His brooding deep-set eyes, the guarded look and lopsided smile do not give away where his thoughts are lingering, but Ajay Devgn has always been a man of few words. The only time he opens up is when his films are up for release. He seems more forthcoming with his second directorial venture Shivaay, which hankers around his favourite topic—action—but Ajay corrects us: “More than an action drama, it’s an emotional drama and a father-daughter story, but yes the treatment of the film is different.”
The trailer of Shivaay, however, does not reveal much. All that one can glean from it is the fast-paced action as Ajay bashes up men in the snowy Alps of Bulgaria, narrating shlokas describing Lord Shiva. “We have done that with a purpose. If you start connecting with the promos and songs, you will realise what the story is. If you come to know the story, what purpose will the film serve? The USP of the film is the VFX. I had done the title song for my movie Raju Chacha when VFX had not come to India. There was only one machine and people here didn’t know how to use it. I did the special effects myself. Our team is fantastic and now they are doing all good films, they are working on some portions of Bahubali 2,” says Ajay.
While the actor has been majorly known for action-oriented films, he insists that Shivaay is a film about relationships. “I like to make films which I feel from the heart. Did you watch Die Hard? For everyone, it was an action film but I thought it was a family drama, as he was trying to save his wife and her friends. It touched an emotional cord. My story is simple and emotional too and has a lot of action.”
Although the film is titled Shivaay, Ajay says it is in no way connected to mythology. “The character of Shivaay is a modern take on Lord Shiva. Among all Gods, He had more of a human connect. He smoked a chillum, consumed intoxicating substances, and had tattoos on his body. He was known for his outbursts and yet was innocent. He was the destroyer of evil.”
For someone who has grown up on action, doing adrenaline pumping stunts in the Alps was fun, says the actor. “It was fun because we were doing a great job, but it was difficult as we were doing stunts in minus 20 degrees. We could not stand there for more than 10 minutes.”
We quiz him about the current cultural ban on Pakistani artistes and Ajay says, “I am an admirer of Pakistani artistes and have worked with them. I believe that there are no boundaries,
and they are not terrorists.
At the moment, however, our jawans are laying down their lives for us, and I will definitely support them.”
Shivaay stars Sayesha Saigal in the lead. She is the daughter of actors Sumeet Saigal and Shaheen Banu, and the grandniece of actors Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar. But Ajay is quick to reiterate that he did not sign her because of her lineage. “I know a lot of actors who are star sons, but that does not mean they are talented. We wanted a new girl and she was raw,” he says, adding, Kajol was never considered for the role. “Kajol is taking care of my parents. She is a big support in my life. She takes care of the house and children when I am busy working. Because of her I could completely focus on a difficult film like Shivaay.”
Ajay says he is very proud of the younger lot of actors in the industry. “They are so good and loyal to us. When we came into the industry, we didn’t take any interest. We did films based on our relationships with the producer and directors. We were not sure if the film will be released or not. It was a wrong professional move but emotionally we were right. The youngsters have a lot of potential, Ranveer, Ranbir, Alia...
They are intelligent, focused and career-oriented. But there’s a lot of cut-throat competition. We have been here for 25 years so we have made an emotional connect with our fans. The new generation is not like that. If they like a film, they will watch it or else they won’t. They are intelligent, educated and sensible. Our fans will come because they are loyal to us,” he says.