He’s back in action, coming back into his own, in his upcoming release, Singham. Man of the moment Ajay Devgn tells Vajir Singh that experimenting with genres is what keeps the audience guessing.
Everyone is saying that Ajay Devgn is back with an action film but most of your films have had action in them.
In a way, that is correct. All three Golmaals and All The Best have had action in them but in those films, action played a small part. Whereas in Singham, action is not just one of the parts, it is a part of the film. The film is predominantly an actioner. So the audience will watch me doing a hardcore action film after seven or eight years.
Why did you keep your audience waiting for so long?
It’s not that I decided to switch loyalties and do non-action movies. But you can’t keep doing action films one after another.The audiences would get bored. Plus, when you decide to make an action film, the subject needs to be very strong. You can’t just have one action scene following another – action merely for the sake of action. They need to be blended well with the plot.
I’ve been waiting for a script where the action was believable, where the action goes hand-in-hand with the plot; where, even in scenes that did not have any action in them, there was an undercurrent of it. Singham has everything you could need in an action film. I’ve been waiting for such a script for years.
What makes Singham different from other action films?
Action filmon me mein sirf action hota hai. But is film mein solid intensity hai. And action itne stylised way mein kiya hai. That’s the USP of the film. See, there is either raw action in a film or stylised action. But to date, no one has tried to present raw action in a stylised way.
Right from the script to my role to the kind of action in the film and the way Rohit (Shetty) has designed the film, everything will be a treat for the audience. When you see the promo, it gives you a high. And that’s exactly how we wanted the film to turn out, to excite the audience from the very first frame. And that is already the kind of reaction we are getting.
What kind of reactions are you getting?
You know, don’t you?
Still, tell us, what are the reactions you are getting?
Arey yaar, we are getting fabulous reactions. People who are with me will obviously love it and rave about it. But we tried to find out from outside and the response has been great. Our production team even went and spoke to the janta and the praise for the trailer was unanimous. Half the battle is won, and come July 22, we will know the rest. (Smiles)
It is still hard to accept that you could keep yourself away from out-and-out action films for so long.
It may sound clichéd but, trust me, I’ve just been waiting for a film like Singham. There’s no charm in making action films just because people love watching me in them. Also, if you try and attempt the same genre again and again, the impact starts lessening.
So we can say that you got tired of doing comedy films and have now shifted back to action?
Are you trying to put words in my mouth? Well, if you go through my films, you will notice that I have never stuck to one genre. I’ve always tried to attempt something new, something different with each release.
Can we call movies like Apaharan and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai action movies?
These were character-driven projects. In Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, I don’t fight. The moment I got into a fight in the film, it weakened the impact of my character.
When you take up a project, you need to play the character and you need to be loyal to it. The moment you try to become bigger than the character, it affects your film. If I’m playing Sultan Mirza, I need to be Sultan Mirza. I can’t add one action scene just because the audience would love to watch Ajay Devgn doing an action scene. It’s very important to play your character and be truthful to it.
Do you offer your inputs on the sets?
If I were going to offer my inputs, I would rather direct the film myself. When I come across a subject where I feel only I can make it, I will direct the film and not depend on another person to direct it. But when you say yes to a project as an actor, that means you have agreed that the director of that film will do justice to it. As an actor, my job is to play the character the way the director has conceived it.
Rohit Shetty started his career with Abhishek Bachchan and you in Zameen, which was also an action film. You are now teaming up with him after a hiatus of eight years, for another action film. How does that feel?
Rohit is fabulous with action. A lot of people can make good action films but he presents action in a way that others cannot imagine. From the trailer, you must have realised the hard work Rohit has put into this film. But seeing is believing. So till the film releases, people will keep getting hints through each successive teaser.
Is it because you guys have been working together for so long that you could wrap up Singham so quickly?
Tuning and understanding are very important. It’s very important to strike a rapport with the people you are working with. So in certain films, when the tuning and understanding of the crew are good, work obviously progresses faster and smoother and the teamwork shows. And there’s so much positivity on the sets, it reflects in the product. (Smiles)
There’s talk in the trade that you didn’t do Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan because you wanted to do Singham. Is that true?
What rubbish! I was committed to the other films and I didn’t have the dates to do Aarakshan. Prakashji wanted to shoot for Aarakshan but I had committed the same dates to other projects. That’s why I couldn’t work with Prakashji this time.
Is there any ill feeling between the two of you?
What ill feeling? And why? We have made so many films together and we have a good working rapport and personal relationship. This time, I was committed to other projects and couldn’t do his film. In future, we will work together.
Some people say an actor should do a limited number of films but you do so many movies a year.
(Cuts in) You have the time to count the number of films I am doing but you also need to find out if they belong to the same genre. Having said that, I somewhat agree that you should cut down on the number of films you do. I am doing films because I try not to repeat my genres. So agar Golmaal ke baad Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji aati hai aur phir Singham aati hai toh who ekdum contrast ho jata hai. That works for me.
Do you plan to cut down on work?
I have done that already. Last year, I had five or six releases. This year, I have three, next year I will have two.