The Last Action Hero

As it turns out, apart from being the World ‘We did it for Sachin Tendulkar’ day, 2nd April is also Ajay Devgan’s birthday.

There was a time in the early nineties during my formative years(though the quantity of formation that happened in those formative years is debatable) when I was a die-hard Ajay Devgan fan. I mean, after mom convinced me that I cannot possibly be Sunny Deol ever, even if they feed me Complan intravenously. Those were tough times and I needed a new  hero, a new idol. And Ajay Devgan dirtbiked into my life.



(Classy since 1990)


For a scrawny teenager with a before-fairness-challenges complexion and side-parted hair, Ajay Devgan was the perfect idol. When Jigar released, I was regularly practicing fake jujitsu in the shower, throwing boiled eggs in the air and karatechopping them and fighting neighbourhood kids with blindfolded eyes. All this without a promise of a Karishma Kapoor. Not only did this boost my self-confidence, it also helped me lose all those milk teeth.


(Last Action Hero)

But my devotion for Ajay Devgan steadly increased. He was after all a rage. His wikipedia page will tell you how he won the Filmfare Male Debut award for Phool aur Kante. I can tell you that two of my friends lost their groins while trying to emulate his bike stunts. He was the alpha and the omega at that time. All the angry young men in the industry were getting old and Ajay and others were quickly replacing them, taking action to another level. In those times, one of the most challenging roles in the industry was that of Ajay Devgan’s sister, what with all the Mohinish Behls of the industry running after them. And while he suffered huge losses on his family side(taking adequate revenge during climax), he continued to romance the best of the industry. Raveena Tandon, Sonali Bendre, Karishma Kapoor, Madhuri, Madhu, Sonali Bendre, Twinkle Khanna, Manisha Koirala, Sonali Bendre, Aishwarya Rai. You name them and Ajay Devgan had them behind a few trees and flowers.

Of course then he went on and did one brave thing after another. Like marrying Kajol. Imagine that shrieking voice early in the morning. I have trouble believing that Veeru Devgan is still alive and has not died by death-by-repeated-calls-of-Bauji. Or when he decided to make Raju Chacha. Ajay Devgan was a pioneer in the true sense of the word. There was a certain subtlety to his ways, the way he did his romance or the way he did his action. Or the way he danced.

Ajay also did the Antakshari playing world the greatest service ever by giving them the Tha Tha Tha song. He brought pride to the name ‘Raju’, which until then was reserved for Chaiwallahs and raddiwallahs. He is one of the few Bollywood actors who can act both with and without a mustache. We all know what happened when Anil Kapoor tried acting without a mustache. Kumar Sanu almost owes his entire career to Ajay Devgan.

Ajay Devgan was one of the best things to have happened to Bollywood in the 90s. Till he developed an aversion to vowels and started acting in movies like Rascal.

But here is wishing a very happy birthday to Ajay Devgan of the 90s. The way I’d like to remember him.