Exclusive: Ajay Devgn on Total Dhamaal: It's very difficult to make people laugh

Updated: Feb 22, 2019, 16:21 IST | Gayatri Nirmal | Mumbai

After creating a storm with Dhamaal (2007), the team is back with Total Dhamaal in addition to Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, and Madhuri Dixit. Ajay in an exclusive interview with mid-day.com shares interesting tidbits of this film

Ahead of Total Dhamaal's release, mid-day.com had an exclusive conversation with Ajay Devgn. The actor, who is known for his comic-timing, multi-starrer films and choice of roles, speaks about the expectations from this instalment, about making comedy films and his next directorial venture. Total Dhamaal also features Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Arshad Warsi, Johnny Lever, Jaaved Jaaferi, Sanjay Mishra and is slated to hit the marquee on February 22, 2019.

Excerpts from the interview:

How much do you enjoy doing comedy?
I love humour and in today's times, I don't even know one person, who doesn't like humour. Lives are so stressed, everybody wants a little laugh to break the monotonous stressful life. Just go for two hours, enjoy, laugh and come back. Like everyone, even I love funny films and because you like it, you want to do it also.

What kind of situations or gags will we get to see in Total Dhamaal?
In Dhamaal, apart from the characters being stupid and funny, it's been written in such a manner... The story is very simple, the screenplay, dialogues, and the punches and the way they (makers) have designed it, that is very funny. I really believe that if it's not written well, you can't make people laugh just by making sounds and faces. You say something, I have to counter it with a funny line, not by just making a face. So, writers are very important to me in a humorous film. It's very difficult to make people laugh.

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Saare #TotalDhamaal Ke Characters Ho Sakte Hain Aapke WhatsApp Stickers!

A post shared by Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) onFeb 20, 2019 at 4:50am PST

How challenging or easy is it for you to maintain your comic timing?
It's not very easy to have comic timing. It's very important to know who you are working with. You have to gel with the other person very well. To understand humour, you also have to understand where to stop. If the interaction is not correct, it's not going to work. So, it is tough to have a comedy timing but then if you have actors who know their timings right, I think it works very well.

In that case, you gel very well because you've done many multi-starrer films.
Yeah, I do have a rapport with most of the actors and therefore there's no insecurity. What is more important when you do a film - You like the script and there are more characters in the film. So, you decide there and then whether you want to do or you don't want to do it. When you go ahead and do it, the most important thing is the film. If I think that only I should be good in the film and nobody else, the film is not going to work. Nobody is going to see it, what's the point then? If every department is good, everyone's performance is good, then only the film will work.

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Kya aapke paas aisa helicopter hai? #TotalDhamaal in cinemas near you on 22nd February.

A post shared by Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) onFeb 8, 2019 at 12:55am PST

Has it ever happened that when Ajay Devgn arrives on the set, everyone thinks that they should be more disciplined and focussed now?
No, that never happens. We all share a great rapport. So, I don't think that's the case at all. When you work with some people who you've not worked with and are juniors (started 4-5 years ago) to you... the first day is a little awkward for them but I try my best to make them comfortable. It just takes one or two hours for everyone to get comfortable.

Can you share your 'Dhamaal' experience from the sets?
We were laughing every second and also while doing the scenes. So many times we couldn't complete the shot because we were doing the shot and Madhuri Dixit would keep laughing. We used to sit together between shots, crack jokes at each other, laugh at everybody. So, it was a lot of fun.

Out of everyone, who's the ones who takes all kinds of jokes sportingly?
All of us. Anil (Kapoor) ji is so senior to me but every time I crack a joke on him, he laughs and is very comfortable with it. When you know the other person is saying not with the wrong intention and is just humour, we all take it.

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Dekho #PaisaYehPaisa from #TotalDhamaal. Out Now, Link In Bio.

A post shared by Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) onJan 29, 2019 at 12:30am PST

What inspires you when you look at other actors around you. For instance, when you look at Anil Kapoor, what about him inspires you?
For how many years he has been working. He is still more enthusiastic and hard-working than I am. In every which way, he is into what he's doing. He's ready to work for hours and that's what we adore of him. Even today, he behaves like a newcomer. That's fabulous because you don't see that in a lot of people.

About Madhuri Dixit?
She's a fabulous actress. You could just watch her, the camera goes on and she just lights up and is a different person altogether. That's something I don't know how it comes.

About Riteish Deshmukh?
He is very funny. He is a very good actor but his sense of humour is fabulous.

About Arshad Warsi?
His comic timing and one-liners are outstanding.

About Jaaved Jaaferi?
Jaaved does everything very well. You ask him to mimic somebody, you ask him to become whatever character you want and he becomes.

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Join Our Wild Adventure! Total Dhamaal Trailer Out Tomorrow.

A post shared by Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) onJan 19, 2019 at 10:10pm PST

Would you want to stay behind the cameras and just direct a comedy film?
If I get a good script, I will direct and that can be any genre.

You have always been appreciated for your action roles and other kinds of roles. What kind of responses have you received for comedy films?
A lot of people talk about my comedy timing. They also tell me, 'We love the way you do humorous films. You do comedy also very seriously, which is very lovely.' So, this is what they keep saying.

What do you think is your biggest strength as an actor?
I think the attitude, 'I want to do' is the biggest strength. Otherwise, I don't know if I am good or bad but because I want to do it, I can reach somewhere.

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Say Hi to Hollywood's head turner Crystal, debuting soon in Bollywood in #TotalDhamaal. Trailer out soon!

A post shared by Ajay Devgn (@ajaydevgn) onJan 13, 2019 at 10:33pm PST

What motivates you to choose films?
The script, the character and after that comes who is directing it and who's producing it and will they be able to justify it.

To what extent would you go to get into the skin of a character or any kind of homework for a character?
I am a very lazy person and I do not do much homework.

As an actor is there anything that you did and regret now?
No. I do not think I regret anything whereas I have done a lot of stupid things but I don't regret them.

Also Read: Know your Total Dhamaal characters, from Adi-Manav to Bindu-Avinash and Radhe

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