A man, a mountain, a mission

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As Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay gets set to hit the stand this Diwali, the actor-director-producer talks about his magnum opus that’s generating quite a buzz on the internet

It doesn’t have a beginning and it doesn’t have an end, it doesn’t belong to anybody. It is emptiness and it is everything that has Shivaay nesting in it… the Shivaay trailer hit the internet with that mysterious opening line, piquing the curiosity of every Hindi movie watcher.

In the film—apparently one of the most intense roles hero Ajay Devgan has played—is about a Himalayan mountaineer who becomes a force to be reckoned with when he needs to protect his family.

For most part of the film, Ajay gets to play a distraught, brooding character, one that he actor is known to carry off impeccably, having done that in almost every other film of his, but this time around, assure the film-makers the mood comes with meaning. “The mountaineer one a mission is just one of the layers to the film,” says Ajay. On another, there are hints about the film being about Lord Shiva, but intriguing trailer gives very little away, only that the movie shifts between a swanky town and a range of snow-clad mountains.

In terms of the plot, there have been theories that the movie is Ajay’s take on author Amish Tripathi’s best-selling trilogy Immortals of Meluha. However, Ajay has refuted the claims stating Shivaay is a tale set in modern times and is actually about the imperfections that make Lord Shiva.

Ajay though is doing his all to make sure the film piques interest, even supposedly breaking his “25-year long no kissing on screen rule”. A glimpse of the steamy kiss between Ajay and co-star Erica Kaar has already made its way to the internet.

While the trailer is doing a fabulous job of building momentum on the internet, the off the screen controversy about the release date is helping to do the job. From what we hear there is an impending box office clash between the Aishwarya-starrer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Shivaay (both films are slotted for a 28 October Diwali release).

“There are rumours that the only reason the ‘love’ scene was introduced was because ADHM has a ton of such scenes between Aishwarya and Ranbir Kapoor,” says a source.

Ajay says he is just not thinking about the “clash”. “I don’t waste my time thinking about anybody else’s film. I want to concentrate on my film because, eventually, it’s the product that speaks. Why break my concentration? I’m only concerned about what I’m making,” he adds.

“There are only a few festivals and so many films. People are not getting dates to release their films, so you need some more holidays. Of course, it’s better that films don’t clash, but there is no choice,” says Ajay, and adds that when he announced Shivaay, nobody had announced their film. Ajay also claims to have spoken to Fox Star and showed concern over the two films releasing on the same day “but they didn’t want to listen”.

“Controversies aside, I am just happy with the encouraging response the trailer has received,” says Ajay, who is also the producer and director.

“We wanted to create intrigue. And this suspense will be there until the release. It’s not about the story, but about the screenplay. I want people to go and see the screenplay too. I am very lucky to also get the right kind of casting in Erika Kaar, Sayyeshaa and the little girl Abigail Eames,” says Ajay, who terms the film an action-emotion-drama.

“My action is real, not unnecessary flying or hitting. In the trailer, when you see the expression on my face, it’s of pain when I am hitting people,” says the 47-year-old actor. As for the villain, well, that’s part of the intrigue, apparently, with the filmmakers not releasing the name till the release. “Every trailer released will keep the people guessing as there are lots of twists and turns in the film.”

As for what’s next for Ajay—the first schedule of Badshaaho began in September without him, he says. “I cannot start anything till Shivaay releases as all my attention is now focused only on that,” he adds. Ajay now plans to start Badshaaho in November and finish it in a month-and-a-half. After that, he has Sooraj Pancholi’s film directed by Remo D’Souza. “I will have to squeeze it in between somewhere. The film has two different tracks and contrary to what people think, mine is not a special appearance; it’s more than 20 days of work,” he says.

Shivaay will have a worldwide release on 28 October.

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