jay Devgn, stumped?
Yes, and all it took was one question.
Which of the many characters that he
played in his 24-year-long career in the
industry would he have invited home?
First, Devgn smiled.
Yes. His characters.
There was a long pause, followed by another smile.
“Bhagat Singh (from his movie The Legend Of Bhagat
Singh), because I am in awe of him.
“Malik bhai from Company, because I loved that character
“Sultan Mirza from Once Upon A Timein Mumbaai.”
And he smiles yet again.
In each of these roles, there were both “relationships” and
And there are “relationships” and “emotions” involved with
his next release, Drishyam, a remake of the 2013 Malayalam
hit that starred the talented Mohanlal in the title role.
Drishyam — for the actor (we are deliberately not saying
the star) — is special. It is a meaty, emotional role he can sink
his teeth into, the kind of roles he was known for (Zakhm,
Raincoat, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) before he discovered
that he had a talent for comedy on-
screen (Avid Bollywood buffs will
know that Devgn has the reputation
of being a mega-prankster on the
He is confident about its success
even though the trailer does not
have the regular
dishoom-dishoom his fans expect.
“My character in Drishyam may
not be physically strong,” says
Devgn, “but, mentally, he is as strong
the two hits directed by Rohit Shetty).
This is an edge-of-the-seat thriller and,
once my fans and the audience
watch Drishyam, they will realize that I play a very
There’s another reason why he finds this film special and
that’s Tabu, a co-star for whom he has a soft
corner. Vijaypath, their film in 1994, was Tabu’s first hit and
Devgn’s third, and they have been pals since before they
joined the film industry.
“We have known each other since we were kids,” Devgn
cracks a rare smile that sees his
eyes crinkle. “We are like two guys
who are abusing and hitting each
other. Till now we call each other
with the names that we addressed
each other earlier (askids).”
But the camaraderie would dis-
appear each time the camera
switched on at the sets of Drishyam.
“The film has a story of conflict between
the two of us and we needed an actress of
Tabu’s caliber to pull it off. She is an intense
actor and is fabulous at her work,” he says in a tone
that brooks no argument.
Drishyam is a film he’s clearly comfortable with, unlike
others where he has lost interest mid-way. And when that
happens, here’s what Devgn does: “I switch off. Anyone
Ajay Devgn seems to move between meaty roles, action potboilers
and comedies seamlessly and constantly. Savera Someshwar and Sonil Dedhia
find out how he satisfies the actor in him yet meets the expectations fans
and filmmakers have from a star like him.
A STAR BALANCING ACT
Ajay Devgn in Drishyam, which released July 31.
Devgn recieves his second National Award in 2003 from the late A P J Abdul Kalam, then president of India.
India Abroad August 7, 2015
THE MAGAZINE M3