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How Veeru Devgan-jee introduced his son 'Raju' (Ajay)

Friday, May 31, 2019
By Chaitanya Padukone

The flood of earnest condolences conveyed to mega-star Ajay Devgn, on his father Veeru Devgan’s demise, evidently points out to the affection and respect that ‘late’ Veeru-jee commanded among the film-fraternity.

Not just as a competent, innovative action-choreographer but also as a gentle, kind-hearted, helpful human being. As a senior film-journalist I fondly remember, how, way back in 1991, Veeru-jee introduced me and a few other film journalists to his son “Raju” (that’s what they call Ajay Devgn at home).

Initially, Veeru-jee arranged to show us the iconic action-stunt scene footage with Ajay standing legs-apart on two mobikes in motion scene from ‘Phool Aur Kante’ (PAK) on the moviola (a device that used to allow an editor to view portions of a film while editing).

The modest man that was, Veeru-jee asked us for our honest feedback. We told him that his son had a charismatic screen presence and was a star-in-the-making. Besides the slick action-stunt-scenes, the same movie ‘PAK’ had chartbusting songs as well. We could see tears of joyous pride glistening from the corner of his eyes.

Later he again called out to his son ‘Raju’ (Ajay that is) and made him sit with us for an informal chat at his apartment. After exchanging a few pleasantries after about ten minutes, Ajay excused himself as he said he was nursing a headache, and headed to his bedroom.

With a smile on his face (the Shirdi ke Sai Baba-staunch devotee) Veeru-jee told us, “My son Ajay is an introvert by nature but once he knows you well, he will surely open up,’ Cut to the ‘PAK’ film release party at Sun’ N Sand, where chief guest Randhir Kapoor specially came to bless the debut screen-pair Ajay Devgn and heroine Madhoo.

By then, Ajay had almost got over his reticent temperament, much to the delight of his otherwise strict dad. The very next year (1992) the dashing Ajay won the Filmfare Best Male Debut Award for ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ handed over by the rugged Dharmendra. Once again, it was an emotional high for his doting dad Veeru-ji –his diligent efforts had been rewarded in making beta ‘Raju’ a star-hero!

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