Ajay Devgn. Pic/PTI
Last year, Ajay Devgn was among the handful of Bollywood stars who cracked the box office, delivering a smashing hit in Drishyam 2. Now, all eyes are on his next, Bholaa, with Tabu. Emotions may be at the core of the film, which tells the story of one night as an ex-convict helps the cops catch gangsters in exchange for meeting his daughter. But as actor-director Devgn gives his own interpretation to Lokesh Kanagaraj*s Tamil hit Kaithi (2019), action takes centre-stage.
Scenes from the recently released trailer establish this - in one instance, the leading man*s bike skids to a dramatic effect while speeding towards the baddies; in another, he swings from a moving truck to a bike. "The motorcycle sequences were the most challenging," admits Devgn, before adding, "It took months of storyboarding and designing the action sequences, before we got down to shooting them." Probed on how many days it took to shoot them, the actor-filmmaker says, "When your planning and prep is done to the last detail, it doesn*t take long to shoot. We wrapped up the [entire film] in 73 to 75 days."
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The actor*s association with motorcycle stunts goes back over 30 years, to his debut film, Phool Aur Kaante (1991), where he performed a split on two bikes. That set the tone for his career as an action hero, though he proved his versatility as an artist over the decades.
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As he returns to home turf with Bholaa, Devgn says it was necessary for action directors Ramazan Bulut and RP Yadav to think out of the box, especially in today*s times where social media users are quick to point out if an action set-piece is inspired by an international movie. "When you don*t have reference material, you push the envelope to design new stunts that go with the narrative," he states. Devgn says being tech-savvy aided him to work towards making Bholaa a visual experience in 3D and IMAX. "Every film gives [me] an opportunity to explore and experience something new. What you see in Bholaa is something we haven*t tried before, say in Tanhaji [The Unsung Warrior] or Runway 34."