Top 20 films from actor Ajay Devgn’s action-packed career SEASONED
ACTOR: Ajay Devgn (Photo: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP/Getty Images)
BIRTHDAY SPECIAL TO CELEBRATE THE VERSATILE STAR’S ENTERTAINING PERFORMANCES
POPULAR Bollywood star Ajay Devgn has had a glittering 31-year Bollywood career loaded with memorable performances and a wide array of films in diverse genres.
He will receive good wishes from around the world this week as he celebrates his 53rd birthday on April 2. To mark the versatile actor turning a year older and releasing his next film Runway 34 on April 29, Eastern Eye decided to create a watchlist of his top 20 films, listed in chronological order.
Phool Aur Kaante (1991): No story about Ajay Devgn’s career will be complete without his debut. He was launched as a leading man with this film and received a Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut. The action romance took everyone by surprise with its stunning soundtrack and a standout performance from the talented newcomer. It also introduced a signature entry scene, which he would adapt in many subsequent films.
Naajayaz (1995): Devgn received his first major Best Actor nomination for his performance in the action thriller about a fearless police officer trying to take down a criminal mastermind, without realising that it is his father. This was the film that showed audiences there was a lot more to the deadly Devgn than just being an action hero.
Ishq (1997): He may be known for intense roles and high-octane action, but the actor has shown multiple times that he has great comic timing. His first major comedy success saw him star alongside Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, and Kajol. The musical filled with funny moments survived mixed reviews to become a huge success.
Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha (1998): The unofficial Bollywood remake of Hollywood film French Kiss (1995) saw the actor star opposite Kajol. The romantic comedy about an accident-prone woman, who unexpectedly takes a road trip with a thief, is filled with some funny moments, great musical numbers and an unexpected love story that connected with audiences.
Zakhm (1998): One of the finest performances ever delivered by Devgn saw him get his first National Award for Best Actor in this universally acclaimed film. The deeply emotional story based on actual events sees him play a Hindu man fighting to give his Muslim mother a burial, in the light of inter-religious riots and radicals determined to cremate her.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999): The super hit film directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali is two contrasting love stories rolled into one. In the first half, a woman (Aishwarya Rai) falls in love with a fun-loving musician (Salman Khan), who visits from overseas. In the second half, she has an arranged marriage with a serious man (Devgn) determined to reunite her with him and finds out what real love is. The massively successful film had standout performances and unforgettable musical numbers.
Company (2002): The gritty gangster drama inspired by actual events and made at eye-catching locations, revolves around a senior underworld figure (Devgn) who goes on a collision course with a ruthless young prodigy (Vivek Oberoi), while a dedicated police officer tries to catch them. The acclaimed gangster film powered by great performances received rave reviews upon release.
The Legend Of Bhagat Singh (2002): There have been a lot of films inspired by the life of legendary Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and this is one of the finest. Devgn brilliantly portrays the title role of a young man who makes the ultimate sacrifice for his country. The outstanding film earned Devgn another prestigious National Award for Best Actor.
Bhoot (2003): One of the finest horror films made in Hindi cinema saw Devgn and Urmila Matondkar play a couple who move into an apartment that contains hidden secrets. Although Urmila was at the forefront as a woman who gets possessed, the actor added a solid backbone to a fear-inducing film that has plenty of moments that make you jump.
Gangaajal: The Holy Weapon (2003): The action crime drama won a National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues and spawned a 2016 sequel (Jai Gangaajal) starring Priyanka Chopra. The actor received wide acclaim for his performance as a dedicated cop who takes over a new post and attempts to fight crime, while dealing with political and police corruption.
Khakee (2004): Although he is known to play positive characters, the star-studded police drama saw him play a deadly negative role of a mysterious figure trying to stop a police convoy transporting a prisoner. He goes toe to toe with Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan in a thriller loaded with great action and plenty of twists.
Raincoat (2004): The actor stars opposite Aishwarya Rai in this beautifully shot Rituparno Ghosh directed drama inspired by an old O Henry short story. The emotional drama revolves around two lovers who unexpectedly get reunited many years later under difficult circumstances and try to make sense of what led them to where they are now.
Golmaal: Fun Unlimited (2006): The slapstick multi-starrer headlined by Devgn might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it has spawned one of the most successful franchises in Bollywood history with follow-up films Golmaal Returns (2008), Golmaal 3 (2010) and Golmaal Again (2017). All four films are very much driven by jokes powered by a comedy of errors and a fifth instalment of the franchise is inevitable.
Omkara (2006): The critically acclaimed film based on classic theatre play Othello is the second in director Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy of William Shakespeare adaptations. The gritty Bollywood crime drama sees Devgn play a powerful gang lord who falls in love and falsely succumbs to jealousy. He heads a star cast that includes Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi, and Konkona Sen Sharma in a film that received multiple awards.
Raajneeti (2010): The actor was part of an ensemble cast that included Ranbir Kapoor, Nana Patekar, Katrina Kaif, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee and Naseeruddin Shah. Director Prakash Jha cleverly adapted classic Indian mythological epic Mahabharata to modern day politics with this stunning drama loaded with intrigue and double dealing.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010): The period crime drama based on real life events saw Devgn play a principled smuggler, who teams up with a ruthlessly ambitious young man (Emraan Hashmi) and then clashes with him. The eye-catching underworld drama was a big success and spawned a less successful sequel with a different cast.
Singham (2011): The remake of 2010 Tamil film Singam gave Devgn one of his career-defining performances as a super cop, who is seemingly indestructible and won’t be deterred from taking on evil forces. The red-hot film driven by an incendiary performance spawned successful sequel Singham Returns (2014), along with hit police thrillers Simmba (2018) and Sooryavanshi (2021), which both saw him reprise the role.
Drishyam (2015): The solid Bollywood remake of a hit Malayalam thriller of the same name saw Devgn play a man who goes on a game of cat and mouse with a no-nonsense police officer (played by Tabu) after a murder is committed to protect his family. The movie was a major success and a sequel is on the way.
Raid (2018): The tension filled crime drama gave the actor another opportunity to deliver a remarkably powerful performance. The story based on a real-life income tax raid saw him play a fearless law enforcement officer, who goes after money that has been hoarded by a powerful politician.
Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020): Although the Covid-19 pandemic played a big part, this film was the first time Devgn starred in the highest grossing Bollywood film of the year. The eye-catching historical epic saw him take on the titanic role of a fearless warrior trying to recapture a fort. The lavish film has plenty of action, some rousing dialogues and big battle scenes.