Ajay Rao is the self confessed Royal Star of Sandalwood. How he treats his producers is nothing less than a royal snub. The latest victim of his royal treatment is producer Praveen, who not so long ago helped the actor out of generosity. Ajay was offered 'Manasina Maatu' by producer Praveen right after Taj Mahal. He was even paid an advance for a remuneration fixed at Rs 14 lakh. This was almost five times what Ajay got for Taj Mahal. Just when Praveen was ready to start the shooting, he learnt that Ajay had signed up two more films; Prem Kahani and Jaaji Mallige. The matter reached the Producers' Association where Rockline managed to
convince Ajay to act in Praveen's film first.
Ajay had other plans. Two days later he attended the press meet announcing Jaaji Mallige first. When Praveen reached there Ajay was all butter and pleaded with the producer. He offered to cut his remuneration by half so that Praveen would let him do the two films first. With no other option the producer agreed.
Jaaji Mallige and Prem Kahani did not do well at the box office. But Praveen did not back off and paid Rs 4 lakh installment and started shooting. By the time the shooting was complete Praveen was out of money and requested Ajay to complete dubbing and receive the remaining remuneration later. Ajay blankly refused. The matter again went to the Producers' Association where Ajay agreed to take Rs one lakh and complete dubbing in front of the association's secretaries including Joe Simon.
Ajay refused to accept the money once he was out of the Association. He went back on his word so easily that Praveen wondered why the actor would not show these acting abilities in front of the camera. Ajay complained to the Karnataka Cine Artistes' Association. The matter finally came back to the producers where Ajay was severely chastised. He took the payment and completed dubbing for the film.
This is not the first time that Ajay has shown his true colors. When he was cast in Excuse Me by Prem, he was nobody. The film became a big hit and Ajay signed films left, right and centre as if the success depended on him. He vanished from Sandalwood in a short time. Then it was R Chandru who gave him a new lease of life by casting him in Taj Mahal. He was also paid Rs 3 lakh for the film which was almost a life saving gesture.
Ajay however did not even turn up for the press meet when the film was released. He showed his face only after the fourth week when the film was declared a hit. He called a press meet on his own and declared himself the 'Royal Star.'
When Prem Kahani was released he was all praise for the director and said the film would be a landmark whatever its fate at the box office. After the film was released and tanked at the box office, he went on to claim that he had not liked the story in the first place but the director was not listening to him. It is to be seen what royal postures Ajay takes in his future films, if at all producers continue to cast him.