In an exclusive chat, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn talks about Hindi films, the Oscars, Kajol, his upcoming films and the importance of action movies. Be it his first blockbuster Phool Aur Kaante (1991), or the hilarious Golmaal or his recent release Son Of Sardaar (2012), action has always been an integral part of Ajay Devgn’s films.
The actor with versatile talent is currently shooting for Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha in Bhopal, but will also be promoting Himmatwala there. And after finishing his Bhopal schedule, Ajay will return to Mumbai to start an untitled Prabhudheva film and Rohit Shetty’s Golmaal 4, both of which are slated to release in 2014.
What is your take on the Indian presence at the Oscars?
I won’t say the Oscars are a far off thing now. Over the years, we have created better cinema, we have grown a lot technologically and are still growing. Indian films fetching Oscars will take time, but not much.
How do you juggle being a movie star and a family man? And how much support do you get from your wife, Kajol?
I would say if you are happy at home, you will be happy and satisfied at work. I have balanced my work and my family. I don’t work 20 hours a day, don’t get up at 6 am and start working. I maintain a nice balance. I must thank Kajol for this. She’s been a great support. I am very lucky to have her as a friend and wife. When I am working, I am out of all family worries. She has made me very comfortable in both my professional and personal life. And my kids are my best critics.
What made you accept a film like Himmatwala? It doesn’t seem to be your type of cinema.
When Sajid (Khan, director) approached me with the concept, I told him that we need to have a fabulous script to keep up with the old one. It is an entertaining masala movie with lots of emotions, action, drama, songs and everything that caters to the Indian audience. We also wanted today’s generation to see what films were like in the ’80s.
Action sequences have always been the most talked about in your films. What’s the difference between action and stunts?
There is a thin line between a ‘stunt’ film and an ‘action’ film. You cannot draw people with a stunt film. An action film is what attracts the audience. It involves songs, drama, story and then a bit of action as well. The concept evolved during the mid-’90s and is quite popular now. I have been doing a lot of action films. I think it spices up the film a little more.
Do critics bother you?
Healthy criticism is fine and also important for growth. But the fact remains that there is no better critic than the audience. Their overall judgement is vital. For me, box-office reports matter the most. The collections reflect the performance of the film, criticism doesn’t.
You have tried almost every genre — parallel cinema, political thrillers, horror, comedies, patriotism and romance. What genre do you feel the most connected with?
I cannot say I feel connected to any one category of cinema. I am in the industry because I love to act and my job is to entertain. A particular genre also cannot be held responsible to entertain. We have to keep experimenting and getting along with the audience’s taste and nerve.
Sajid Khan is known for making comedies. How is he as the director of an action-drama?
Sajid’s films are a blend of comedy, emotions, drama. You’ll find all this in Himmatwala too. It will be liked by men and women of all ages.