The most enduring image of Ajay Devgn is still as ‘Vanraj’ in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. He is made to sing a song in the film to impress the girl’s father in order to get married to ‘Nandini’, played by Aishwarya Rai. I still remember the non-stop laughter in the cinema hall. Come October 30th, that image will be knocked off. Ajay Devgn, on stage at the great Wembley Stadium in London, clutching a microphone and sometimes his guitar will be seen making his dream come true. One of the finest actors of his generation, Devgn has swiftly moved between drama, comedy, action and romantic films, which some find confusing. Ajay is earnest 24/7 in what he does, be it acting, producing, directing or family matters. There aren’t enough words available to describe the sprawling and exceptional career of Ajay Devgn. I could only find one – ‘extraordinary’. Recent years have shown no signs of this mammoth talent slowing down. Ajay continues to work at a feverish pace that actors half his age are best known for. On numerous occasions, I’ve been told that the actor is known to talk less. In person, Devgn is an engaging company, self-confident and very rarely voluble. He doesn’t so much talk as hold forth. In full, he can sometimes come across like a character from one of his films. Put simply, he likes to talk about himself…and when he does, there is an edge to him- an almost imperceptible flicker of some darker, nervier energy that pulses just beneath the cool, calm exterior. That’s him! UK’s Harrow Observer columnist Devansh Patel brings you a rare chat with the ‘great’ Ajay Devgn where he talks about his ambitious next London Dreams, his first time working experience with Vipul Shah and Asin, getting back together with Salman Khan after a decade, his spiked look in the film and the film’s USP. You thought it was Ajay Devgn? Read on….
How did London Dreams happen to you?
This film was planned years ago; things didn’t work out at that point. Rajkumar Santoshi wanted to make it initially but that took time to take off. Eventually the script came to Vipul (Shah) to direct. He reworked it and approached me. I absolutely loved the script and decided almost immediately to do the project.
How did your first time with Vipul Shah come along?
Great! Vipul is very clear about what he wanted and had planned everything well, which explains why he has been able to shoot such an elaborate film, with the right nuances, emotions, drama and romance. Vipul understands drama and on the sets he comes completely prepared with shot breakdowns. That makes an actor’s job really easy, as no time is spent in deciding how to can a particular shot. You just have to come on the sets prepared with your scene and he takes charge.
Vipul understands drama and on the sets he comes completely prepared with shot breakdowns. That makes an actor’s job really easy
You are shown to be too ambitious in London Dreams. Is that how you are in real life too?
Yes I am ambitious in real life. My character is very ambitious; one who had nurtured a dream of performing at the Wembley Stadium since childhood and has worked hard towards fulfilling his dream. He’s the sort who values his ambitions above love or friendship. He is emotional, he loves the people around him but his love for his dream overpowers it all. His actions may seem negative and aggressive but he is completely clear and justified in his head. It is a character I haven’t played before and really enjoyed.
Salman and you have reunited after ten years on the big screen.
I think every actor grows with time. Salman has really matured as a performer and is fun to be with. He puts everyone at ease. We got along really well. Our off-screen chemistry shows on-screen as well! (Smiles)
Salman has really matured as a performer and is fun to be with
Your character in London Dreams seems to have slightly negative shades. Any apprehensions?
When you watch the film, you will realize that he’s not exactly negative. He is doing something which he has to do, something he regrets later. It’s a story of two friends and their misunderstandings- a misunderstanding they did not want to create but happens. It’s about two friends falling apart and coming back together.
How did you acquire the body language of a rock star, which is the character you play on screen in this film?
I don’t play an over the top, Mick Jagger sort of rock star! The character wasn’t flamboyant, he was subdued and controlled so it wasn’t difficult to portray. I just had to listen to the music, imbibe it and behave how any musician would if he loved his music as much.
Tell us about your experience of working with a newcomer like Asin who stormed the scene with Ghajini?
She proved herself in Ghajini. I think she has done very well and is an extremely dedicated and professional girl. She is punctual and cordial with everyone on the sets. And as an actress I think she has a lot of potential.
You have spiked up look in London Dreams. Want to know more.
Vipul and I came up with the look that you see in the promos. We did a lot of photo shoots, tried various styles – but eventually decided to not go completely over the top, as that would compromise the believability of this character. So this look is actually quite simple yet stylish and it worked. I wear earrings and have a different hairdo! I liked it! Hope everyone likes it too!
I wear earrings and have a different hairdo! I liked it! Hope everyone likes it too!
Your favourite track from the film?
I love it and everyone I know has loved it too. My favorite track is ‘Khwaab‘.
What is the USP of London Dreams?
I don’t ever know how to answer this question. A film is about so many things, there are so many elements that go into making a final product, that it’s difficult to say which one thing makes it special. If the film works in totality, it works. This film is about relationships, about friends and about oneself. It’s about a journey of two characters that are close to each other and how their differing attitudes towards success result in problems. It’s a film with a heart. It will pull at your heart strings, it will make you think about those who are close to you and matter to you.