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High on GangaaJal, aglow with Parwana

"GangaaJal" starring Ajay Devgan is making a splash around town. ANUJ KUMAR speaks to the hero with a talent for keeping his head above the water.


HIS DEBUT vehicle was pitted against the might of Anil Kapoor in "Lamhe" and Amitabh Bachchan in "Akelya", and we all know that it was "Phool Aur Kaante", which blossomed at the box office, deflating the megaliths. It was more than a decade back, but Ajay Devgan hasn't lost his appetite for springing surprises. If he crashes to troughs with a "Dhanwaan" or a "Divyashakti", it is only to touch the crest with a "Zakhm". If he is dumped for an over-the-top performance in "Ishq", he resurfaces with a straight from the heart rendition in "Pyar To Hona Hi Tha".

Now with hits for "Company" and intrepid since "Bhoot", Ajay is enjoying a success wave unheard of in the unstable celluloid waters. And speaking of waters, Ajay has turned the holy water - "GangaaJal" - into his latest tool to banish the failure tag from Prakash Jha in the process. One doesn't know whether every accomplishment ushers in arrogance, but it does bring reticence if Ajay is any yardstick. So one finds a hushed Bhagat Singh basking in the glory of his second Rajat Kamal.

"All the achievements give a great feeling of satisfaction that your hard work has been appreciated," says Ajay. But doesn't he feel he gave a better performance as Malik in "Company"? He nods in affirmation, smiles and answers in the negative. "See, Bhagat Singh had many shades while Malik had only one. That was the reason, perhaps."

Turn the discussion to his choice of roles, his conscious effort to portray characters where he has ample scope to underplay and his avoidance of comedy, and Ajay for a moment becomes animated. "I am open to all kinds of roles. If it is sensible comedy, I am game - and mind you, I didn't underplay in `Deewangee' and `The Legend Of Bhagat Singh'."

He is right, but "The Legend Of Bhagat Singh" was not a commercial success, while "Deewangee" and his forgotten light act "Chori Chori" were among his lowest scores during the past ten months.

Right now "GangaaJal" is hot, and Ajay passes the credit to Prakash. "The SP's character was Prakash's creation and it allowed me the freedom of not speaking with the Bihari accent. No special preparation was required. We share a great rapport, and it helps in creating a good product, because I was not playing the usual police officer with a vengeance. He explained the nuances of the character, like he is not going to break the law even when he is stretched to the limit. As I also feel the same, the performance becomes natural."

Even in the midst of this euphoria, Ajay is not ready to don the producer's hat again after duds like "Hindustan Ki Kasam" and "Raju Chacha".

"Right now there are no plans. We are happy with the TRP ratings of "Devi" and will continue with more television productions."

With Aparna Sen's "Gulel" under his belt, Ajay is confident that his boom-time is no short-lived "Parwana" and will continue with "Zameen", "Khaki" and "LOC". Well, then for Ajay, winning is a habit, literally.

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