More popular for his action image on-screen, actor Ajay Devgn has proved time and again that he checks the box of versatility like no other actor from his league. The two-time National Award-winning actor has turned 50 today, on April 2. Ajay Devgn currently has the best lineup of films in his hands. His romantic-comedy De De Pyar De is hitting the theatres next month and he has got Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrier, RRR, Chanakya, Abdul Rahim biopic, Bhuj: The Pride of India, and an untitled film with director Luv Ranjan up his sleeve. Each film presents him in a different role and the same has been the case with most of his films.
From comedy, drama, action and romance, Ajay has challenged himself in every genre on-screen. Here’s a list of a few noted films from his career in which he wasn’t performing chest-thumping actions, but silently proving to the world that he is an actor before a star.
Ajay debuted in Bollywood with Phool Aur Kaante (1991), riding bikes and beating goons, but his performance in Dilwale remains the most heartening till date. This was when Ajay’s intense eyes spilled their magic for the first time and the actor established himself as the nation’s crush, the rusty romantic hero.
Ajay once again played the character of a romantic hero in Indra Kumar’s Ishq. The film showed that the actor was far away from the insecurities of being featured with other good actors from his league. While his bond with Kajol added to the film’s credibility, the bromance he had with Aamir Khan on-screen helped Ishq become one of the most popular romantic-comedies in Hindi cinema.
Ajay has established that he was here to stay by then. With Zakhm, he widened his acting prowess and went on to bag his first National Award for Best Actor. The film was set in the tumultuous timing of the Mumbai riots of 1993. Ajay gave a startling performance as Ajay, the son of a Muslim mother and Hindu father, who struggles hard recalling his childhood while seeing his mother on the death-bed.
Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha (1998)
Ajay once again united with Kajol on-screen and gave one of the most remembered performances of his life. The film was a romantic-comedy with beautiful music and Ajay’s character was much loved.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)
It’s not easy to steal the thunder from the leads in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film but it appeared like a cakewalk for Ajay. His performance as Vanraj in the epic love story cemented his position in the audience’s hearts as an actor who can take up any role with ease, without fearing the screen time.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
Probably one of the finest biopic ever made in Bollywood, The Legend of Bhagat Singh had Ajay Devgn bagging his second National Award for Best Actor. While other films in the name of the freedom fighter were being made, Ajay’s performance stood out.
His intense appearance was once again put to the best use when Ajay played a cop in Prakash Jha’s political drama Gangaajal. The actor helped the director paint the troubled political scene in the areas of Bihar and did a good job at that.
It was the time for Akshay to finally have a comedy franchise in his name. Golmaal established his bond with director Rohit Shetty and gave Hindi cinema one of its most revered comedy films. The actor held the entire cast together and proved he could cater to the masses with clean comedies too.
Omkara had Ajay playing the lead role. The film is one of the finely crafted pieces of art on-screen and Ajay’s performance is considered his intense best till date.
The actor once again jumped into the political genre. However, this time, he took the challenge of his performance to speak volume of his talent amid the presence of other acclaimed actors like Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpyee and Ranbir Kapoor.
Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai (2010)
Ajay’s Sultan Mirza is still one of the most stylish-looking characters on-screen. The grandeur of his character and the subtility of his performance combined to give Ajay the role of his lifetime. Everything about the film – right from the music, dialogues, story, performance to Ajay’s chemistry with Kangana Ranaut – created a frenzy.
Bol Bachchan (2012)
Ajay again attempted to tickle the funny bone of his audience and was successful at that. His character in Bol Bachchan required him to speak in a peculiar language, behave in a weird fashion and he did everything with ease. A clean comedy from Ajay’s end was again appreciated.
While he was playing a larger-than-life cop in Singham and already had a fan-base vying for such characters, Ajay decided to take up a film that was purely based on content. He performed the role of a middle-aged father with two kids and impressed those who never seemed interested in noticing his flexing muscles on-screen.
The film had Ajay playing an ideal income tax officer and the kind of honesty he showed in his performance left everyone in awe of him. There was an Ajay who didn’t need heavy dialogues, dramatic appearance or grand appeal to impress the audience, but just a sincere effort.