. She has practically become my barometer for any song - be it from my film or anyone else's. If she likes the song, it works; and if she dislikes it, it doesn't.