The star needs no introduction. From action to comedy to drama, Ajay Devgn has done it all, and has been well-appreciated. Still a rage among his fans and friends, Bollywood’s ‘gentleman hero’ talks about his journey since ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ to ‘Singham’ and why he is not yet working with his wife Kajol.
Growing as an actor
I have been a part of the industry for the past 20 years and it has been a learning experience. I have undoubtedly grown – as an actor, a producer and even as a family man. My sincerity and hard work have been paid richly as I have been successful in whatever character I played. All these years have made me realise that there is no real competition. It should be within you to outdo your last performance, and that’s the rule I follow, both in my professional as well as in personal life. I always compete with myself and in doing so I try to evaluate my drawbacks and improve on it.
On playing different characters
I agree to perform any character only if I like it. But once I have signed on the dotted line, my commitment to the part I play is 100 per cent. I put in my sincere efforts to make my character on reel look real. If need be, I can go to any extent to get each and every nuances of the role right. In other words, I live the character I play. This may have something to do with my upbringing that has taught me to remain grounded, no matter how much success I achieve.
Crediting the makers
Director Kuku Kohli was the first director who put faith in me. He was the one to coax producer Dinesh bhai (Dinesh Patel) to cast me as a hero in ‘Phool Aur Kaante’. Thank God, the film was a success. Thanks to them and of course the audience who liked the film that I was able to take my next step in the industry. The second film I did with Kuku was ‘Haqeeqat’ (starring Tabu). Of course, here I have to also thank Tabu, because she was a well-known star then and I was a mere newcomer. I couldn’t have asked for a better second start. The film saw me play the quintessential love hero for the first time, and to my luck people loved the new Ajay as well. The film was nominated in all the categories for Screen Awards and with that directors began to see me as a versatile actor and not just another action hero. Mahesh Bhatt, Raj Kumar Santoshi, Rohit Shetty and Prakash Jha were some of the filmmakers who spotted the talent in me and took the risk. Today, I am happy that their gamble paid off.
Prakash Jha a mentor?
He is my godfather in the true sense. We have an amazing understanding, and that could be the reason that whichever role Prakash has given me, I have shined in that. He is an easy director to work with. Working with him I have never felt the pressure, which usually comes when you are experimenting with a different role or a subject. We share a master-student relationship, so whatever he wants to teach, I learn.
I care for the appreciation. It is the single most important thing that keeps us actors going. There is no award compared to audiences’ appreciation, which is my award too. But yes, being awarded by a jury is also a different high. As long as we get the desired and deserved admiration for the sincere and hard work we put in, we wouldn’t mind doing any kind of roles. It’s our life’s mojo.
On being a part of flop films
I am a professional actor. I do films. But if some of them do not do well at the box office then it is by chance. No one will make or act in a film if he knows it’s going to flop. You see, a hit or a flop is a conspicuous term which allures the audience to come and watch the film. Whether they like the film or not is their personal choice. I did ‘Rascals’ because I felt it was a good comedy film and a pleasant break from doing serious roles.
On working with wife Kajol
If we get a good script then we would be glad to do so. Right now however, there are no such plans.
Ten years from now...
(Laughs) I do not care for astrology so how am I to know my future? I believe in living in the present time. This is the reason why I never plan anything. I take life as it comes, and in my stride!