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'It wasn't a war between Karan Johar and me'

Last updated on: October 13, 2016 17:42 IST

'The better film will take the lead,' promises Ajay Devgn.

Photograph: Ajay Devgn/Facebook

Ajay Devgn is a man of few words.

Even when he gives interview, he keeps it to the point.

But when we met the star during an interview for his directorial venture Shivaay, he took us by surprise and spoke at length.

Direction comes easily to him and it's something he's always wanted to do. "I have been strong technically because of my father. I used to be an assistant director," Ajay says talking about his father, veteran action director Veeru Devgan.

Ajay discusses his new film and the ugly clash with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, as Jahnavi Patel/ listens in.

We saw a lot of action in the Shivaay trailer. Later, when the songs were released, we saw the emotional aspect. Was that a conscious decision?

Yes. People also said that not much was revealed in the trailer.

I did not want to reveal much because when you see my songs, you will start connecting the story.

It may be a new strategy but because my songs tell a story, they act as the talkie promo. I'll open more promos gradually and so you will understand more.

Shivaay is an emotional film. Action is a big part of it but it comes from emotion, not just for the sake of the sequences.

Action is in my blood. The action sequences in the film will be bigger than the trailer. I have hardly shown anything yet. We have seven-eight action sequences in the film.

Are you emotionally connected with the story?

No. The story was created later, it is the thought that inspired me to make this film.

I connect to the father-daughter emotion very well. I weaved a story around that bond.

The story is really not important. It can be very simple. It is the screenplay, drama and the emotions that make the difference.

IMAGE: Ajay Devgn with daughter Nysa. Photograph: Ajay Devgn/Facebook

What was your daughter Nysa's reaction to the trailer?

She has loved it.

I did not spend much time with her in the past one and a half years, so she was very upset. She saw the trailer and songs and said, "Now I realise why you were busy. I am very proud of you."

Do you think the release clash with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil will affect the film's business?

The audience will get divided. Eventually, the better film will take the lead. 

I am not talking about the first day because it's pre-Diwali and we cannot expect a very big number.

By Monday, the audience will know which film is better and that film will take the benefit.

With Kamaal R Khan making an entry, things got ugly.

It is sad that our clash got ugly. The idea was not to make it that way.

It wasn't a war between him (Karan Johar) and me; it was an issue about this man (KRK).

I never claimed that he was paid. He tried to extort me by saying that he got paid.

How do I know he got paid? He could be lying to me.

I was taking a stand that I am not ready to get extorted. We should not influence such people and promote them in our industry.

IMAGE: Ajay Devgn and Abigail Eames. Photograph: Ajay Devgn/Facebook

You had mentioned that the child actor Abigail Eames in your film has done an excellent job.

She's the best! Not only among children but among grown-ups too.

She is better than all of us. When you watch the film, you will agree.

There were reports stating that Shivaay has gone over budget.

That's wrong information. The budget is the same like any other Ajay Devgn starrer.

Photograph: Ajay Devgn/Facebook

There's a big gap between your last directorial film U Me Aur Hum, which released in 2008, and Shivaay.

I don't want to take up direction as a business. I want to direct films when I feel like saying something.

U Me Aur Hum was on Alzheimer's, it connected with intelligent audiences only because the rest do not understand what Alzheimer's is. I wanted to talk about the relationship between a husband and wife.

Here (in Shivaay), it's about the father-daughter emotion. That emotion inspired me and I created a very simple story. 

Hopefully the gap between Shivaay and my next directorial will not be much.

Doing two jobs -- acting and directing -- is very tiring. It's not tough but tiring.

Do you think the superstars in India should make more movies so that the industry keeps making money?

We should do as many films as possible but it is your preference.

I have taken a gap of two years. I will have two releases next year. So it depends.

Are Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty a part of Sons Of Sardaar?

These are just names popping out. I am still to decide on the star cast.

Once the script is complete, I will approach actors. It will be made on a very big scale. We should start filming by the end of next year.

How does it feel when people start comparing the action in Shivaay to that in Hollywood films?

The youth of our country like Hollywood films and feel that Indian films are tacky (in terms of visual effects). Here, we have tried our best to be at par.

I am very proud that it is done in India.

IMAGE: Ajay Devgn in Shivaay

If your film starred a Pakistani actor, what would you have done, especially in the light of the Uri attack and that people are calling a ban on Pakistani actors?

I would have followed public sentiment.

Honestly, things which are already made, it's not their fault.

We should take care about films that are going to start. We should not cast anybody right now till the problem gets solved.

Jahnavi Patel in Mumbai