Veteran Bollywood action director Veeru Devgan, father of actor Ajay Devgn, died here on Monday, family sources said. He was 85. Veeru Devgan breathed his last at a hospital here due to age-related issues and cardiac arrest, according to informed sources.
A large number of Bollywood personalities attended the funeral at the Vile Parle Crematorium in Mumbai in the evening. A runaway lured by love for the world of glamour and films, Veeru came from Amritsar to Mumbai to become an actor but went on to become an acclaimed action choreographer with over 80 films under his belt.
Though his own dream of working as a mega-actor remained unfulfilled, his son Ajay made it big in Bollywood and is ranked among the most successful and versatile action-cum-emotion stars. Veeru directed actions, fights and stunts for some of the top actors Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Anil Kapoor and others, said Tina Films Associate Director Ramya V Iyer.
“He was in great demand from the top actors. During the shooting of Himmatwala, Veeru was not available for directing the action scenes and the director wanted to hire Tinu Anand. However, Jeetendra spoke with Veeru and convinced him to come and take up the film,” veteran Bollywood film-maker A. Krishnamurthi told IANS.
Iyer said he had the knack of bringing new techniques in action scenes and kept upbreast with ever-changing technological advances in the world of action. He could make the most impossible and hair-raising action scenes appear simple and actors used to observe him closely at work.
One of Veeru’s memorable action scenes was filmed on his son Ajay’s debut film, Phool Aur Kaante (1991) in which the new actor was seen balancing himself on two motorcycles, which became popular among the youth. Later, he turned director with the film Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999) starring Amitabh Bachchan and son Ajay and actress Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen.
His important action sequences were in films like Inkaar (1977), Mr Natwarlal (1979), Kranti (1981), Himmatwala (1983), Mr. India (1987), Shahenshah (1988), Tridev (1989), Baap Numbri Beta Dus Numbri (1990), Phool Aur Kaante (1991), Dilwale (1994) and Laal Badshah (1999), in which Bachchan played a double role.
Earlier, leading members of the film fraternity including Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Sajid Khan, Mahesh Bhatt and Harry Baweja visted the Devgan residence to pay condolences.
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta said he was really “saddened to hear about Veeru Devganji”. “I had the honour and pleasure of working with him in my (early) days as an assistant director. He was a fabulous human being and a master technician who always had a smile on his face. May God bless his soul,” he tweeted.
Filmmaker Anees Bazmee, who worked with Veeru Devgan in the 1997 film Sanam, tweeted: “My heartfelt condolences to Ajay, Kajol and the family. There will be no better action director than you Veeruji. Will miss you.”
Veteran actor Anupam Kher wrote: “Deeply saddened to know about the passing away of Veeru Devganji. Worked with him in so many movies. He was a great action director. To him, the safety of actors and his fighters team was of utmost importance. A kind man with a great sense of humour.”
“Sad to know that veteran action director Veeru Devganji is no more. He was a genius in choreographing fights on the big screen when there were no facilities available. My heartfelt condolences to Ajay Devgn and the entire family,” filmmaker Ashoke Pandit tweeted.
“RIP Veeru Devganji. A legend of Hindi cinema. Left his mark at a time when ‘pure action’ without VFX was the order of the day. Heartfelt condolences to Ajay Devgn and Kajol. May his soul rest in peace,” Kunal Kohli wrote.