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This article was first published 12 years ago

Ajay Devgn: We are not trying to make classy films

Last updated on: July 19, 2011 14:11 IST

Image: Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn
Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

It is more difficult to make friends than enemies in Bollywood and who knows that better than Ajay Devgn and Rohit Shetty, who have been close pals for almost 20 years.

When Ajay made his debut in Phool Aur Kaante, Rohit was assistant director on the same film, and that was the beginning of their long association. Shetty's first film, Zameen, starred Ajay in a leading role, and ever since, Ajay has been part of every film directed by Rohit Shetty.

As the two get ready to release their upcoming action film Singham, Sonil Dedhia catches up with them to find out more about the film and what it's like to be friends on and off the set.

What's it like making action films again after a long gap?

Ajay Devgn: It was a fantastic experience. I have not done an out-and-out action film for almost eight years now. I have been waiting for the right script and Singham was the perfect one. It's a hard hitting film and a complete entertainer.

Promos of the film are prompting comparisons with Dabangg.

Ajay Devgn: We have nothing to do with Dabangg. There aren't many action films that are coming out. I think the only similarity is that both protagonists are in uniform.

Rohit Shetty:  It's a good sign that people are comparing our film with a hit film (Smiles).

Ajay Devgn: Suriya has done a very good job but you cannot follow anyone

Image: A still from Singham

What was it that inspired you to make the movie?

Rohit Shetty: The most important thing was Suriya who has done a brilliant job in the movie. Being an action film you will see that the main protagonist is very simple, which was completely different.

Have you seen the Tamil version of Singham?

Ajay Devgn: Yes. I loved the movie, but our version is completely different. The idea is the same though.

Rohit Shetty: Except for the story, the whole screenplay is different. Almost 70 per cent of the movie is different. When you see both films you will see the difference.

Since you have seen the Tamil version, were you inspired by Suriya's character in the movie?

Ajay Devgn: Not at all, because Rohit Shetty has changed the whole screenplay of the film. Suriya has done a very good job but you cannot follow anyone.

Ajay Devgn: The last action film I did was 8 years ago

Image: A still from Singham

You have played the role of a cop previously. How different is the role in Singham from the others?

Ajay Devgn: It is more aggressive. If you see my character in Gangaajal, he was a cop who stuck to the rule book and would not take the law into his own hands. 

In Singham, my character is someone who does what he feels is right. He is a simple, small town guy who does not understand politics, and how he deals with it is the story.

It's a long time since you did an action film. Why did you want to do one now?

Rohit Shetty: I first thought of making an action film when I was shooting for All The Best but I didn't get the right script. When I saw the Tamil version of Singham, I was keen on making it in Hindi. I directed my last action film Zameen eight years ago. Since then I have only been making comedies.

Ajay Devgn: It's a combination of raw action shown in a stylised manner which has never happened earlier in Hindi films. The last action film I did was Qayamat which was eight years ago.

Are you trying to bring back the kind of action films that we saw in the 1970s and 1980s?

Ajay Devgn: No. We are not trying to act smart and make classy films. When films like Ghajini worked, we realised that this is what audiences want.

Ajay Devgn: There is no rivalry with my contemporaries'

Image: A still from Singham

Your physique has become the talk of the town. How did you manage to get it right?

Ajay Devgn: I trained a little more then I normally do. I also went on a much stricter diet. I love food but I have always maintained a good diet -- except for my alcohol (Laughs).   

Salman Khan recently tweeted about your body. What's your reaction to that?

Ajay Devgn: It is a very sweet gesture from Salman Khan. He is a friend and we all support each other. This only proves one thing -- that there is no rivalry, at least with my contemporaries who started 20 years ago.

Rohit Shetty: I think Salman and Sanju (Sanjay Dutt) are waiting to watch the film.

Rohit Shetty: Who is Lady Gaga?

Image: A still from Singham

Before finalising Kajaal Agarwal as the lead, you had approached Anushka Shetty.

Rohit Shetty: Yes, we did approach Anushka but there were date issues. My last film Golmaal-3 released in October. I started shooting for Singham in March and it is releasing in July, so when I approached her, she was busy with something else. We ultimately went with Kaajal.

What was she like to work with?

Ajay Devgn: It is always comfortable to work with somebody who is experienced. Kajaal has done a lot of films in the south. We were looking for a fresh face so it was easier to work with her. She plays a very simple girl in the film as there is no glamour quotient in the film.

Your dance steps in one of the songs have been compared to Lady Gaga.

Ajay Devgn: My dance steps! (looks shocked) I don't know where that has come from (Laughs). You should ask our choreographer Ganesh Acharya. I guess he will be the right person to answer the question.

Rohit Shetty: Who is she? (Laughs)

Rohit Shetty: I dont think anyone can take Ajay's place

Image: A still from Singham

You have known each other for the last eight years. What is it like working with a friend?

Ajay Devgn: You feel comfortable. It becomes easy to work as Rohit knows how I work and he decides accordingly. I also know what he wants so there is a mutual understanding and respect for each other.

Rohit Shetty: It's easy as we have been together since day one. Ajay has been in on this since the time I narrated to him the idea of Singham. So when we go on the sets, it becomes very easy because you don't have to explain things. We are starting work on our next film Bol Bachchan next month and he knows everything about it so it becomes easy to shoot the film. The chemistry can be seen in the film.

Can we see you working beyond Ajay Devgn?

Rohit Shetty: I think my scripts suit his personality. I dont think anyone can take Ajay's place. He is one of the most finest actors in the industry today.

What next?

Ajay Devgn: After Singham I have Rascals which will release next. Also I am going to start shooting for Rohit's film Bol Bachchan.

Rohit Shetty: Yes, we will start shooting next month.

Are you plannig to make Gomaal-4?

Rohit Shetty: Yes, but I need to have the write script for that.

Ajay Devgn: Also if we come up with a Gomaal movie year then people will get bored of it. We need to take a break and come back it.

You are also planning to make a film with Shah Rukh Khan?

Rohit Shetty: Yes we are in talks but I still have to write the script. Once I finish doing that I will approach him and then we can talk about it.