"My daughter is too young to watch U, Me Aur Hum" - Ajay Devgan

Listening to Ajay Devgan for fifteen minutes makes you realise that he is not only the consummate actor, but the perfect movie star as well. He doesn't really namedrop his way through the interview - namedropping isn't the correct term for him because he considers himself as just a normal human being who is simple and down to earth. But it is clear that this is a guy who has seen it all. And what's more, professionally he is on the form of his life, by reinvigorating his acting credentials in his directorial debut U, Me Aur Hum. In an exclusive interview over the phone from a cold and windy day in London, Devansh Patel chats with Ajay Devgan.

What's more of a responsibility, wearing the director's hat, directing your wife, being a husband and a father or producing a meaningful cinema which conveys a strong message?
You are forgetting that the intention was also to make a fun film which I have in the first half of the film. As a husband, it wasn't an issue to be working with Kajol because when I was directing her, I wasn't thinking of her as my wife but was thinking of her as a character. Now when we talk about directing, acting and producing yourself, you have to make it very clear in your head that it requires a lot of extra hard work because you need more concentration as you are putting your mind in three things at the same time. But if you are clear in your head, it's not a big issue.

When I was directing Kajol, I wasn't thinking of her as my wife but as a character
But after seeing the film, don't you think that U, Me Aur Hum is eventually giving a strong message out to the audiences?
I have not made this film to give out any message. It's sweet of you to say that but I feel that it is a positive film made with a positive attitude. So I don't think that in my film anybody will feel that I gave a message. They might feel it when they go home. Eventually, it's a story which talks about positivity, love, relationships, etc. It will make you laugh and cry and that was my prime intention.

Has your daughter seen the film?
She is too young to see the film and I don't think that she will be able to see us facing problems in the film itself. I am sure that she won't see U, Me Aur Hum.

My daughter is too young to watch U, Me Aur Hum
Why show U, Me Aur Hum to Sushma Swaraj, L.K.Advani, Ravi Shankar Prasad and a few other politicians?
Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad is like a family friend. It was his idea that he wanted to show the film to the cabinet ministers. It was his invitation and I was also invited for the show. Yes, it's true that the special screening was the first trial of U, Me Aur Hum and the response was over whelming and we had a standing ovation in the end. That was a great feeling. Mr Advani was a film critic before he became a politician and that adds on to it.

After seeing the film myself, I thought that the Director of Photography (DOP) has done an excellent job. What credit would you like to give to Aseem Bajaj?
Aseem has been the DOP in many of my earlier films as an actor like Golmaal, Sunday, etc. It's very important the way you present your characters and light them up. I think the DOP needs to understand the mood of the scene. That's when we tell him that we want such kind of lights. He then goes ahead and puts his inputs. I think it makes a lot of difference in a way as the DOP adds glamour to the film too. Hats off to Aseem Bajaj.

I've heard a lot about one scene in the film which took three hours to shoot. Could you brief us on that?
The scene which you are talking about is the shot in which the seagulls are seen flying together. It's the first time that we have used a helicam in our country for that particular shot. I knew a lot about the helicam but you need prior permissions from certain authorities to use it. That's why I had pre planned all the necessary things before getting my hands on to the helicam. What's even more interesting is that the seagulls come out early in the morning only once and we had to wait for three long hours to take the shot. In fact, in such situations, there has to be no room for error.

A very cliched question but have to ask it. Why choose faces like Divya Dutta, Karan Khanna and Sumeet Raghavan for your film?
I wanted actors who were not over exposed and I wanted good characters. Friends should look like friends; otherwise what happens is that in our films when a hero has friends, they are side characters who have hardly anything to do in a film. But I've seen to it that friends look like family in U, Me Aur Hum and thus such a diverse choice. I am sure you'll fall in love with each and every friend of mine in the film.

I wanted actors who were not over exposed and I wanted good characters
Is U, Me Aur Hum going to be a one off experiment as a director?
I had an idea and I decided to direct a film. U, Me Aur Hum's idea touched my heart. There is a possibility that another idea may touch my heart tomorrow or after two years. If that's the case then I'll direct my second film. My intention is not to keep directing. As of now, I am thinking of something. If it really inspires me to do it then I'll go ahead and direct it, but I'm not in a hurry.

If it really inspires me to do it then I'll go ahead and direct it, but I'm not in a hurry
It may come to you as a shock but the restaurant scene during the climax left many journalists moist eyed. That's my favourite scene. Which one's your's?
You caught me on that one, didn't you? The restaurant scene with my friends was a very important scene and you won't believe it but I started the main thought of U, Me Aur Hum with that scene.

So were there any moments when you had your eyes moist?
Lots of time because the script was so close to my heart. When Vishal Bhardwaj came up to me and made me read the slow and painful title song's second verse, it made me cry.

When Vishal Bhardwaj came up to me and made me read the slow and painful title song's second verse, it made me cry
Any message for your fans who are eager to see your first directorial debut tomorrow?
I don't want to give any message. I want them to see the film and I want them to feel positivity after the film is over because I'm sure they all will work on their own relationship.

Why did you go for Eros International as the worldwide distributors of U, Me Aur Hum?
I share a great rapport with Kishore Lulla and I'm comfortable working with him. He is one the very few people we have in our industry who understands our cinema very well. He also gives due credit to the film and has no sort of interference.

What are you going through right now as we speak?
I'm feeling excited to be giving this interview and many more which I have given and will give (laughs). I'm positive and happy by comments given by you and many others who have seen the film. Nobody will turn around and say that U, Me Aur Hum is a bad film. Either it's an average film, a good film or a very good film. I have that much confidence.

Nobody will turn around and say that U, Me Aur Hum is a bad film. Either it's an average film, a good film or a very good film
Do you really feel that sometimes the greatest journey is the distance between two people? That's your tag line for the film.
You're right. I do feel very strong about this particular quote. I don't know who has written it but I thought of incorporating it in my film. Even Kajol's character in the film says, "Kahin padha tha...kissi ne toh likha hoga". But not only this quote, the film also has bold dialogues which stand true every time you think of your relationship with your wife, husband and friends.

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