Sajid Khan came to me with Himmatwala, and though I liked the idea, I didn’t know how he was going to adapt it. To do the film, I would have to be 100 per cent convinced about the script. Turned out, I was 120 per cent wowed,” says Ajay Devgn, as he’s gearing up to flag off the new Himmatwala.
The Jeetendra-Sridevi starrer (that released in 1983) itself was a remake of K Raghavendra Rao’s Telugu film, Ooriki Monagadu (1981), featuring Krishna and Jaya Prada. Ajay’s father, Veeru Devgn, was the action director of the film and Ajay recalls going with him to Chennai where the song, ‘Taki o taki’, recently re-recorded by music directors Sajid-Wajid, was being shot. “I knew Jeetuji and respected him a lot. He was one of the first to tell my dad to let me be an actor,” recalls Ajay, who was 13 years old at the time.
South import Tamannaah has been signed opposite him for the role that turned Sridevi into an overnight Bollywood star. Writer-director Sajid promises that Tamannaah will be the year’s biggest sensation. Ajay’s excited about doing a period film.
He says, “I enjoyed Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai (2010) that was set in the ’70s. This one takes place in the ’80s and I’m planning to grow my hair for two months because everybody had longer hair back then. Himmatwala isn’t strictly a remake, however.”
Papa can dance
Dancing has never been Ajay’s forte, but the original Himmatwala is remembered for Jeetendra and Sridevi’s exercise-style dancing to Nainon mein sapna and Taki o taki. Does the idea of replicating the steps make him apprehensive? “I won’t be aping anyone. I’ll do steps that suit me,” he says. “Dancing requires an inherent grace. It’s too late for me to develop that. But recently Bol Bachchan required me to shake a leg. I was surprised when my daughter Nyasa, who loves dancing, complimented me. Hopefully, she’ll approve of Himmatwala too.”