By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 16, 2019
He captured the imagination of the nation at a time when Sriperumbudur happened.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991, plunging the nation to gloom. Amidst that gloom, on television during the following weeks, we saw a young lad, being promoted for his first film Phool Aur Kaante. What caught the imagination was his stunt—riding astride two motorcycles and his raw confidence.
Stunt master and action choreographer Veeru Degvan had planned a grand entry for his son, Ajay Devgan!
Mind you, this was at a time when the skies were not opened: there was no satellite television. The impact was huge which left an indelible mark, one that is spoken of even today (28 years later).
Ajay was not your typical chocolate hero. He was this dark, intense and handsome lad, with his hair always falling over his left eye. That his hair is styled backwards these days with no receding marks is another story!
With his intense gaze and his own fight style, Ajay created a niche for himself in Bollywood at a time when star sons were streaming in. That he has stood the test of time and has created his own BO Barometer for a Friday is a story of his hard-work, dedication and keen sense of observing and picking on a right team and the right role.
Acting is not only about yourself but also of being a team player with a loyal back-end staff. Ajay has been one who trusts people and does not easily switch sides with those close to him. For years, he had Rajendra Rao by his side guiding him with his PR. The two were close. When Rao passed away in 2006, Ajay looked around before finally settling for Parag Desai, another hard-working bloke who has risen his way from a job in a PR firm to now be counted as one among equal in Bollywood.
Ajay has consistently kept himself relevant in the industry with his choice of films and steering clear away from controversies. With Rohit Shetty, he has created the Singham Brand, one that connects with his audience.
Producers back an Ajay Devgn release because of the immediate returns on the table. Apart from acting, Ajay even invests in films. His fan following may not be that of the Khans—Salman and SRK, [Aamir has moved into his own ‘creative territory’]—but they are loyal, who throng to his every release.
De De Pyaar De releases tomorrow and the promos have Ajay riding atop two cars, which is what prompted this piece. The impact of the image is not as much as that of Phool Aur Kaante, but it brings to mind the signature style of Veeru Devgan who planned a grand entry for his son, a son who stayed loyal, working hard and surpassing his father’s dream. That his co-stars keep referring to his PAK stunt is another matter altogether.
Recently, Riteish Deshmukh had tweeted a short video alluding to his bike stunt, with a hilarious response from Ajay.
Ajay has stood the test of time in Bollywood, bracketed up there with the A list. Unlike most Bollywood stars, he has maintained his sense of work style. Dancing at weddings as a means for earning is a strict “No” for him. Neither is attending any Awards function.
He is quoted to have said: “I don’t believe in them (award functions) because I know for a fact how it works. That’s the main reason I don’t go for them. There are how many awards? There are countless awards and their criterion is not ‘giving’ awards. Their criteria is to have a show, which is sold on a television as software. To have that software and to get more money out of it…it is like film-making. You need as many actors as possible. So either you create so many awards or what you do is find out who is coming. Then they will tell you, ‘if you come, then we will give you this award or we can give you that award’.”
Ajay does not come across like the actor who is in a zone to please all and sundry. He has a mind of his own and he knows what he owns!
He has moved up the ladder and is an important cog in the wheel of Bollywood. He has combined well his sense of style and business acumen to be where he is today. On April 02, he celebrated his 50th birthday. And even with the knocked off ‘A’ in his surname, his impact remains the same.
Opening Doorz wishes Ajay Devgn all the very best as he takes a fresh guard atop two cars, 28 Mays later!
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