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“I am bored of films that are mediocre”

Ajay Devgn recently launched the trailer of Shivaay, in Indore, to a thunderous response

This was no ordinary afternoon in Indore, at least not for fans of Ajay Devgn, who descended on this quiet city for the trailer launch of his magnum opus Shivaay. It was last weekend and the entire city was buzzing with excitement as Devgn and the rest of the cast of the movie lost no time launching the promotions.

Devgn was all excited as he said, “The response we have received so far is phenomenal. Everyone has liked the trailer and the feedback we are getting is very positive. So I am not nervous at all but I am excited.”

The trailer looks extraordinary and very intriguing, to which the actor said, “I am bored of films that are mediocre. We have to raise the bar and somebody has to make an effort, and for that you have to face a lot of challenges. I have not worked for two years as I have given all my time and space to Shivaay and to the execution of the film.”

Devgn said the idea was born of an article he and his writer read in the newspapers although the film is not based on a true story. Asked why he chose to direct Shivaayrather than get another director on board, Devgn said, “It would not have been possible to make a film on this scale if I were to add my remuneration as an actor and as a director. I was so passionate about making this film that I decided to direct it too.”

The director-actor feels that in today’s times, more than a film in its entirety, it is the script that needs to stand out. “The screenplay of the film is very strong. What you see in the trailer is very little as we couldn’t include everything in it,” said Devgn.

The film’s marketing strategy too looks interesting. Before launching the trailer, the team started putting out posters and motion posters. Devgn revealed that the marketing strategy was a collaborative idea by the entire team. “We wanted to give a feel of what the film is all about. We have so much material in the film so we made around 30 posters.”

With Shivaay, Devgn is also launching two new actresses. “I wanted some brilliant actors but someone without preconceived notions. One character demanded a foreign face, so we auditioned and finalised Erika (Kaar), who has done several television dramas and is a trained actress. Then we were looking for an Indian face, when we found Sayyeshaa. I seriously believe I have been lucky to get all these actors and you will agree with me when you watch the film. They all are fabulous,” added Devgn.

Asked why he had titled the film ‘Shivaay’, Devgn revealed, “Shiva is the only God who is like us, so I found the title apt for my film.”

After our conversation, we headed straight to a basketball stadium where a huge crowd was calmly waiting for Devgn. As soon as he stepped onto the stage, they started cheering for the star and couldn’t stop clapping and shouting his name. The actor was accompanied by his two leading ladies, Erika and Sayyeshaa.

Sayyeshaa said, “I believe I am very lucky to get a break in a film directed by Ajay sir and I am sharing screen space with him too. I don’t think my debut could have been any better. We shot at various locations and, sometimes, the terrain and conditions under which we shot were very difficult but the entire crew was very supportive.”

Erika said, “It was a pleasure working in a Hindi film. Before being offered this film, I was not aware of Bollywood but working in a film where the language is so new was a great experience. We shot in Bulgaria, where it was freezing. I hope the Indian audience accepts me.”

The event was far from over even after the crowd watched the trailer a couple of times. Devgn’s fans kept asking him to deliver his famous lines from the trailer, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. And when Devgn said, “Na aadi na anth uska, woh sabka na inka-unka. Wahi shunya hai, wahi ikaaye, jiske bheetar basa Shivaay,” the cheer that went up was deafening.

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