In his career spanning over 20 years, actor Ajay Devgn has worked with a host of filmmakers, but his working relationship with filmmaker Rohit Shetty seems to be unparalleled. Having already done eight films together, Devgn and Shetty are returning with Singham Returns. And unlike many actors, Devgn takes ownership of both the successes and failures of his films.
He feels that if a film doesn’t work, actors should take responsibility for the failure. Currently, director Sajid Khan, a college friend and colleague of Ajay, is in the line of fire for the Humshakals fiasco. His cast is blaming him for its box-office debacle. “When a film works, every actor tries to take credit for it, but when it does not work, he/she should take the discredit [sic] too because filmmaking is teamwork,” said the 45 year old.
But Devgn, who has come a long away since his first film Phool Aur Kaante (1991), admitted that the director is the captain of the ship and as a result, the onus is on him. “The director gives maximum input. Sometimes, he says, ‘Trust me’. But somewhere, it’s your mistake too. If you felt the script wasn’t right, then why did you do it?”
The actor-producer has made his own share of mistakes in terms of film selection. His film Himmatwala (2013), another film by Khan, bombed at the box office. “I accept my fault in Himmatwala because I thought it would be made in a different way. But I won’t blame the director for it because everyone is equally responsible,” he said. Devgn said he would not let that come between his friendship with the director. When asked about his unsuccessful stint in Himmatwala, he said, “If the film didn’t work, that does not mean we won’t remain friends. We are very good friends even now.”
Recently, actor Saif Ali Khan described his stint in Humshakals as a “mistake,” while his co-actor Bipasha Basu said she will never work with Khan again. But Devgn feels that more than directors, actors should give priority to the script. “I think the most important factor is the script. When a director narrates the script, an understanding is established between you two,” he said.
The Shetty-Devgn duo has churned out hits, which include the Golmaal franchise. Talking about their camaraderie, Devgn said, “It has been 25 years with Rohit. It’s difficult to say how our friendship has evolved. He is one of the hardest working directors I have ever worked with and he knows his job fabulously.”
Of his upcoming film Singham Returns, Devgn clarified that it is not a remake and that the film’s theme is fresh and topical. “We have involved a lot of youth and women in the film. Women will be inspired by it,” said the actor.
He said that actors should stay one step ahead of what they have done in the past and clarified that failures do not cast a shadow on the career of established actors. “We have crossed the stage where we think that if one film is a flop, we will stop getting work because we have been around for about 25 years. Hits and flops a part of every actor’s life.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2014.
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