Planet Bollywood
Ajay Devgn - an underrated actor and star
- Pankaj Kumar Sinha           Let us know what you think about this feature article

It is strange that even with two national awards to his credit for his performance in 'Zakhm' and 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh', Ajay Devgn is still called an underrated actor. For me, he is a versatile actor who can do any kind of roles in any genre of films. His movies have had consistent box office openings over last twenty five years. But, somewhere he has not got his dues as an actor or star compared to Khan troika of Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, who started their careers around the same time. We agree that he is less media savvy compared to other stars and had been least controversial stars of his period. The media does not find him interesting. One cannot dispute the fact that he is one of the best actors in Bollywood.

Ajay Devgn is the son of action director Veeru Devgan and debuted successfully with the movie 'Phool Aur Kaante'. When he started his career as an actor, he was well versed with martial arts and which he has used in his career as an advantage and became well known action star alongside Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty in Bollywood. These three changed the action scene in major way in Indian cinema. The quality of action improved in movies in India. He tasted success with films like 'Jigar', 'Dilwale', 'Naajayaz', 'Vijaypath' and 'Major Saab'. The media labelled him as action star and inferred that he has limitations as an actor. His films also failed to become big successes at the box office compared to his contemporaries. During this period, he did a film 'Zakhm' directed by Mahesh Bhatt. His emotional performance in the film was well appreciated by critics and the audience. It got him his first national award for best actor.

In Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', he stole the show from Salman Khan in this love triangle. In the film, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai had sparkling chemistry but it was Ajay Devgn's role as the sacrificing husband in the film was well liked by the critics and also stole the hearts of the audience. Another film 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh' brought lot of appreciation for him as an actor. He gave more than his hundred percent to this film as an actor and went into skin of the character. At the end of the film, it was Bhagat Singh not Ajay Devgan for me. He won his second national award for best actor for this film. As an actor, we saw him experiment with different kind of roles during that period.

In 'Ishq' and 'Pyar Tho Hona Hi Tha', one saw him with his wife Kajol saw him in a romantic avatar. Both the films were successful at the box office. He was experimenting with all genres of films. We saw him doing negative roles successfully in 'Khakee' and 'Deewangee'. He did a Ram Gopal Varma horror film 'Bhoot', which can be easily rated as one of the best horror films in Indian cinema. He is one actor, who plays the role of underworld don very well. 'Company' and 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbai' are examples of those roles. The audience felt that he was too serious to do comedy. We saw him doing well in comedy with Rohit Shetty 'Golmaal Series', 'Athithi Tum Kab Jaoge', 'Son of Sardaar' and 'Bol Bachan'.

His recent films 'Singham' and 'Drishyam' again proved how good an actor he is. Both are two distinct diametrically different roles but we see two different Ajay Devgn poles apart. Both the films hit the bull's eye at box office. Over the years, we saw him doing different kind of roles and trying different genres of films and his films doing well consistently at the box office. The media has not been fair to his success and not supported him well. He has produced one of best expensive children fantasy films 'Raju Chacha'. The film was a failure at box office but effort needs to be appreciated for taking such a risk as a producer. I ask for apology from the media to call him underrated actor or star. He is gem of an actor and one of the biggest stars with a huge fan base.

Ajay Devgan is one of few actors to get into direction. His first film 'U Me Aur Hum' was appreciated by critics but box office denied him success. It was good romantic film with 'Alzheimer Disease' as a backdrop. He is coming up with his second ambitious film 'Shivaay'. He likes making his films in grand style and doesn't compromise on the cost. The trailer shows action of Hollywood standards and cinematography looks great. He has given lot of effort to the film. Ajay Devgan has one more good quality that he is fighting monopoly of bollywood bigwigs single handily. He takes risks releasing his films with other big films during festivals and fighting the exhibitors for maximum screens for his film. He is challenging the system and for me he is a real hero.


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