Ajay Devgn: Not scared if people come and tell me Mohanlal & Kamal Haasan are better actors

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After seeing him in comical & action avatars, it is after a very long time that we’re going to see Ajay Devgn doing an intense role and it’s not only us, he too was waiting for something like that. In an interview, Ajay Devgn spoke about his film DRISHYAM, his 24-year-long journey in this industry, how important is the box office, the clash between films on festivals and more. Below are the excerpts…


We see you in an intense role after a very long time, were you looking out for something like this?
Yes, I was. I was looking out for something that brilliant because a lot of people used to meet me and tell me that we’re missing you. We’re missing the HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM or a ZAKHM or a COMPANY or a OMKARA or a GANGAAJAL, so I always used to tell them that the day I get a script which is better than all those, I’ll do it otherwise there’s no point. Hats off to the person who wrote the original, they’ve written a fabulous script.

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You trusted Nishikant Kamat with that chance?
The film required somebody who had the right sensibilities to not make it filmy or be insecure that I need to add 5 songs. And I thought Nishi was perfect.

You’re playing a simple character after very long, which character do you personally relate with?
Personally I am very simple so I relate with this character. Thought Nishi had just one problem in the beginning of the film- every time he told me your mannerisms and the way you look are very heroic. I used to tell him that I’m being normal. He used to be like change it a little. So I had to try and be normal.

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Was is it a task for you?
No, it actually happened just on the first day, it takes one day to get into the character.

The film has been made in many different languages are you apprehensive about this film?
I don’t really think so. Film wise our film is as brilliant as theirs. I wouldn’t want to say better but where performance is concerned I’m not worried at all. I think it’s not fair to compare me to somebody. Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan are fabulous actors and veterans. I’m not scared if people come and tell me that they’re better actors because I know there are. There is no fear, it’s not my contemporaries I’m competing with.  

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Have you seen any of the other versions?
I‘ve not. Kamal Haasan’s movie has just come but before we started the film also, I didn’t want to see the original because I didn’t want to get influenced by Mohanlal because he’s such a fabulous actor. If it was a bad actor who would have done it then I would have seen it and understood what not to do. But with him, I wanted to follow myself and didn’t want to get influenced.

Your character in the film seems to be suppressed by the cops or the system?
It’s not exactly suppressed by the cops or the system, it’s a tragic situation that can happen in anybody’s life actually and you’re on the wrong side of the law, but on the right side of your rightest person. Sometimes accidents do happen and to protect your family, you can go to any bounds.

Your character is show as a film buff?
Yes because he is 4th standard fail and most of his intelligence to beat the cops has come from all the film & television series. The way the original script was written was very sensible and intelligent.

‘Most of my character’s intelligence to beat the cops has come from all the film & television series’

You’ve shot the film in one go so was is tiring shooting?
You know, we used to start shooting at 10 and pack up at 4 and Sunday’s we never used to shoot. That way Nishi is very clear and fast so we didn’t have a problem at all.

What is the level of action that we’ll see in DRISHYAM?
You don’t see a lot of physical action but you don’t miss it also because the action he is doing with his mind game is super heroic.

In an interview, Tabu had said that you haven’t changed a bit…
Neither has she. I think we have been the same. Not only us, I think all of us have been the same except for that we have matured and calmed down a little.

Tabu had also said that you has become a bigger brand. Do you agree with that?
Ya, because she knew me during my college days and at that time we both didn’t know about getting into movies and all. She wasn’t a part of my college but her brother is my best friend so we all used to be together and we were all very protective about her. You know how the boys are with girls at that age. So it was like that.

There is a general perception that actors wouldn’t want to play fathers on screen. Why not?
I think everything is changing drastically. I wouldn’t mind playing a 60 years old guy also. It’s challenging as an actor and audiences do understand that.

Have you become more accepting of your age on screen as well?
 I am happy with my age. With the way we’ve evolved, we’ve all become better. I am happier that I am stronger than what I was at 25. Even if there is a little bit of grey in my hair, I don’t colour it, I love it.

‘I take my own calls and so does Kajol ‘

Do you turn to your family for career advice?
Not really, I take my own calls and so does Kajol. We don’t discuss films at home at all.

You have SHIVAAY coming up and then SON OF SARDAR, is it a conscious decision of not doing similar roles?
I’m trying my best to not do the same kind of films. That should be everybody’s conscious decision.

How do you see the box office?
Box office is very important and I want to do different kind of films also but only those which will work at the box office. With films like DRISHYAM, if you see the original and also the Kamal Haasan one, you can’t make great promos out of it. You don’t have those punchlines, action or songs. Those two films also started slow but the word of mouth of the films became so strong that the films were a smashing hit. This is what I believe about our film also. I don’t know how big it will open, but I’m sure word of mouth will take the film.

Has any character or film left a lasting impact on you?
Only Bhagat Singh because he was a real life character and every time I played him I felt that how can somebody be like this in real life?
Most of the festivals have been booked by the A-listers. How do you take that?
We don’t book it, we announce our releases. That does not mean that nobody else can come so we’re not blocking it.  Everybody has the right to come on good dates and festivals. I had said that last year that two films will release on festivals so that is what is going to happen.

But don’t you think the business will get divided?
It will get divided. If you see the people who book these dates, I’m using the wrong word, come on these dates, that is the reason their business goes to 200 crore also. Everybody wants to utilize that thing and it’s only fair that everybody does. Whichever film is better will work. There have been cases of DIL and GHAYAL and so many other films coming together and working together.

What would you say about your journey through 24 years?
It just flew. I didn’t even realize it’s been 24 years so I think I’ve been lucky that good times fly and I’ve never reached a point where I had to wait.


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