It was way back in January when I predicted in a post that the film Raid, starring Ajay Devgn, can get into the Rs. 100-crore-club. This was when the trailer was not even out and there was no significant buzz or even awareness about such a film. But once the trailer of the flick was out in the first week of February, almost everyone unanimously loved it and realized that the flick does have potential. Still, doubts were raised since the songs didn’t have the desired impact and it was releasing during the peak exam season. But thankfully, the film had a great opening at Rs. 10.04 crore. After collecting Rs. 63.05 crore, it has already collected Rs. 94.19 crore in 16 days.
So it seems like my Rs. 100-crore-prediction is all set to come true. And that’s a feat since Raid, is not a usual entertainer. In today’s times, films have crossed the Rs. 300-crore and even Rs. 500-crore-mark but still, every year there are only a handful of flicks that manage to collect as much as Raid. And the great news is that finally, Ajay Devgn’s presence is working big time in getting people to cinemas. Earlier, such kind of reception was reserved only for Khans and then for Akshay Kumar, Varun Dhawan etc. Despite being such a versatile actor and despite being given so many blockbusters and even doing films like Zakhm at a time when mainstream actor won’t even touch such niche subjects with a barge pole, Ajay Devgn didn’t have this kind of luck. His presence was not enough; the films had to also have that extra spark and only then will it generate excitement among the aam junta. As a result, a film like Singham Returns would open at Rs. 32.09 crore while his next film Drishyam would have an opening of only Rs. 5.80 crore.
But fortunately, things are changing slowly and gradually. It actually began way back in 2010, when Ajay Devgn played the highly memorable character of Sultan Mirza in the much-loved Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. Essaying a character that has a heart of gold never goes wrong and Ajay greatly benefited from it. The same year, he delivered his career’s first Rs. 100-crore-grosser in the form of Golmaal 3. 2011 was a game changer of sorts as it was the year when he delivered Singham, arguably his most loved film till date. In fact, the actor began to be seen in a new light post this flick. The sequel, Singham Returns, shook the trade and industry as nobody thought in their wildest dreams that an Ajay Devgn starrer can have a Rs. 30 crore plus opening. In 2015, he came up with Drishyam, which was also in the intense thriller zone sans action, like Raid. As a result, the excitement was very less, resulting in the poor opening. But the word of mouth was tremendous and the film became a huge craze, further cementing his credibility.
Of course, one can’t deny that in between, he did deliver duds like Rascals, Tezz, Himmatwala, Satyagraha etc. But then, Ajay Devgn has never been the one who’ll shout from the rooftops while promoting his flick. He doesn’t like to be all over the place before his flick is about to release. And also, he was never considered that big a star and as a result, he could get away with a few debacles. On the other hand, superstars like Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan would be panned for delivering flops like Tubelight and Jab Harry Met Sejal respectively.
Talking of Ajay Devgn’s lineup, it seems like his winning spree will continue. This year, he most probably would be having two more releases. One is an untitled romcom co-starring Rakul Preet and Tabu. It’s produced and written by Luv Ranjan, who recently delivered a surprise blockbuster, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. If this romcom is also on the same lines, it’ll be something to watch out for. This will be followed by Total Dhamaal, also featuring Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Riteish Deshmukh and Jaaved Jaaferi. Just the star cast is highly enticing and moreover, this one promises to be a family entertainer. We all saw the potential of a fun-filled clean entertainer last year with Golmaal Again, which went past the Rs. 200-crore-mark. As a result, Total Dhamaal should also work big time. Next year, Ajay Devgn will play a heroic historical character in Taanaji – The Unsung Warrior. The storyline is very promising and it can surely work big time, if made well. The actor will continue playing the knight in shining armour in his next titled Capsule Gill. It’s a true story of an officer who rescued workers in a coal mine. Again, a winning idea! Finally, Ajay Devgn confirmed that Rohit Shetty and team are working on Singham 3 and needless to say, it’ll be a much awaited venture.
As a result, in the next two-three years, Ajay Devgn would be in a different league altogether, provided all these flicks work well. But once that happens, the road ahead will be a tough one. He would no more be able to afford a Himmatwala or a Rascals. He’ll have to be extra careful about his film choices. And only then will he be able to maintain his newfound status. Knowing Ajay, his illustrious journey and his ability to keep in touch with changing times, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
Bollywood Hungama wishes this dynamic star a very happy birthday. Thanks for ‘raiding’ into our lives and entertaining us thoroughly!