Born as Vishal Veeru Devgn, Ajay Devgn is an Indian actor, director, producer who mainly works in Bollywood films. He is one of the most popular actors of India and has delivered several super hit films, after making a promising debut with the movie Phool Aur Kaante in 1991. Ajay was honored with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in the year 2016.
Ajay Devgn was born in a Punjabi family in Delhi. The family was originally based in Amritsar and after moving to Mumbai, they developed ties with Bollywood. Devgn’s father, Veeru worked as a stunt choreographer in the Hindi film fraternity, while his mother, Veena, is a producer. The actor has two sisters named Neelam and Kavita, and his cousin, Anil Devgan, is a Hindi film director. Ajay completed his schooling from the Silver Beach High School, and graduated from Mithibai College in Mumbai.
Devgn started dating his co-star, Kajol, daughter of the yesteryear popular actress Tanuja, while they both were shooting for the movie Gundaraj in 1995. Their relationship soon drew attention of the media and the couple was cited to be ‘an unlikely pair’ owing to their contrasting personalities. However, the couple got married on February 24, 1999 in a traditional Maharashtrian ceremony at the Devgan home. Kajol gave birth to their first child, a daughter, in 2003, while their second child, a son, was born in 2010.
As an Actor
Ajay Devgn made his mark in Bollywood in the year 1991 with the movie Phool Aur Kaante. In his opening scene, he performed a split while balancing between two motorcycles – the scene remains to be one of most iconic scenes of Bollywood. The actor won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut for his first movie and in the following year he appeared in the movie Jigar (1992).
He then starred in nine films in 1993 – Dil Hai Betaab, Divya Shakti, Sangram, Ek Hi Raasta, Platform, Shaktiman, Dhanwan, and Bedardi. While all these movies were average hits at the box office, it was only the 1994 movie Dilwale that gained him critical and commercial acclaim. Portraying the role of a man with intellectual impairment, Ajay was applauded for his performance. Later, the actor reached a career high in 1994 after his movie Vijaypath was released; actress Tabu marked her debut in Bollywood with movie. Although that Ajay Devgn did not receive any award for his role, he was highly appreciated by the critics.
By 1995 Ajay delivered several hit movies but the actor never got nominated for a Filmfare barring the best Debut Award that he won in 1991. His jinx was soon broken and the actor got nominated for his first Best Actor Filmfare Award for his performance in the movie Naajayaz, which received average reviews at the box office. While he essayed action-roles with ease, Ajay Devgn also took up a negative role in Harry Baweja’s movie Diljale where he portrayed the role of a terrorist.
In 1997, after appearing in the movie Itihaas, which bombed at the box office, he starred in Indra Kumar’s super hit movie, Ishq, which also featured Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, and Kajol. He followed this with one of the best performances in his career in the movie Zakhm (1998) directed by Mahesh Bhatt. Ajay received his first National Award for the movie. In the same year, he also starred in another hit movie, Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha, a remake of the Hollywood movie French Kiss (1995). He followed this up with a subtle performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s romantic drama, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), which also starred Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Salman Khan. Ajay Devgn portrayed the role of an understanding husband who tries to help his wife to reunite with her lover. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam was a significant point in Ajay’s career as he was recognized for his superlative hold while doing intense scenes. His other releases of 1999 include Hindustan Ki Kasam, Kacche Dhaage, Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet, Dil Kya Kare, Gair, and Thakshak.
Ajay was immensely successful in the 2000s. On one side he played negative characters while on the other he gave inspiring performances in period dramas and contemporary movies as well. In the year 2002, Ajay portrayed the role of a gangster in Ram Gopal Varma’s critically and commercially acclaimed movie Company. Indian film critic Taran Adarsh wrote: “Ajay Devgn enacts his role to perfection. A controlled performance, the actor takes to this complex character like a fish takes to water. He underplays his part with admirable ease.” The actor then essayed the role of the revolutionary martyr Bhagat Singh in the movie The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. His performance was well received in the movie and Ajay won his second National Film Award.
The actor then gave another riveting performance in negative role in the movie Deewangee directed by Anees Bazmee. His performance earned him several awards, including Filmfare Best Villain Award. He followed this up with another incredible act in Prakash Jha’s Gangaajal. Giving a commanding performance as an honest cop battling against corruption, Ajay was once again nominated for a Filmfare Award. He finished the decade with highly successful movies such as Raincoat (2004), for which he won his second National Award, Yuva (2004), Apaharan (2005) – nominated for a national award – Omkara (2006) andRaajneeti (2010).
In 2010, Ajay once again portrayed the character of a gangster in Milan Luthria’s Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, which was amongst the top-grossers of the year. Ajay was once again praised for his role with Taran Adarsh stating, “He adds so much depth to the character, which only goes to prove his range and versatility. This is, without a trace of doubt, Ajay’s finest work so far.” The next three years saw him appear in hit movies such as Singham (2011), Son of Sardar (2012), Singham Returns (2014), and Drishyam (2015).
As a Producer
In 2000, Ajay established Ajay Devgn Films, which first produced the movie Raju Chacha (2000). The production house has since then produced movies such as U Me Aur Hum (2008), which also marked his directorial debut, All the Best: Fun Begins (2009), Bol Bachchan (2012), and Son of Sardar (2012).
His 2016 project as a producer, director and actor includes the action film Shivaay. Produced under his banner Ajay Devgn Fflims, the movie along with him stars Sayyeshaa Saigal Erika Kaar and Vir Das in pivotal roles.