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Saif was brilliant in Omkara

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan comes clean on all the controversies about him as he speaks to Hiren Kotwani.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 17:19 IST

Ajay Devgan has always believed in doing things quietly. So it doesn’t come as a surprise when the actor prefers to celebrate the success of his recent comedy Golmaal and the immensely acclaimed Omkara  quietly with family and friends.

He remains unaffected by reports of the Omkara-KANK (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehnaa) war and rumours of him being responsible for delaying Ram Gopal Varma’s Sholay. When we meet him at his Juhu office late Tuesday afternoon, he’s in a chilled out mood, far from ‘ANGRY’ that his olive green tee declares. So we start chatting over noodles and tea.

The last time he had back-to-back hits playing diverse characters in films like Company, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh and Deewangee  which released within months of each other post which he had shied away from the media. This time too, it’s no different.

Ajay Devgan's Golmaal and Omkara have been huge hits at the box office

“What do you want me to do? I can’t be screaming from the rooftops that

Golmaal

has earned Rs 80 crores or that

Omkara 

is doing well commercially. I’ve always believed that the performance should speak for the actor. I’d rather people talk about the film and my performance.” There were reports about him being depressed when Saif Ali Khan walked away with the accolades for his role of the

desi

Iago. He bursts out laughing, “Me and depressed? Where do you read these stupid rumours?

On hindsight, does he think he was better off playing Langda Tyagi? “Honestly, my performance has been appreciated by many actors and filmmakers, including those I haven’t worked with and those with whom I’m not working right now. Saif was very good and only getting his due appreciation for his performance,” he asserts, adding, “Ever since I heard the script and the role, I’d always wanted to play Omkara, for his the depth and shades. Besides, I have played a manipulative negative character in Deewangee and an all-black no justification character in Khakee.”

So does that mean he’s not open to doing any more negative characters? “I’m not off them but I won’t do them unless it’s really an irresistible role and a film.” While it seems he had buried the hatchet with Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar when he worked in the latter’s production Kaal, reports of their old tiff made news again recently. It was even alleged that Devgan’s camp was responsible for spreading negative stories about KANK after Omkara was reportedly sabotaged by Johar and Co. “These are baseless rumours. Karan knows I’m not the kind of person to do anything remotely like this. Also, I was told that he and Shah Rukh liked Omkara. We both know that these rumours don’t deserve any importance to be clarified,” he asserts.

Considering that he’s playing a film star in Santoshi’s Halla Bol, how much will we see of himself into the character of Sameer Khan? “It’s not just me, but I’m taking references from other actors too, in playing a film star. It’s an intense drama that will feature many incidents that we otherwise wouldn’t talk about.” London Dreams, his other film with Santoshi seems to have suffered another postponement as the makers are hunting for a heroine. “London Dreams is a fabulous script. It’s a first for me, in terms of the character I’m playing and the kind of film I’m doing. But Rajji would know better about its schedules.”

After Bhoot, he once again joins forces with Ram Gopal Varma for his remake of Sholay, where he plays Veeru, immortalized by Dharmendra. Isn’t he better suited for the silent, brooding Jai or is he trying to break the intense Omkara image by playing another light-hearted character after Golmaal? “Ramu’s script is just fantastic. You just wait and see, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” But weren’t there reports about him delaying the film? He rubbishes the rumours. “I’m so excited about it that I had even kept dates aside for it. But Ramu wanted to sort out some things before beginning the film. I’m ready to shoot, whenever he says.” Devgan’s forthcoming films are Abbas-Mustan’s comedy Mr Fraud and Anubhav Sinha’s action thriller Cash. Soon adding to his list will be a Rohit Shetty film for Kumar Mangat and another with Anees Bazmee for UTV.

Having successfully endorsed brands with wife Kajol, when do we see the couple on the 70mm? “When we get a good script.” His daughter Nysa is three years old and about to start schooling, what does he teach her? “She’s very smart,” he beams, “It’s she who teaches us more.”