Ajay Devgn, who has been a part of Indian film industry for over two decades, was felicitated earlier this week for his valuable contribution to Indian cinema at the opening day of Confederation of Indian Industry’s Big Picture Summit.
The two-time National Award-winning film actor is today among Bollywood’s most bankable box office stars. It isn’t his crowd-pulling prowess alone that defines him. His approach to his star status sets him apart from the crowd. He told DNA, “When you are an actor you do not think about genres��_ When you are doing comedy you do think, ‘Oh I wish I was doing a serious film as it takes less energy’. Comedy needs a lot of energy and timing. When you are doing action you feel it’s tiring. I like to switch and do different things.”
By the turn of the millennium, the actor had added many new layers to his screen persona, which helped him bag the National Award for Best Actor twice in the span of five years ��� for Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Zakhm’ (1998) and Rajkumar Santoshi’s ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’ (2002). He said, “I’ve worked with every kind of director. In the 1990s I was the first actor, who started working in so called ‘art cinema’. Today it is not called art cinema as there are no films like ‘Dil Kya Kare’ or directors like Govind Nihalani, Rituparno Ghosh.”
The actor is also known for donning hats of a director and a producer as well. When asked which one he likes doing more, the actor said: ���I won�۪t say that donning the hat of a producer is my favourite one but I love doing it because it stresses you out too much. Rest as an actor or a director, I’m pretty much comfortable handling both, so I don’t have to worry about that.”
At 46, Devgn is a Bollywood elder statesman who has paved the way for many younger actors who want to strike a balance between action roles and emotionally nuanced characters. If screenplays with both depth and range are available today in Hindi mainstream cinema more freely than ever before, then the contribution of the likes of Devgn has to be acknowledged.