Ajay Devgn: Ready to do anything that suits the character
Director Rohit Shetty and actor Ajay Devgn will come together for the eighth time in Bol Bachchan which releases this Friday. The film also stars Abhishek Bachchan, Asin and Prachi Desai.
Forty-three-year-old Devgn plays a wrestler, who is also a zamindar in a small town. He speaks in bad English, which is quite funny, and since people are scared of him nobody corrects him.
Devgn hates to give interviews and his replies are usually brief. But when Sonil Dedhia caught up with him for this interview, he opened up about the film and his two decades in the industry.
After a blockbuster like Singham, more action films were expected from you, but you are back to doing comedy with Bol Bachchan.
This is an action-comedy and my next film, Son of Sardar, too is an action-comedy.
So there is a good dose of action. We are planning another action film after this.
Image: Ajay Devgn in Bol Bachchan
'If you are making films for the audience, then you've got to give them what they want'
Your last release, Singham, made more than Rs 100 crore at the box office. What's your take on films which cross Rs 100 crore being called rubbish films?
I think it's a case of sour grapes.
People who can't achieve that benchmark themselves will say that this is not the right kind of cinema.
You can't wrong the audience. If your film has done Rs 100 crore business, then an audience of at least 50 crore must have seen the film, so are all those people foolish?
Who are you making films for then? If you are making films for the audience, then you've got to give them what they want. Else just make movies for yourself and watch it at home.
Image: Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan
'Just the idea is taken from the original Gol Maal'
You have officially bought the rights of Gol Maal (1979). What is the similarity between the two films?
Character-wise there's no similarity. Gol Maal was made 30 years ago and when you try to adapt such an old film everything changes completely. It's just the idea that is taken from the original.
If it's not a complete remake, why buy the rights of the original film?
A lot of people said that we really don't need to buy the rights of the film. But I believe that if you're inspired by a film it is only ethical to buy the rights.
I think Hrishida (Hrishikesh Mukherjee, director) was a very great filmmaker; we can't even compete with him. And if his film inspires us to make a film then it's like giving a tribute to him.
Image: Neeraj Vora, Ajay Devgn and Asrani in Bol Bachchan
'I share a great rapport with the Bachchans'
You have worked with Abhishek Bachchan before (in Zameen). How was it working with him in a comedy this time?
We had to push Abhishek to get into our zone of comedy timing. Our pattern of comedy was different. It took him a day or two but then he settled down.
Whose idea was it to feature you, Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek in a song?
It was Rohit's idea. He said since the title of the film is Bol Bachchan we should do something with Amitabh Bachchan.
How was it working with both the Bachchans together?
I share a great rapport with both of them so it was very comfortable.
When I asked Amitji for a song, he happily agreed. He worked really hard on this song, he dubbed the track himself even when we weren't there and sent it to us.
Image: Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan
'Things are getting better'
After spending two decades in the industry, do you still have any inhibitions about doing something on screen?
I don't have any inhibitions. I am ready to do anything that suits the character.
Everything is comfortable and nothing is comfortable. It's just the way you look at it.
Every day you think will I be able to perform this or #172 that feeling has to be there for you to keep going.
What are the positive as well as negative changes you see in the industry?
The positive change is we are going global, markets are increasing, and theatres are increasing which is helping us to make better films.
Technically, things are getting better. Creatively, it was always the so-called good cinema and was appreciated by critics and did not make money.
The worst change is that in the hope of earning Rs 100 crore, people are increasing their budgets sky-high. So there are producers who despite earning good box office revenue aren't making enough money.
Image: Abhishek Bachchan and Ajay Devgn in Bol Bachchan
'Apaharan and Gangaajal were very entertaining in their own way'
With successive successful films, do you think you have tapped the nerve of commercial cinema?
No, I don't think so. The day I do, I will stop making flops. We try to figure out what the audience wants.
The bottom line is, today, the audience pays about 250-300 bucks for a movie ticket and they want to be entertained. They don't want to be educated on class cinema.
Entertainment can be comedy, action, romance, anything, but it has to be there.
When you say that people don't like to be educated, are films like Apaharan and Gangaajal a thing of the past?
Apaharan and Gangaajal were very entertaining in their own way. That's the knack of Prakash Jha, he picks up a realistic idea and makes it very engaging and entertaining.
There are other filmmakers also who pick up real ideas but they make it very boring. They make it like a documentary film.
I am doing a film with him (Prakash Jha) titled Satyagrah. It is very engaging and entertaining.
Image: The Bol Bachchan poster
'Before Golmaal 4, Rohit Shetty and I are planning an action film'
What are your future projects?
After Bol Bachchan I have Son of Sardar, Himmatwala, and Prakash Jha's film Satyagraha.
Before Golmaal 4, Rohit Shetty and I are planning an action film.
Are you also doing Gangaajal 2?
We are still thinking about it. Maybe after Satyagrah.
Image: Ajay Devgn, Prachi Desai and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan