“At Home, I Am Not Singham, But Scaredy Cat” —Ajay Devgan
In an exclusive interview to Chandra Mohan Sharma, the versatile actor Ajay Devgan speaks about his relation with Prakash Jha and Rohit Shetty, his future projects and many other issues concerning Bollywood. Excerpts:
You have been a lucky star for both Prakash Jha and Rohit Shetty. What difference do you find in their functioning style?
When I joined Prakash Jha, he had given several hits till then. There has been a trend for “duet working” for some time in Bollywood. In a new film, a producer takes only that pair which have given several super hits. But Prakash Jha makes films not only with me but also with others. I was not in the last film of Rohit Shetty, yet it is doing wonder on the box office. Today, time has changed. If one thinks that he will work only with one particular person permanently, then he is wrong. Prakash Jha’s and Rohit Shetty’s thinking and working style are completely different. While Prakash Jha sends out an effective message through his films and also raises social causes, Rohit Shetty makes colourful entertainer, full of zing, in his own style. I am not saying that his films do not have any message. They do have, but in a different style.
For the first time, Rohit made a film without you. How do you feel?
I just said that it is not necessary that we will always work together. I have my own production house. Rohit has his own team of 200-250 people, which is always with him throughout the year. Maybe in the coming days, Rohit will make two-three films in a year, as he has to pay salary to his staff every month. In this condition, he will have to do more work. And yes, if we work together, then you people ask whether we don’t get films of other banners. I feel delighted when Rohit makes hit films with other production houses. Rohit is not bound by any agreement to work only with me.
It is said that Rohit gave you the first proposal for making Chennai Express.
Absolutely. We meet often and discuss on different issues. I remember, sometime back Rohit told me that Director K Subhash had given him an interesting script. Rohit and his team worked on this script for a long time and prepared the script of Chennai Express. During that period, I was busy. Having worked in many films with Rohit, I was working with Sazid Khan. This was the reason that we could not reach a final decision.
Now Rohit’s this movie has scripted a new chapter of success on Indian box office. How do you feel?
I say from deep inside my heart that I am very happy. It is not because this marvel has been done by Rohit. A few years back, if a film earned hundred crore, it was regarded as a miracle. But today this figure has touched three-four hundred crore and it is good. In the coming days, Bollywood films would be in a position to give a strong fight to Hollywood movies.
After You, Me aur Hum, why has Kajol distanced herself from
It is better you ask this question, on my behalf too, to her. In fact, Kajol likes to spend more time with Nayasa and Yug at home. Internally, I am also happy that she gives her full time to our family. Now I feel, like you people, I leave home early in morning to earn bread and butter for my family. And I return home late at night, bushed and exhausted. But the moment I see my family with Kajol in a happy frame of mind, I forget my exhaustion.
Is Kajol working on any script?
To be very frank, at personal level, I don’t dare ask her such questions as to what she is doing. At home, I am not Singham, but Scaredy Cat. Yes, Kajol, of late, told me about working on two scripts. The work may begin on one of them next year. My production company will make Kajol’s film, but I will not work in it.
In your long career, you have not worked with Yashraj camp and Shah Rukh Khan.
There are several names, with whom I did not work but am doing now. In the last 25 years, I have not gone to anyone to seek work, neither will I go in future. I get one-two script for perusal every month. But I work only on that script which my heart supports. I want to work with only those who are desperate to work with me.
Which is your next film?
I will work again with Rohit on the sequel of Singham. Even otherwise, I work in one film at one time. Until that film is not completed, I don’t think about the next film. Yes, this time there is a new planning with Rohit to do something new.
People like your chemistry with Kareena and all your films with her have been a hit. What do you expect of Satyagraha?
Yes, I worked with Kareena in films like Omkara, Golmaal 2 and Golmaal 3 and all these films have been liked by the audience. But I would like to give credit for their success to the script. I hope people would like the story of Satyagraha.