In this special three part feature, Joginder Tuteja would be taking readers through the 20 years journey of Ajay Devgn which actually has been a pretty stable affair instead of being a roller coaster ride.
Concluding Part III of this feature takes readers through Ajay’s 20 years journey where he has reinvented himself time and again. Also he has balanced hardcore commercially cinema quite well with meaningful two important facts, something that has kept masses, classes as well as critics happy.
A new professional outing
As mentioned earlier, there was a journey that began for Ajay Devgn in the year 2003. This was for the first time that he was collaborating with hot-blood Rohit Shetty. A youngster who came with a fresh approach as far as churning out tried, tested and established ideas was concerned, Rohit marked the revival of filmmakers who came with no pretence as far as providing commercial masala entertainment was concerned. An old associate and friend of Ajay Devgn, he gave a new dimension to the actor’s career. Though many may argue that Ajay made Rohit a director that he currently is, in the filmmaker’s defence it can also be stated that eventually Ajay too got some of his biggest money spinners after roping him in.
No wonder, statistics speak for themselves. After Zameen (2003), an action thriller which marked the debut of Rohit as a director, Ajay was seen in his Golmaal (2006), Sunday (2008), Golmaal Returns (2008) and All The Best (2009). Each of them worked at the box office, though in different ranges but the truth is that the actor-director have formed a camp of sorts while enjoying a 100% success rate. Add to that the fact that Golmaal and All The Best have become a brand by themselves with the shooting of Golmaal 3 being already on and it is difficult to ignore the presence of Rohit in Ajay’s professional life.
The balancing factor
While Ajay’s eye on commercial gains for his films is pretty much known, what he also knows is that he is the only actor amongst the other established actors during last 20 years who has not just worked in parallel cinema but also gained a plethora of awards at the highest level for himself. This reminds one of Mithun Chakraborty who in the times of dance films and pot boiler cinema never forgot his roots that belonged to art cinema.
No wonder, Ajay is still the chosen one for Prakash Jha for whom the actor is the first choice when he thinks of making a hard hitting dramatic affair like Gangaajal, Apaharan or Raajneeti. Ajay was also trusted by none less than Mahesh Bhatt when he made an autobiographical swan song Zakhm. Govind Nihalani too must have been elated when Ajay consented to playing a lead in an offbeat Thakshak while for Rituparno Ghosh, it was a calling card in Hindi cinema when he cast Ajay for Raincoat.
Not that Ajay was looking at acting only in hardcore art films. He kept trying out different cinema which combined commerce with art and though he may not have been overtly successful every time, there was always a The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Yuva or an Omkara that showcased his prowess as an actor par excellence.
Meanwhile, Ajay knew that reinvention was the name of the game. This is pretty much evident in the section above (20 years. A hit every year. And still counting) where it is obvious that Ajay has changed the game plan as years have passed by. Starting off as an action hero, his biggest hits from six straight years (1991 to 1996) were all action flicks – Phool Aur Kaante, Jigar, Divyashakti, Dilwale, Haqeeqat and Jaan. In the middle years, he took a romantic comedy route with Ishq and Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha. It was action time again from 1999 to 2005 but this time around there was a huge ingredient of drama added to each of his films. Whether it was Kachche Dhaage, Company, Qayamat, Khakee or Apaharan, they were all dramatic affairs nonetheless.
However, a total turnaround in his films has come around since 2006 with last five years seeing him playing a comic role to perfection. Golmaal, Golmaal Returns, All The Best and Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge being his biggest hits year after year has been an evidence of that.
This trend is not expected to last forever though since majority of Ajay’s films in coming months are hardly a comic affair. Raajneeti, Akrosh and Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai are hardcore dramatic affairs and each of them is carrying wonderful vibes. Toonpur Ka Superhero is a live-animation flick made for kids. And then there is always a Golmaal 3 which would ensure that those expecting more laughs from Ajay before the end of 2010 are not left disappointed.
|There are number of firsts that Ajay has been through in his career. These are:|
|First ever hardcore comedy – Ishq (1997)|
|First ever hardcore romantic tale – Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998)|
|First ever serious non-commercial role – Zakhm (1998)|
|First ever underplayed character – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)|
|First ever film that would have catered to today’s multiplex audience – Thakshak (1999)|
|First ever film under the direction of his father (Veeru Devgn) – Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999)|
|First ever year without a hit – 2000 (This was the year when he turned producer with Raju Chacha)|
|First ever Bhojpuri film that starred an established mainstream Hindi film actor – Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (2006)|