Ajay Devgn: Transition from actor to director in 25 years

Bollywood star Ajay Devgn recently completed 25 years in Bollywood. Having made his mark in the acting department, Ajay wants to focus on direction now.

Ajay Devgn’s “Shivaay” will release on October 28, and he’s currently heavily busy with the promotion of the film. This is Ajay’s first film as a director.

Ajay Devgn reflects back on his journey as he completes 25-years in the industry. The celebrated actor is happy that he’s a filmmaker (which he always wanted to be), but feels that it took longer than he expected.

Says Ajay, “Growing up, I was so exposed to films, and knew that whatever I would do in the future would relate to the industry”.

Films was an obvious choice for Ajay because he’s the son of prolific Bollywood stunt coordinator Veeru Devgan,but he didn’t expect to find fame as an actor so soon.

Ajay dabbling in editing at a young age, assisted directors on set between college classes. In fact, most of his efforts were actually behind the camera, and acting happened by chance (thanks to the spontaneous nature of Bollywood’s casting process in early-90s).

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“Because of my father, people just expected me to excel in that genre and do my own stunts. The movie [1991’s ‘Phool Aur Kaante’] was a hit, and all of a sudden, I was an actor.”

Watch: Maine Pyar Tumhi Se Kiya Hai – Phool Aur Kaante

Since then Ajay has worked in several action, romance and comedy films.

In those days, many felt that Ajay’s face resembled that of Sunil Dutt, which irked him at times. Over a period of time, Ajay went on to establish himself as a bankable actor, thanks to his great screen presence, piercing looks, and his courage to pick up a variety of roles.

In 1998, Ajay won a National Award for his performance in “Zakhm”. Ajay met his would-be wife, actress Kajol, on the set of ‘Hulchul’ (1995).

Ajay even did off-beat films like Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Raincoat’.

Devgn said. “I didn’t share their insecurities because I was very clear that I would eventually be a director. Since acting wasn’t my end goal, it was easier to accept films based purely on the heart of their stories rather than how ‘safe’ they were.”

After almost 2 decades, Ajay decided to don the director’s hat with “U Me Aur Hum”, a lower-budget film, starring Ajay & Kajol, addressing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Though the film was not a hit, Devgn seemed to have become more confident as a filmmaker.

His upcoming film Shivaay is a big budget film that has been shot in Bulgarian locales in sub-zero temperatures, uses a stunt team from Germany, has Russian extras, has leading actresses from Poland (Erika Kaar) and the United Kingdom (Abigal Eames), besides the Indian cast and crew.

“The script for ‘Shivaay’ and logistics just happened to demand that we shoot outside the country and cast non-Indian actors. But all the action was designed in India. We may not have Hollywood’s budgets, but technically, we’re as strong as anyone in the west.”

Ajay Devgn’s also established a production company – Shivalaya Entertainment to help bring independent cinema to global audiences. The company’s first feature was “Parched”.

So is Ajay Devgn worried about ‘Shivaay’?

“The only thing I know I’ll be doing tomorrow is following my heart, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over a quarter of a century, it’s that if I’m not doing my job with honesty, it just won’t work.”