The event was ‘Meet The Devgans’ as in Mr. and Mrs. Devgan, yes, Ajay and Kajol- the famous and much-loved actor and actress reel-to-real life couple of the Hindi film industry. As they toured USA to promote their home production, Shivaay, the power couple of the industry made a quick and first time stop at Dallas on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016. Shivaay, scheduled to be a Diwali release stars Ajay Devgan in lead role, and is directed and produced by the super talented hero himself. The event offered an excellent meet-and-greet over luncheon opportunity for the attendees apart from the press conference with Ajay and Kajol. Event was hosted in the beautiful penthouse on the 28th floor of the W Hotel Residences.
Members of the media from Dallas and nearby areas were invited. Also in attendance was the Indian NBA recruit Satnam Singh who made an appearance during the later part of the event. The organizers, Jingo Media team, the host- Dr. Bharat Sangani and his wife, Anita Sangani, some close friends, a few board-members from local branches of organizations like Akshaya Patra, and the life-time members of DFWSAFF (DFW South Asian Film Festival) were among the audience.
The Devgans arrived rather late due to technical problems with the charter plane. But the couple were worth the wait. They walked in after the Shivaay trailer and the two newly released songs (“DARKHAAST” in the voice of Arijit Singh & Sunidhi Chauhan, and “BOLO HAR HAR HAR”, the title Song) were played for the media and guests.
What did they talk about as they fielded various questions from the media-
- Shivaay, their 2nd home production (first one was U Me Aur Hum from 2008), was not a deliberate attempt at giving an international look, the script/ story led it to be what it is.
- The hardest part about the production for the entire crew was filming in negative temperatures, braving the extreme cold high up in the Bulgarian mountains.
- About directing himself, Ajay said it was about discipline. Kajol added that it requires a certain temperament that Ajay possesses.
- Explaining his character, Ajay said that even though the film is not a religious movie, the film is inspired by the characteristics of Lord Shiva and his character portrays many negative aspects of Shiva (the Hindu God of destruction).
- On their relationship, Kajol said that with Ajay’s busy schedules, she does the balancing act.
- Kajol pointedly said she has no intention of becoming a director.
AJAY & KAJOL, The Couple …
Ajay Devgan has been around in the Hindi film industry for over 3 decades. He has given us many all-time favorites, in which the roles that he has played appear to be tailor made for him- be it Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), or Company (2002), or the Singham series (2011, 2014), or Bol Bachchan (2012), or Drishyam (2015) – in which by the way he showed how cool Marathi is, in an industry where mostly Punjabi culture is glorified. Apart from talent, he has evolved with industry demand- like building muscular and toned torso:).
And that goes for both of them, both Ajay and Kajol- whether they have been in their twenties, thirties or forties- they have shone (47 and 42 now). In fact, Kajol, I would say has been the only actress in the industry today who plays her age in lead roles. And carries it to perfection. From Bekhudi (1992) to Dilwale (2015).
Yes, you instantly note how grounded Ajay Devgan is. He has no airs of a star or a film director/ producer. He speaks humbly and quietly. And just as noticeable is the fact that Kajol springs to his support/ defense at every opportunity, in a very adorable kind of way. And he lets her- that’s how secured he is with who he is, with where she is coming from, and with what they are together. Much is talked about Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s on-screen chemistry in reel-life. Off screen, in real-life, you simply can’t miss this couple’s- the Ajay-Kajol chemistry.
A CONTROVERSIAL QUESTION? YOU DECIDE …
My 18 year old daughter, Raashi, who runs “For A Cause. Together. ” segment on desideewar, who was there to help me cover the event, had a question to ask the Devgan that she never got to ask. She has enjoyed watching many Hindi movies, and feels that most actors and actresses are multi-talented, most can act, and dance. But seeing a 40+ actor paired against a 20+ actress in lead roles in many popular films never ceases to surprise her. Especially since clearly there are talented actresses in similar age groups that can fit the bill beautifully- in terms of role, looks, price. So the question she wanted to pose to the Devgans was this- ‘do you think the industry is simply catering to what the Indian audience want? Do you see this trend changing in near future, and as owners of production house yourself, do you see yourself contributing to changing the trend?’ Like I said, she never got to ask her question, but we later laughed about it. “Seeing Kajol, she would have quickly sprung to her husband’s defense had you asked them that question”, I told Raashi :). (I would like to clarify here that the question did not relate to Shivaay because despite similar pairing in the film, would not like to make judgement without seeing the full movie).
Trailer Review …
First thing that strikes you about the movie is its very international presentation.
Over his career span, Ajay has played all kinds of role- from a simpleton husband to one who strays, from comedy to action. Now Shivay seems to be that perfect next step where a Hindi movie seems to scale large heights to be at par with a Hollywood production. The sets, locations and stunts are all awe-inspiring. The cast, largely international also, intrigue you. Yes, this one seems to be a must-watch-at-the-theater flick.