I have never suffered a major setback in my life. I’ve been very lucky,” says a pensive Ajay Devgn, as he reminisces about his journey in Bollywood. “I have never gone to people to ask for work. That has been my attitude till date. If a project doesn’t work out, I’m not going to move around with my portfolio,” adds the actor, with an air of confidence that can be misconstrued as arrogance.
We are sitting in Ajay’s swanky, air-conditioned office in Juhu. It has a laid-back atmosphere. Talking about his career graph, which includes films such as GangaaJal (2003), Omkara (2006) and the Golmaal series, the actor says he has always tried to “strike a balance” between comedies and dramas.
Watch: The trailer of Shivaay
“That is what I want to do in the future as well,” he says. But, after Drishyam (2015), is Ajay making a conscious effort to do more serious cinema? “I have done such films since the beginning of my career. I started off with action movies. At that time, I was the first actor who was part of the so-called ‘art cinema’, which the commercial actors didn’t touch. I did films like Zakhm (1998) and Raincoat (2004). I have always believed in good films. They could be commercial or non-commercial ones,” says the actor.
Watch: Song Bolo Har Har from Shivaay
Ajay is a chain-smoker, and we ask him what he feels about the disclaimers that are shown during smoking scenes in cinema halls. “It’s fine if these warnings are shown before the movie starts. But if they are shown in the middle of the movie, then it disturbs the flow of the film. However, I feel that if the message is required for the betterment of society, then it’s good,” says Ajay.
The actor further discusses censorship. Interestingly, where most artistes have opposed the way the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) functions today, Ajay feels that the body has been “fair”. “The CBFC hasn’t done anything that can make us say, ‘This is not democracy’,” he says.
Ajay has shared a close bond with Salman Khan (left) for several years now. Ask him what has kept their friendship going, and he says, “The reason is non-interference. I don’t interfere in anybody’s life; nor do other people in mine. Salman and I came into the industry at the same time, and we have been here since the past 25 years. The actors from my generation know that we don’t need to mingle in society or party together [to stay friends]. I stand by my friends, and they do the same for me. That’s enough.”
Is it true that B-Town friendships prove to be fickle during box-office clashes? “Yes, but you will not see that happening with me,” assures Ajay, adding, “I don’t try and utilise relationships to my benefit when my films are up for their release.”
If one looks at Ajay’s Instagram account, it is mostly flooded with his daughter Nysa’s pictures. Speaking about his relationship with her, the actor says, “She has seen the privileged world. But she needs to understand the battles that the unprivileged people go through. Along with that, she needs to know that privileged people too can have a lot of problems. Right now, I’m trying to strike that balance for her,” Ajay says.
When it comes to his wife, Kajol, the often asked question is whether audiences will see the couple on the big screen soon. When we ask Ajay about the same, he smiles, saying, “It is difficult to get the right kind of script, in which both Kajol and I can fit in. But I’ll start working on a movie with her at the end of the year, or next year. But I won’t be part of the film.”