It’s fair to say that Ajay Devgan’s best work has been under the baton of director Rajkumar Santoshi. They have done Lajja, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Khakee together. In a few weeks from now Ajay will again be seen onscreen with Santoshi’s latest Halla Bol, which is being described as a Rang De Basanti kind of a wakeup-call movie. The actor is also giving finishing touches to his directorial debut, which stars Kajol as the leading lady. CNN-IBN Entertainment Editor Rajeev Masand talks movies with Ajay. Rajeev Masand: Your new film Halla Bol is your fourth film with Rajkumar Santoshi. How does he manage to bring the best in you every time? Ajay Devgan: He is a fantastic director and writer himself. If you say that my performances in his films are better then it’s because he is an actor himself. When he is narrating a scene he is actually performing it. And what’s scary then is whether I will be able to do it as well as he is doing it. He does it so honestly that he doesn’t even realise that he is performing. So, that makes all the difference. Rajeev Masand: Does he direct you better or does he give you better roles? Ajay Devgan: I guess it’s both. Roles are fantastic. I have a great role in Halla Bol. I think we share a rapport now wherein we understand each other really well. So that makes a difference. Maybe it’s because when you know an actor the writing is done accordingly. Rajeev Masand: You have also just turned director with the film You, Me and Hum. Was it the right time or the right film to turn director with? Ajay Devgan: Whenever you want to do something from your heart it is always the right time. That’s what I believe in. I also don’t plan too many things. If I feel like doing something then I go ahead and do it and don’t think about the consequences. Regarding the script, yes, I had an idea and I worked on it. Since the thought was mine so I decided I should make it myself. So I went ahead and did it. The idea is not to prove a point that I am trying to make a classic. I have made a commercial, simple film from the heart, which is not trying to approve anything. I have tried to say something but one has to read between the lines for it. Yet it is all in a completely commercial format. PAGE_BREAK Rajeev Masand: You are also the lead in the film. Was it difficult to direct yourself? Ajay Devgan: No, I don’t think so. If one is clear about what one wants then it’s not difficult. Rajeev Masand: You have seen Kajol through an actor’s eyes because you have done so many films with her. You have also heard people say that she is an amazing actor. But now through a director’s eyes have you been able to find out what is it about her that makes her such a wonderful actor? Ajay Devgan: I don’t know. She is a fantastic actress but I can’t figure out where she gets it from. Rajeev Masand: 2006 was a good year for you. There was Golmaal and Omkara – both very different kinds of films. However, 2007 was not so great. There was RGV Ki Aag and Cash. Do you know when a film is going wrong? Ajay Devgan: Cash I did know because the moment the film started everything began to go wrong. I think the intentions of the film were not right. It was all about trying to make a set up and make money out of it. Then things started going wrong between the producers and the director. In fact, even I disowned the film three months before it was released. So, Cash was a mistake which was not intentional. Where Aag is concerned the intentions were honest. If things went wrong with the film then, not just the director, but all of us are to be blamed. Rajeev Masand: Ram Gopal Varma was almost embarrassed by the response toAag. Were you embarrassed as an actor? Ajay Devgan: No, I wasn’t. I was hesitant about doing Aag before I knew what Ramu was making. When he called me up to narrate the story I thought I would tell him ‘why would anyone want to make Sholay?’ But when he narrated me how he would make it and what his intentions were I couldn’t tell him anything because I thought he was on the right track. The movie was not a show off, it was a tribute to his favourite film. I think things went wrong but we don’t know where we faltered. I would call it a different kind of a mistake where we need to know what one needs to do while making a film. Rajeev Masand: Thank you for talking to us. Best of luck and looking forward to seeing your next release.