In these three words he sums up his life so far, pleased that whatever he has achieved, has been on his terms.. no compromises, no regrets. Ajay Devgan, who turns 40 today, in conversation with Hiren Kotwani.
What’s the first thought that comes to your mind on turning 40? How do you sum up the journey so far?
When I look back, I feel good about it. I look at life as a series of experiences, some good, some not so good. When you see other people, you feel lucky to have a great career, a great family, doing exactly what you wanted to do, and on your terms.
I’ve no regrets when I turn around, I never had to do things I didn’t want to do. And even if I went wrong somewhere, I don’t regret it. <b1>
You and Kajol completed 10 years of marriage. Think it helped a great deal since you both come from the same profession and were seeing each other for a couple of years first?
Today, we’re more secure and settled.. we understand each other a lot better. It takes a couple of years for that fact to sink in. You stop taking each other for granted, you have responsibilities, which later become a part of your nature.
I’m lucky that Kajol has the same thinking and morals as me.. and I have a balanced personal and professional life.. unlike some people who have a great career but family life isn’t as good or vice versa.
And six years of fatherhood..
It’s the greatest joy ever. I was shooting till late last night and I couldn’t meet Nysa (daughter) before she went to school this morning. I missed her and am staying at home, waiting for her to return. When you’re single, you think about yourself, your wants.. then about your partner when you’re in a relationship or married.. then about your child when you become a parent.
How much has Nysa taken on from you and Kajol? Anything you wish she doesn’t pick up -- your temper for example?
We have no complaints about the way she’s growing up. She’s very well-behaved, does her studies without being told, is an avid learner.
But yes, I hope she doesn’t pick up the smoking and drinking from me. (Smiles)
What does she think of your movies?
She was excited about seeing Kajol and me in
U Me aur Hum
. She liked both the
movies.. kids watch and enjoy them. Nysa has one complaint about me.. that I don’t dance much in my films. She insists that I should be dancing more. I told her I’m dancing more in
All The Best
Last year was rather mixed professionally.
It didn’t start well as
didn’t work. But
U Me aur Hum
did reasonably well, better overseas.
did fantastic business more than the first
, so the year ended on a positive note.
I’m confident of my movies this year, like
All The Best
. I was initially worried about how
Toonpur ka Super Hero
would shape up, but it’s turned out very well, as compared to a Hollywood film. There’s also
Once Upon A Time In Mumbai
and then later this year, I’ll also be starting a film with Priyadarshan.
What about your next film as a director? Will Kajol be in it too?
I’m working on the script. Hopefully, I should be able to start it by the end of this year. It’s a tough action comedy. As of now, I don’t see Kajol as the character.. she’s a fabulous actress, but the role should also do justice to her presence in the film.
Reportedly, Sanjay Dutt wasn’t keen on doing
All The Bestafter you opted out of his production
Beehad. But he relented after you committed to act in it.
Where do you hear these stupid stories from? Sanju had spoken to me about
, but the film didn’t take off. We are good friends and there are no problems at all, thank you. You guys wrote about Sanju’s dates not being available when we have finalised all the schedules. We’re even planning to release the film during Diwali. Did you clarify with Sanju first?
How much has the script and your role in London Dreams changed after Vipul Shah took over as the director from Rajkumar Santoshi? Also, you team up with Salman Khan about a decade after
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
Vipul has rewritten it as per his vision. He’s very well planned and has made a very good film. Visually, it’s one of the best films you will see this year.
Salman and I may not be in touch regularly, but we get along fine. There’s no one-upmanship between us. We’re comfortable working together and that shows on screen. It’s not necessary to meet people regularly to get along with them.
What is your stand in the fight between the producer-distributors and multiplex owners over revenue-sharing?
The multiplexes also have to realise that they’re working because the producers are making movies. As it is, the budgets of movies are being reworked keeping the market slowdown in mind.
Tomorrow, if the producers don’t make movies because they are not making enough money, what will the multiplexes show?
There’s an understanding over equal revenue all over the world. But in India, the revenue-sharing terms are skewed.
You’re said to be playing a negative role long after
Khakee. In Prakash Jha’s take on
politics of Bihar, your character is based on Karna.
Knowing Prakash Jha, you can be rest assured that it is a strong script. There’s a lot of drama, action.. a lot of dirty politics, which makes the film very relevant today.
And if you’ve read Mahabharata, you’ll know Karna wasn’t a negative character. He had grey shades, but then everyone has grey shades.. light grey or dark grey doesn’t matter.
Prakash Jha is also contesting the forthcoming elections. Do you think movie celebs make good politicians?
He understands politics, he knows the situation in his state, Bihar. He did a lot of rehabilitation work after the Kosi floods last year, so I’m sure he will make a good politician.
As for movie celebs venturing into politics, initially the celeb status does help.. but eventually it’s the work one does that matters the most.
So are you a regular voter?
This time not only do I want to vote, but I also want a stable government at the centre. That’s important because in a merger of parties, no one has proper control and approvals are sought from coalition partners to make decisions.
We should own up responsibility when wrong leaders are voted to power, because educated people like us who understand things don’t venture out to exercise our vote.
We didn’t make as big an issue of the July 11 train blasts as much as the November 29 terror attack in Mumbai.. because the way it happened made us feel more insecure about our well-being, it made us angry with the system.. we should have raised our voices earlier, but as it’s said, better late than never.
At one time, your rivalry with Shah Rukh Khan carried into a war of words in print. Today, at over 40, he and Aamir Khan are hitting out at each other.
I think I’m growing up and they are not.