MUMBAI: For all outward appearances, Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar are the best of friends. Akshay even parted with his precious film-title ‘Son Of Sardaar’ when Ajay asked for it. However there’s more to this act of seeming generosity than meets the eye.
It now emerges that Ajay and his ‘SOS’ director Ashwin Dhir were keen to make ‘Oh My God’, the sleeper hit film that slammed the merchandizing of religion and became one of the biggest hits of 2012.
Devgn and Dhir in fact approached its director Umesh Shukla for the rights, but were turned down.
Says a very reliable source, “Ajay Devgn saw the Gujarati play ‘Kanji Virudh Kanji’ and fell in love with it. He suggested to Ashwin that they approach the play’s director Umesh Shukla for the movie rights. However Umesh refused to part with the movie rights. Ajay and Ashwin then decided to buy the rights of the Australian film ‘The Man Who Sued God’ on which Shukla’s play was based. But that didn’t work out either. Eventually Ajay heard that Akshay Kumar was producing the film version of ‘Kanji Virudh Kanji’ and was even playing a role in it. That obviously didn’t go down well with Devgn’s team.”
The OMG director Umesh Shukla confirms that Ajay Devgn and Ashwin Dhir were indeed keen on buying the movie rights of his play. “There were many who wanted to do the film. But I was very sure that whenever my play was made into a film I’d direct it. For this I have to thank Pareshbhai (Rawal) and my business partner Hemal Thakkar . Both of them stood behind my decision to direct the film. And my producers Akshay Kumar and Grazing Goat never imposed their will on my creativity. I was able to make the film exactly the way I wanted to.”