The usually reclusive Ajay Devgn chats about his private life, the changing face of Bollywood and his favourite new generation hero, in a chat with Rajeev Masand for GQ India.
You’ve been working in the industry for over two decades. People say it has really changed. Has it?
Today it’s more corporate and professional, which is both good and bad. It’s bad because the warmth is missing. There was a time when an actor could walk on to another actor’s set, and just sit and chat for a couple of hours. Now it’s become a bit too professional.
You’ve always been shy and never really enjoyed going to film parties and PR events. Would you call your reclusive nature a shortcoming?
Yes and no. It is a shortcoming, but I’ve never really wanted to change. When a film is releasing, it’s an actor’s job to go out and promote it. Yet, there are two kinds of actors: One yells, “Look at me, look at me!” while the other lets his work speak for itself. I belong to the latter category.
You have delivered terrific performances and taken risks with your career. And now, commerce seems to be the only thing driving you. Just when experimental cinema is working, you seem to be moving away from it…
Well, I did those kinds of films before everyone else did. When I did films with Govind Nihalani, Mahesh Bhatt, Rituparno Ghosh and Vishal Bhardwaj, nobody else touched them. I need to read something that shakes me up... I’ve signed Prakash Jha’s Satyagraha, which is in that space. Now that I’m enjoying box office success, I’d like it to cross the `100 crore mark. I don’t mind doing an experimental film, but it has to be absolutely fabulous.
Among the younger stars you’ve worked with — Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Emraan Hashmi — who impressed you most?
Ranbir has the most potential. I feel like he mustn’t be restricted by “good” cinema, but also do commercial cinema. He’s very promising, he can go places.
Do your parents say you’ve done well for yourself?
My father has never actually told me this. He’s happy for me, but if I don’t work out for a few days, he’ll tell me, “Dekh, tera pet bahar aa raha hai.” [Laughs] He told me this just last night.
Of wine, women and wealth, what would you say is your biggest weakness?
Wine… [laughs]. I don’t drink as much now, but I do have difficulty stopping once I start. As for women and wealth – well, I’m happy with what I’ve got.