Birthday Special: How Ajay Devgn has set a benchmark for a hero's entry!
Ajay Devgn celebrates his 51st birthday today, and it is unarguably the best day to talk about how this invigorating actor and impressionable star has redefined a Hindi film hero's entry in Cinema!
Before we start talking about Ajay Devgn, we need to talk about a little anecdote that was given to Shahid Kapoor by his debut director Ken Ghosh while shooting for Ishq Vishk. The director said to the actor, "If people don't like you in the first two minutes, they won't like you for the rest of the film." The introduction of a hero in Hindi Cinema pretty much decides how the audiences would gaze at the film and his character. In cases of enormous stars that have immense commercial clout, it supersedes the narrative they occupy.
Right from Superstar Rajinikanth to Amitabh Bachchan to Salman Khan, fans wait for their characters to be introduced in as heroic way as possible. How larger a life can get? But apart from all of these performers, it's Ajay Devgn who has almost reinvented and set the bar higher for a hero's entry. We all have been talking about his performances ever since he has made his debut, but he isn't just a robust actor but also a resounding star with immense commercial clout.
As he turns 51, here are some of his best introduction scenes of all time:
1. Phool Aur Kaante (1991)
Of course, this cannot be and ought not to be skipped or filtered out. The scene was historic and still is, imaginatively conceived by the makers and performed fearlessly by the then-young Ajay Devgn. He stood on two speeding bikes and froze as if they weren't moving in motion. It takes a lot of agility to be as stiff as he was in that scene. Rohit Shetty, who also began his career with this film, said in an interview it took them three days to shoot this sequence. And almost three decades later, this still remains the best entry of his career.
2. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali tapped into the other side of Devgn in this passionate love triangle. His Vanraj, otherwise a lawyer, was shy and soft-spoken. It's anything but a heroic entry that you would want to clap or cheer for, the filmmaker reserved that for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who played the feisty Nandini. Devgn barely spoke in the first few minutes of his introduction, but his character prepared the audiences for a conflict that Nandini's romance with Sameer (Salman Khan) was about to witness.
3. Singham (2011)
Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn only collaborated on comedies before they made Singham. This is also a typical introduction of a hero we saw in the cinema of the 70s and 80s. The villain is warned of a doom that awaits him, and the destruction that would follow, cut to the hero's entry and the catcalls that accompany it. Bajirao Singham rises from inside a lake while he prays. This shot is followed by a slow-motion walk towards the camera with a bare-chested and ripped Devgn. Who wouldn't have catharsis?
4. Son Of Sardaar (2012)
We seldom saw the buffoonish side of an otherwise intense star. Son Of Sardaar explored that. Rohit Shetty already paid homage to Devgn's Phool Aur Kaante entry in his Golmaal films, but this one took the meta-ness to a new high. We first meet his character balancing himself on two horses, yes, now that's another way to introduce your hero.
5. Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020)
This blockbuster period drama of 2020 marked Devgn's 100th film, it had to special, not just the film but also his introduction. It was a period drama where the actor played the eponymous character, an unsung and upright warrior who wears fearlessness and righteousness on his sleeves. The conversion to 3D only enhanced the joy of watching him in the frame. An army of Marathi warriors arrived with their faces covered with their turbans, swords in hands, and sliding down on tight ropes. A wind brews and Tanhaji's face is revealed. Of course, we know it's Ajay Devgn, and of course, we still clap.
Honourable Mention: Simmba
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