They created a hulchul of sorts both on-screen and off it ever since Kajol and Ajay Devgn were cast together in Hulchul (1995). The reel romance soon turned real and the duo got married after four years of courtship in 1999 and have been inseparable ever since. Theirs is an old school romance, such a refreshing change from the online PDA showered by star couples on each other today. In an industry known for fickle relationships, theirs has been going strong for more than two decades. Kajol still blushes when asked to speak on him and the ever reticent Ajay floods up with superlatives describing her. Presenting excerpts from straight from-the-heart interviews of Ajay and Kajol distinct as personalities, one as parents. A made for-each-other-couple unlike any other...
"Kajol has sacrificed a lot for me"
AJAY DEVGN’S focus remains work and family. RAGHUVENDRA SINGH gets the reticent actor to share how he stays calm and positive
WHAT MADE YOU PLAY A HISTORICAL FIGURE LIKE SUBHEDAR TANHAJI MALUSARE?
There’s little written about Tanhaji (military leader in the army of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) in history books. When I read the script, I got to know about his contribution to history and the sacrifices he made. He died while keeping the Kondhana Fort from Aurangzeb (in the Battle of Sinhagad 1670). Aurangeb ka poore Hindustan par hukumat karne ka sapna adhura reh gaya. We’re (Ajay Devgn FFilms) planning to launch a franchise called The Unsung Warriors. Tanhaji is the first in that series. Under the title, we want to tell stories of unsung warriors. It’s not necessary that they should have fought wars. It could also be a person, who’s fought for society’s betterment.
HOW DID THIS STORY COME TO YOU?
Director Om Raut came to me with the story. He’s directed the Marathi film, Lokmanya: Ek Yug Purush (2015), for which he won several awards. He’s well-versed with Maratha history. The script fascinated me. We realized the look and the scale of the film would be difficult to achieve. It was not about the budget. It was about expertise. To make a film like Tanhaji you need a knowledge of technicalities, which Om has. The character was equally inspiring. You have to be conscious about presenting such a historical figure with dignity, keeping in mind his stature.
BIG-BUDGET HISTORICALS SEEM TO BE THE ORDER OF THE DAY…
During Golmaal Returns, I was asked about slapstick comedies being a trend. Actually, there’s no such thing as a trend. All kinds of films are working at the box-office. The film must be good. Currently, I’m doing a variety of films. Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s Maidaan (plays Indian football coach and manager, Syed Abdul Rahim, under whom the country enjoyed glory between 19521962) and Bhuj: The Pride Of India (plays Squadron Leader Vijay Karnik, supervisor of Bhuj airport, during the Indo-Pak war of 1971) are interesting films. You could hear 10 scripts, out of which only two sound extraordinary.
KAJOL AND YOU COMING TOGETHER ALWAYS CREATES EXCITEMENT…
As actors, we were excited about the script. In Tanhaji, Kajol doesn’t have a full-fledged role. She’s playing an important character, that of Tanhaji’s wife (Savitri Malusare). She has six to eight scenes. But we needed a fine actor for this character. We believed Kajol was perfect. She too got excited about her character and wanted to be part of it.
HOW DIFFERENT IS KAJOL ON THE SET AND AT HOME?
(Smiles) She’s the same person on the set and at home.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EQUATION WITH KAJOL THROUGH THE YEARS?
We’ve been married for 20 years. With time, your relationship matures. Your understanding of each other grows. Life eases out. She knows exactly what my habits are, what I’m seeking from life, just the way I know about her. We’re happy being with each other and giving space to each other as well. The balance comes with time gradually, which is good for a marriage.
HOW HAS KAJOL CHANGED THROUGH THE YEARS?
(Smiles) There’s no drastic change in her. She’s the same person she was. Earlier, people would say that Kajol says it the way it is. She does that even today. The only difference is that she has become more mature. She understands things better. She reacts in a better way.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO LEARN?
I spend a lot of time with my children. I want them to be true and honest to themselves. If they’re honest to themselves, they’ll be honest with us. I want them to respect others and themselves. I tell them that every day. That covers everything. If you respect yourself, you carry yourself with dignity. When you respect others, you uphold your culture. That’s the basic foundation.
YUG SEEMS TO BE INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY. HIS CLICKS ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES ARE INTERESTING…
No, nothing like that. He’s way too young. He plays football, he does parkour and indulges in photography as well. Like any kid, he enjoys it all. When he grows older, he’ll be able to decide what he wants to do.
WHAT ABOUT NYSA?
She’s in the eleventh class. She has a lot of options to choose from. Children should be allowed to pursue what they like. But we do discuss what’s good for them. The final call is theirs. If you study something, you should be able to enjoy the process. If you force something upon children, they will neither enjoy it nor succeed.
IN AN INDUSTRY THRIVING ON PR, YOU DON’T SEEM DESPERATE FOR ATTENTION.
I’m like this only. I believe once you’ve done your job, you should shut up. People have ears, eyes, mouth… They can understand everything. It’s their job to talk, not yours. Touchwood! people meet me with respect. I feel happy about it. You gain nothing by shouting from the rooftops. Whatever you achieve is temporary. And I don’t believe in temporary things. They never last.
HOW MUCH CAN WE GET TO KNOW THE ‘REAL AJAY
DEVGN’ FROM YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLE?
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DEVESH SHARMA HIGHLIGHTS THE ECO-WARRIORS OF BOLLYWOOD ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, WHICH FALLS ON JUNE 5
Playing for keeps
AFTER TRYING HIS HAND AT PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL IN BRITAIN, RONNIE C IS ALL SET TO MAKE HIS BOLLYWOOD DEBUT SOON
SHOW ME THE MONEY
TUSSHAR KAPOOR RECENTLY TURNED PRODUCER WITH LAXMII. RAGHUVENDRA SINGH SOUNDS HIM OUT ABOUT THE NEW VENTURE
REMEMBERING RAAM LAXMAN
DEVESH SHARMA SKETCHES THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE VETERAN MUSIC DIRECTOR WHO PASSED AWAY RECENTLY
ROAR OF THE TIGER
ADARSH GOURAV SPEAKS TO VEDANSHI PATHAK ABOUT BAGGING A BAFTA NOMINATION FOR HIS PERFORMANCE IN THE WHITE TIGER, WHICH ALSO HAD AN OSCAR NOMINATION IN THE BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY CATEGORY
Taapsee Pannu offers up some straight drives to Raghuvendra Singh’s yorkers
VEDANSHI PATHAK INTERVIEWS PRAJAKTA KOLI, WHO HAS MADE A NAME FOR HERSELF THROUGH HER QUIRKY INTERNET VIDEOS AND WILL SOON MAKE HER BIG TICKET DEBUT WITH JUG JUGG JEEYO
ESCAPE FROM REALITY
The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown have been traumatic to say the least.
FAREWELL, VANRAJ BHATIA
DEVESH SHARMA OFFERS A BRIEF PROFILE OF THE RENOWNED COMPOSER, WHO PASSED AWAY RECENTLY
Aiming for the bullseye!
NIKITA DUTTA TALKS TO VEDANSHI PATHAK ABOUT THE BIG BULL, TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, HER UPCOMING DANCE FILM AND MORE
NOT WHEN SOBER, BUT WHEN DRUNK…?
DOES ALCOHOL HELP LUBRICATE YOUR SEX LIFE BECAUSE OF LOWERED INHIBITIONS?
Stepping onto the SCENE
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Like Mother, Like Daughter
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I have a different kind of attachment to sarees
KAJOL TALKS ABOUT EMBRACING FASHION AND TEACHING HER KIDS THE VALUE OF MONEY
Do you remember Kajol’s entry in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham?
Ajay Devgn: I Don't Think About My Stardom
Ajay Devgn says he doesn’t care or think about stardom, and that helps him stay in touch with reality.
I Can't Work With People I Don't Like - Kajol
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, her cult film with Shah Rukh Khan, released 23 years ago, is still playing at a prominent theatre in Mumbai. That shows her staying power alright. After enjoying a formidable position in the 90s, the luminous star took to marriage and motherhood with equal passion and poise. Intermittent hits like Fanaa, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, My Name Is Khan and Dilwale reiterated her sway at the box-office. But with Pradeep Sarkar’s Helicopter Eela, Kajol has entered a new realm. For her role of an obsessive mother, she didn’t have to look elsewhere but within herself. For all mothers are the same some maybe a little madder. Love is all that they give. Love is all that they wish to receive over to Kajol who’s all about love
What's Next For Kajol?
The thing about an actress like Kajol is that she seldom bestows viewers with overkill, so ensuring that every time she is seen on screen, she leaves the audiences thirsting for just that much more. Wondering when next they will get to see her again in a movie. She never promises anything, so whatever she puts out then, is eagerly devoured by a populace of cine-goers hungering to see her work. She breezes in and out of the theatres, with long gaps. But what she does leave behind, along with the fragrance of her characters, is the secure knowledge that whatever comes next, will be worth the wait. Suguna Sundaram traces the journey of the phenomenon that is Kajol.
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I Don't Talk On Phone: Shah Rukh Khan
Romance, his enthusiasm, his reclusiveness, his method… When Shah Rukh Khan holds forth as only he can, who can stay unmoved? Pratishtha Malhotra is no exception.