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.


Ra.One – No pun

*May contain spoilers, poor opinions and poorer words. Discretion advised.*

I was dragged to Ra.One, first day first show on Thursday. It was a very pleasant day. Rainy Diwali morning in Chennai. And nothing, I repeat, Nothing could have ruined my mood. So I didn’t mind paying the autowallah 300 bucks to take us to AGS, Villivakkam. I didn’t mind standing in a line because they didn’t have enough 3D glasses.  I didn’t mind the 250 Rs. Ticket(with free popcorn and a can of Coke, mind you). And I didn’t mind sitting through a movie that has the best robots in the hindi film industry. (When you’ve seen Vivah thrice in a multiplex, your balls become platinum coated)

And because I was determined to have fun, I had a lot of fun. A lot.

I’ve never really been a fan of Superhero movies, especially Indian ones. When superheroes begin cycling in mid-air while pretending to fly, they sort of lose their credibility. My favorite Indian Superhero was the dog in ‘Teri Meherbaniyan’(closely followed by ‘Tuffy – The Renuka Shahane Slayer’).

I think by making Ra.One, Shah Rukh has violated the very first law of Robotics – “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” Ra.One can do serious injuries to your neurons if you take the movie too seriously(or your blood pressure if you rant about it on Twitter). And there is not truth in the claim that it is a movie for kids, what with all the condom-condom talk and Tere-Parents-Ki flying around. Not to mention the occasional crotch touching(going by current stereotypes, I’ll assume that those scenes were the contributions for which Karan Johar was thanked in the credits).

The problem with Ra.One is that it tries to build on the same stereotypes that every Superhero movie(and every second hindi movie) suffers from. The leading lady being attacked by an unlimited supply of goons. An irritating neighbor. Sexual innuendos. A fake South-Indian accent(also, who has curd with noodles?). Not only that, the movie asks you to take Niagara-falls-size leaps-of-faith from time to time. Like a game developer who drives a Beetle to work and walks his son home after a concert via a shady lane to be attacked by a midget goon. A son who calls his father a ‘coward’ and a ‘hero’ in the same half of the film(and keeps uttering ‘oh fish’ once in a while to emphasize his phoren upbringing).

But let’s not talk about Ra.One’s flaws. Every critic worth his namak has already done that. Let’s talk about how Ra.One could have been awesomer.

I think Ra.One could have been amazing if Nana Patekar was the villain in place of Mr-Mere-Paas-National-Award-Hai-Tumhare-Paas-Kya-Hai.

I mean, he is a Ram-pal. How can you cast a Ram-pal as Ra.One? Nana Patekar on the other hand would have been really chilling. Remember how Ra.One keeps looking for Lucifer? Now imagine Nana Patekar squabbling around, looking for Lucifer, while slapping his forehead.



Imagine 10 Nana Patekars shouting at G.One. No.one would stand a chance.

I’d give a limb to see Nana Patekar as a Super-Villain.



  (Ra.One Waghle)

I also felt that there was a major branding opportunity in that scene where they throw cars at each other.

Tata Nano flying in from one end.

Tata Aria flying in from another, narrowly missing each other and landing perfectly.


Ra.One could also have been turned into a porn movie by simply uploading a ‘Hidden folder’ into G.One’s memory. You know, just next to the folder where he stores Shekahr Subramaniam’s messages. If they are planning to make a sequel of Ra.One, I implore them to bring one of these characters out of a video game. Please, pretty please.


I sympathize with Anubhav Sinha too. Six movies into Bollywood and he has already worked with some of the worst actors born on mother earth. May God give him strength to make a final movie with Vivek Oberoi and Imran Khan and then retire gracefully.

Till then I’ll watch Superhero movies like Wanted and Singham and temporarily wipe off Ra.One from my Randomly Accessed Memory.

Meanwhile, you can try answering intelligent questions related to Ramayana here.



(On a related note, go watch Ra.One with an open mind and a sense of humor. Crack a few jokes. Throw some popcorn around. Have fun. Leave your brains behind because that’s what 90% Bollywood movies are asking you to do these days. And if possible, wear a crotch guard. With the amount of grabbing on-screen, you never know when you catch some action off-screen too.)


Sunny side up!

When I was kid, I wanted to be Sunny Deol when I grew up. That was till Ajay Devgan came around and Mom started telling me that if he can become a hero, I can too. I even went all Karate Kid after watching Jigar, trying to hit boiled eggs after tossing them into air or punching into warm sand while screaming ‘HYYEEAAAH’. Dad put an end to all those dreams when I started blaming him for not being an Action Director. I ended up being an Industrial engineer, a software tester and a blogger, but we digress.

It was Sunny Paaji’s birthday yesterday and like all other celebrity birthdays, it was celebrated on Twitter with much aplomb. I personally think that Sunny Deol is one of the best things to have happened to the Indian Film Industry. In fact, I think as Amitabh Bacchan transitioned into being an angry-middle-aged-man, Sunny Deol filled in the much needed void in the Indian Film Industry. Amitabh used to be angry for a reason – parents killed, father abandoned mother, lost his entire family or the frustration of being a dockworker despite having underworld potential(and an unwanted tattoo). Sunny Deol’s is angry by design.

Different actors behave differently when they portray anger on-screen. Amitabh Bacchan had this clenched-teeth-flinging-arms approach to being angry. Hrithik Roshan has this lips-trembling-cheeks-swaying(sounds wrong I know) vibe to action sequences. Dharamendra, when he was angry, pointed his finger at his opponents, questioned their maternal behaviors and threatened to drink animal blood. Aamir Khan in his angry avatar has his eyes all flared up and ready to give his 101%(sometimes 102%).

Sunny Deol screams when he is angry.


Sunny Deol screams.

It is not a Nana Patekar style extempore screaming.

It isn’t a Govinda style war-cry.

It is screaming in its purest form. From the bottom of his epiglottis.

(In a screaming championship, he takes on 7 angry people. There are no flying fists here, nor any dhishum-dhishum. It is just Sunny Paaji, out-screaming everyone else in a 2KM radius. )

This superpower of his is efficiently portrayed in the ‘Taareq pe taareq, Taareeq pe taaareq’ dialogue(one of the earliest examples of recursion). Sunny Deol screaming in a court room with a helpless judge and a stunned audience. Sunny Deol’s opinion is always sound.

And when he is not screaming, he is busy kicking ass. Silently.

Sunny Deol is action tetra-packed. 90% of his movies will scare you to death by their names – Dacait, Inteqaam, Paap ki Duniya, Ghayal, Ghatak, Main Tera Dushman, Jaani Dushman, Aag ka Gola, Narsimha, Dushmani – a violent love story etc. The list never ends. It is only because of him that all the Rais in India stopped naming their kids Balwant. Manmohan Singh’s silence is God’s way of averaging the nation’s noise levels caused by the awesomeness of Sunny bhai’s movies playing on Zee Cinema. With Dharmendra as his father and Bobby Deol as his brother(two extremes when it comes to talent) and Hema Malini as his mom and Esha Deol as his sister(again two extremes when it comes to talent), Sunny bhai has created a separate identity for himself in this industry and is single handedly(pun unintended) responsible for promoting the item-girl part of Mamta Kulkarni’s career.


(More Chest Hair = Extreme Awesomeness)

Apart from having the strongest vocal cords in the country and the heaviest hand in the universe(2.5 Kgs), Sunny also has the best pair of legs in the country. Hardly surprising as he comes from Sylvester Stallone’s gym and aerobics class. To see Sunny dancing is one of the sweetest things in the world. It is passive aggression in its most poetic form.

This Sunny song was one of my favorite songs of the 90s(partly because the movie had Raveen Tandon).

When he is not dancing, Sunny bhai is saving the country, one hand-pump at a time. Hand-pump ho ya Rocket Launcher, it is the dhai-kilo-ka-haath that matters.


Pwning Shah Rukh Khan and getting Juhi Chawla, marrying an icchadhari naagin, throwing bullies in air or committing suicide with Sohni, Sunny Paaji has done it all.


Here is wishing Sunny Deol a very happy birthday and a truckload of success when Ghayal Returns in 2012.


Notes: While fishing for pictures for this post, I learned that if you google for ‘Angry Rajesh Khanna’, all you get are smiling pictures of Rajesh Khanna. Google #fail.