Ajay Devgan speaks up in a candid interview with Vajir Singh
The buzz is that Halla Bol was postponed to January 11, 2008, to avoid a clash with Welcome and Taare Zameen Par.
Yes, it would have been foolish to have three big films releasing on the same day. They would have cut into each other's business.
But with Sunday coming in early February, won't you have two releases in quick succession early next year?
I don't mind that. Last year Golmaal and Omkara released in quick succession and both worked. It's better to have two releases over a span of three weeks than three films coming in one week.
Besides Halla Bol and Sunday are very different films and that's even evident from the promos. (Smiles) I enjoy switching genres. It's something to look forward to when I leave home every morning for a shoot. After a point, money is no longer a motivation. It's creative satisfaction.
Halla Bol appears to be on the lines of Gangaajal and Apaharan.
Rajji (Rajkumar Santoshi) is a mainstream director and so doesn't stray too far from the commercial format. What makes Halla Bol different from the usual masala movies is that it has a message to convey too.
<b1>Apparently it was inspired from a real-life incident.. the Jessica Lal murder case?
No, it's pure fiction. It revolves around a struggler who dreams of becoming a star. And he does. But then, everything changes.. he changes. Till an incident leaves him with two options - keep silent or speak up.
It's a solo hero film after a long time.. any anxieties?
Not a single person after watching the film has come out cribbing. I don't know whether it will work commercially but it will certainly be critically appreciated.
You mean like Raincoat?
(Smiles) Raincoat was a good film but the day I saw it, I knew it wouldn't work. It was too slow.. too boring. You need to keep the audience engaged for two hours.. look forward to the climax.
You play a superstar in Halla Bol. Can we assume you played yourself?
(Smiles) No. Rajji wanted a flamboyant look. Fashionable clothes.. awards functions.. that's not me.
Any reason why you don't attend award functions?
I'm not sure they're fair and unbiased. So in my opinion they are not worth attending.
<b2>What about the National Awards?
There have been controversies regarding a few National awards. Fortunately, the two times I won the award - for Zakhm and The Legend of Bhagat Singh - there were no disputes or debates.
This year hasn't been a great one for you.
(Shrugs) You win some, you lose some.. it's part of the game. I had two releases. Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag didn't work. Neither did Cash that was released even though it was not complete. No regrets.. bad films don't work. Period.
Will you work with the director of Cash, Anubhav Sinha, again?
You sound disillusioned with Sinha?
It was sad that he released Cash before wrapping up a 20-day shoot. Everyone should be passionate about the film they're making. But in this case the producers were busy fighting instead of concentrating on the content.
Why did you dub for the film?
I'm a professional. I dubbed for it.. then disassociated myself from the film.
Let's talk about your directorial debut,
You Me aur Hum. Why the English title?
It's not English, it's Hinglish.. half English and half Hindi. That's how I wanted it. It's very apt.
Wait for a month, then we'll talk. I've kept myself free for almost a month.. I want to promote
You Me aur Hum
Why did you turn to direction?
Before becoming an actor I used to make short films. Shekhar (Kapur) saw my work and took me on as an assistant for various ad films and
Half-way through Dushmani I quit to become an actor. (Smiles) I must have had 10-20 releases while Dushmani was still in the making.
Aren't you doing Vishal Bharadwaj's Julia with Sanjay Dutt?
The movie is on. We're working on the combination dates.
Is Ramayana on?
Yes but a film like Ramayana needs plenty of pre-production. Rajji is in touch with Hollywood technicians. We intend to make Asoka before Ramayana.
Are you working on a six pack too?
There are so many newcomers around with six packs. But are they getting work?