Ajay Devgn clocks 30 years in Bollywood: Was immature, unprepared for stardom after Phool Aur Kaante

In 1991, actor Ajay Devgn entered everyone’s hearts riding on top of two motorcycles in the film Phool Aur Kaante. Today, as he completes three decades as an actor, Devgn says has experienced a lot, both highs and lows. And now, he is just getting “warmed up for the next 30”.

Excerpts from an interview:

Sustaining in showbiz for three decades would not have been easy. Correct? How do you look back upon this journey?

You are fully right; sustaining oneself for 30 years in showbiz is herculean. That having been said, sustaining in any field for three decades needs constant evolving. It needs a certain level of maturity — not just in age, but also in your craft. It needs constant experimenting, countless hours of speaking to oneself more than to others. It needs learning closely from every colleague and filmmaker you work with. It’s a never-ending learning process. If you pick up even one survival tip everyday from whoever it may be, you’ll romp home successfully. And, by that I don’t mean being No.1 or No.2, I mean you will have found purpose in your craft.

I look back at the last three decades as one terrific journey; a journey in which I have made countless mistakes and struck innumerable home runs. Either way, I am happy.

When you started out, were you confident of making it big as an actor?

Frankly, it was my father’s (Shri Veeru Devgan) dream to launch me as an actor. I was just required to focus on realising his dream. Whether I would be successful or not is a thought I didn’t toy with at that stage. I just did what I was told. No one can enter the movies planning stardom for themselves. You have to work hard and pray your destiny carries you forward. When Phool Aur Kaante became the craze it did, I was catapulted to stardom. Every daredevil youngster in the country wanted to make his way through life doing a split on two motorcycles! I was immature, young, unprepared for stardom. God, my parents’ blessings and the blessings of the industry and fans gave me the adulation a star receives.

What memories do you have of shooting for your debut film? How was the process like?

Some of my memories on set are sharp, some are hazy. Kuku Kohli, my director set out to make a volatile love-story with two newcomers — Madhoo Shah and me. He picked up the best music directors of that time, Nadeem and Shravan, and brought in my father for action choreography. He had a stalwart like Amrish Puri who played my father and the main antagonist. In that sense, Kukuji had all the ingredients needed to make a commercially sound film. So, I had to just play my part. I was raw and I was totally consumed by delivering the kind of action, my father wanted. Believe me, he didn’t make it easy for me. Instead, he made it tougher because he believed I could do it.

Your entry on top of two motorcycle became a rage, and continues to be so. Can you recall how that particular sequence went off?

I can’t recall the exact feeling that I experienced when I stood astride those two motorcycles. However, I know it was a moment of complete madness. The nervousness in the pit of my stomach is something that I experience even today when I’m facing a dangerous situation. Also, remember three decades ago, we didn’t use body doubles and safety nets. We just went for it. It was a leap of faith — in my father and my youth. These moments happen. You don’t make them happen.

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Jitendra Kumar

Jitendra Kumar Born on October 10, 1990 an Indian author and activist from Hathras in Uttar Pradesh.