"Kajol heard the script and immediately agreed to do the film" - Ajay Devgan

He made his Bollywood debut doing a daredevil stunt atop two motorbikes in Phool Aur Kaante. Just as people started calling him an action hero he changed guard and gave some sensitive portrayals in films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Zakhm. He is even known to have a great comic timing and has shown his funny side in films like Masti and Golmaal. Now he has done something which he has wanted to do since a long time. Yes, the talented actor, Ajay Devgan, turned director with U Me Aur Hum. The film has opened to a good response and most people have been unanimous in their praise for his directorial abilities. Bollywood Hungama caught up with the actor tuned director at his Juhu office and by the looks of it, he seemed extremely relaxed and confident about his maiden project. Here's Ajay talking about his journey and experiences during the making of U Me Aur Hum.

Your second baby (after Nysa) U Me Aur Hum was delivered last week? How does it feel?
(laughs) No, there is no comparison because Nysa is Nysa and I don't think I can compare her with anything in the world.

So is it you who went through the labour pains this time around?
Ya. Right now the labour pains are on because there were a lot of things to be done before the release but I think its fine (smiles)

When did you decide to take the plunge into direction? Was it a gradual decision or a spur of the moment thought?
It was never a decision….it was a thought, an idea which I had in my mind, and I started working on it. It shaped up so beautifully that I decided to make it myself. I had always been on the other side of the camera before I became an actor but I never really planned when I would direct my first film

Whom did you first convey your decision to direct?
Kajol (smiles). She heard the script and loved it and she immediately said I want to do the film.

Were you and Kajol the only (original) choices to star in the film or did some other names even cross your mind?
No other choices because Kajol immediately agreed to do the film before I even planned the film.

How easy or difficult was it directing Kajol in your very first film?
I think it was very easy. When you have an actor like Kajol, it's a director's delight; you can push the scene as much as you like knowing fully well that you have an actress who can deliver.

You are not someone who is immediately associated with romantic, mushy films. Why did you decide to choose this genre for your directorial debut?
It was the thought, the idea which inspired me… I didn't think about the genre.

Is U Me Aur Hum your way of defining what love and relationships is all about?
(Thinks) It can never be anybody's way. I think it is the right way of defining it making it a little more surreal and beautiful because that's what is required in today's world. So, I think it is the right way but I won't say it is my way.

You have been quoted saying that this was one story which you felt; you had to tell the world? Why so?
Because it's very positive. It talks very positively about love, relationships, problems and how you can tackle it and still be happy in life. I thought in today's world where things are turning negative its better to tell a tale which is very positive.

Are there elements from you real life love story which you have incorporated in U, Me Aur Hum
No …Not at all.

The buzz doing the rounds is U Me Aur Hum is inspired from The Notebook and Iris…Are there any similarities?
I think I'll only answer this question to those who have seen both the films and my film… After seeing the 3 films if he / she still wants to ask me this question…I'll answer it (smiles)

Describe your first day and last day as a director on the sets of U Me Aur Hum.
The first day was very normal. I didn't even realize when it started and when it got over. The last day…. well…….I think its still not the last day (smiles)

Why did you decide to shoot major portions of the film aboard a luxury cruise?
That is the script's demand and instead of the usual landscapes etc. I thought it would be something different to shoot the film aboard a cruise.

Were you quite the taskmaster on the sets? Apparently you were really adamant on Kajol doing the salsa though she wasn't very comfortable.
Every director tries to get as close to as what he wants. I feel that's not being a taskmaster, its just being honest to your work.

In fact, the Jee Le number would have been really one unforgettable experience to shoot considering even you got hit by one of the dancer's sandals… Could you tell us what happened after that?
(smiles) No nothing happened…the poor dancer was so scared that even if it hurt me I behaved as if nothing happened and just moved on

This is one of the first Hindi films where a Heli-cam was used…What purpose did it serve and whose idea was it to bring a Heli-cam into the picture?
Technique is always a part of story-telling. It was my idea to use the heli-cam. It was purely to enhance the story-telling and not to show off.

You are an accomplished actor, a producer and a director too now. Which one of these three do you enjoy most and which is really challenging?
I think it depends from time to time. I enjoy acting… I also enjoyed directing this film but that doesn't mean I'll keep directing. I don't know when the next thought will come which will inspire me so much, that I decide to direct it.

Your father Veeru Devgan had earlier directed you in Hindustan Ki Kasam…Did you take any tips from him?
You take tips from all kinds of directors. Though I have learnt a lot from my father about filmmaking technique since my childhood days, I have worked with many good directors. But yes he does inspire me.

Nysa made her first public appearance during the audio release. How did she manage considering both you and Kajol were neck deep busy with the film?
(laughs) Nysa didn't even know that she was making her first public appearance. As for during the making of the film, we managed to spend enough time with her. It's not like we were working throughout the day. Kajol especially was working only 6 - 7 hours in a day so we could manage.

The music of the film is slowly but surely picking up… Your favorite track in the film?
You can't ask this to a director (smiles) but I think it will be U Me Aur Hum- the title track by Vishal.

Why did you decide on Vishal Bharadwaj to compose the music? He doesn't really do much music these days…
Because I wanted my music to convey the same feeling which my story conveys and that is something which a director like Vishal can understand even better.

You are normally quite reserved and shy but are now going all out promoting your film on T.V. channels, radio stations and what not. How come this sudden change of image? Have you finally realized the importance of promoting and marketing a film in today's times?
As an actor I am still shy (smiles) but as a producer, it is my job to go all out and promote the film. In today's times, you have to promote your film…You don't have a choice. It is one of the most important aspects of filmmaking.

Most actors usually appear in one or two episodes of reality shows as celeb judges but you along with Kajol and Tanujaji seem to be permanent judges on Airtel Rock N Roll Family. What made you give your green signal to this show?
I am there on the show because I liked the concept. I think it's a beautiful concept which talks about three generations of a family coming together. It talks about Indian values and morals. I liked it so much and moreover it wasn't something which required a lot of time devotion from us. It's just a thirteen week thing so we decided to go ahead and do it.

In fact Aamir said that it was quite a task directing himself…did you also feel the same way?
I think if you are clear in your head, it's just a lot of hard work. Otherwise there is no problem.

U Me Aur Hum will be your third release this year. Does it bother you that your earlier two releases Sunday and Halla Bol failed to strike gold at the B.O…?
No it doesn't matter… It varies from film to film. Good films work…Period

There have been talks that you have even grown your moustache on a friend's insistence considering you sported one before the release of you recent few successful films (Apaharan, Omkara, Gangajal etc) Are you that superstitious
(laughs) I think it's ridiculous to think like this. I have grown my moustache because I like it. However, my daughter does not like it, so I think I'll remove it.

U Me Aur Hum opened with another biggie Krazzy 4 …Would you have rather had a solo release or do these things don't really matter?
It really doesn't matter… There's enough space for both the films

In what way is U Me Aur Hum different from the countless loves stories we have witnessed on Hindi cinema.
That is for the audience to see and decide. It's honest, it's very positive and in spite of the drama in the film it ends on a very positive note not just for the characters in the film but also for the audience when they come out of the theatres

Lastly how important is this film's success to you?
Very important as that's the way you measure appreciation.