In a recent interview, Ajay Devgn looked back on his career, which spans over nearly three decades. Here he spoke about how his father Veeru Devgn influenced him and how the Bollywood industry has evolved since making his debut.
Reported on The Indian Express, Devgn was asked if his father had always wanted him to be an actor and how did he influence him? To which he replied, “I wanted to be more behind the camera. But my father wanted me to be in front of the camera and be an actor. I used to be with him on sets when I was in school, and in fact, when I was 14-15 years old, I used to help him with edits. Then he started leaving things on me to edit and I did a lot of sequences here and there for him. He used to take a shot at that time, when there used to be no CGI, and come to me and ask me how I would take it. Because he had got me a camera, I would shoot the scene the next day and tell him how he could do it. All this I have learned from him.”
Devgn compared the approach the newcomers take when starting out in the industry to when he first joined Bollywood. “They are very well-planned, well-prepared and much more dedicated than all of us. I have seen how they prepare for their work. When they are working, it is just work for them. For us, it was fun because we have been brought up like that. At that time, the whole atmosphere in the industry was like that. So we had to adapt but they have come really prepared.”
Devgn made his debut with ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ (1991), which clashed with Anil Kapoor’s ‘Lamhe’ (1991), so how did the ‘Badshaaho’ (2017) actor feel when his film became a success? “Anilji (Kapoor) had told me not to release the film on that day. I said that I am a newcomer and I have no say in such things. He said you will suffer. I said whatever has to happen will happen. And then the vice-versa happened. So he met me and said that it was damn good. But it was so sporting. That was the kind of atmosphere and support, which was there at that time.”
Asked if the same sporting attitude exists? Devgn said “Not among all of us who are here since then. I don’t know about the new generation but the support is always there although it has become a lot more personalised. People are more worried now because there is a lot to lose, and a lot at stake. So the first reaction is how do I protect myself and that is how it has become now. I do not blame anybody.”
Reflecting back to Devgn’s early years as an actor, people often said he was an intense actor, though Devgn says he didn’t model himself on anyone in particular. “I didn’t want to be labelled as an intense actor. In fact, I didn’t want to be labelled at all, which has changed now. People say that I can do comedy, intense roles and action too. So I am happy in that zone. That makes you feel complete.”
With regards to the current #metoo campaign in Hollywood, Devgn shares his thoughts on whether Bollywood are addressing the issue. “I think they have. The fact is that there is no industry in the world where such a thing is not happening. Here, there is exposure. So if I say something, it is noticed. In the rest of the places, nobody will bother to hear it. It is happening everywhere. I am happy that if they are doing this, people will hear and maybe other industries can also start speaking like this.”