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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Ajay Devgn Set to Tickle the Funny Bones in Total Dhamaal

Ajay Devgn is amongst Bollywood’s most bonafide actors.

In a career spanning over two decades, Ajay has appeared in over a hundred Hindi films.

Devgn has won numerous accolades, including two National Film Awards and four Filmfare Awards.

Recently, he was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour of the country.

Since his debut in 1991, the actor has wowed us in several films as a real-life character, as an action/romantic hero and an evil villain, to name a few.

Even in hilarious comedy films like Ishq, Golmaal series and Bol Bachchan, Ajay has never failed to impress us with his comedic prowess. 

He is back on the big screen to make us laugh once again.

In an interview with Filme Shilmy, Ajay Devgn talks about comedy, acting and his forthcoming Bollywood film, Total Dhamaal.

You’re working with Indra Kumar after 15 years. Why did you choose to do Total Dhamaal?

We’ve always been in touch and when Indra Ji narrated the script, it was not about doing Dhamaal but about the script.

It was so fabulous in the sense that it was so funny, I laughed for two hours and I told him that if he makes the film the way it is, I’ll do the film.

Has your previous experience of working in a big ensemble cast in films like Golmaal helped you with doing Total Dhamaal?

I don’t know… I think we all are friends and get along so well.

I worked with all of the actors before, except maybe Jaaved (Jaaferi).

We all were quite close and comfortable with each other. That really helps with the comedy timing.

Nobody has an ego so I knew it would be like one big picnic and that’s what happened.

It was never like a big ensemble cast, we were just all colleagues and enjoyed working with each other.

Time passes so fast that you don’t even realise that the film is over.

Every actor who has worked with you seem to have fun things about their experience. Was there any Masti/Dhamaal moment that happened on set?

I think every moment was full of Masti and Dhamaal, I don’t think I can pinpoint one particular incident.

With regards to pranks, we were having so much fun that there was no need to really play pranks on each other!

We were all just pulling each other’s legs and laughing.

Comedy is a serious business. So how does an actor know what will work with the audience?

Oh, an actor doesn’t know. One has to go by instinct.

When I heard the script, it really made me laugh and that was my instinct.

Previous experience and things are there, but you do get an instinct from previous experiences.

You won’t exactly know but you would get an inkling to what is or isn’t working.

At times you could be wrong, it’s not a possibility that you will be right all the time.

How do you ensure you don’t go overboard as an actor when doing comedy?

I believe one should maintain that balance and doesn’t go overboard… That’s when the director comes in to control you.

There are such incidents with me too where it’s working for the moment but in totality, it should be added.

So then I will discuss with the director and try to improvise.

Sometimes I also go up to the director when things are not working.

You’ve managed to do versatile roles and not just comedy. How can an actor make sure they don’t get typecast?

An actor should rotate the genres, rather than playing the same (or similar role) each time.

I do a comedy, suspense and (now) a historical film, so I keep rotating my genres and keep reinventing myself.

When an actor is performing, he doesn’t really think about that genre.

He is mainly just thinking about the character and the role.

One simply falls into the genre automatically.

You wear many hats: actor, producer and director. Can it get difficult sometimes to balance these various responsibilities with your personal life too?

Not really when you have a great team working with you everywhere, then you’re good.

One just has to be clear and sorted in the mind with what needs to be achieved.

I am not over-ambitious, I like doing things at my pace, so I think I go decent.

There’s not one particular role that I find challenging, it’s just that one has to get enough time to do everything.

In terms of acting, you’ve pretty much done it all and you’ve even won two National Awards. What is left now for you to discover as an actor?

I never really think of it that way. I think with every film you discover something.

Total Dhamaal is not a film where it requires a very in-depth performance but comedy is really tough and isn’t easy.

Every time you do a role, you look at it differently and it gets challenging at that moment.

Listen to our interview podcast with Ajay Devgn here:

Ajay Devgn may be a man of few words, but his performances speak volumes of his calibre as an actor.

Here’s wishing him all the very best for all forthcoming projects!

Total Dhamaal releases in cinemas on 22nd February.

The film also stars Riteish Deshmukh, Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaffery, Madhuri Dixit Nene, Anil Kapoor, Esha Gupta and Boman Irani in lead roles. 

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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