Veeru Devgan – The Original Action Hero Of Bollywood
The passing away of veteran stunt master Veeru Devgan has left a big void in Bollywood. In Hindi films, action has been a very important ingredient and he was undoubtedly the legend associated with the craft. Though before him, action directors like Ravi Khanna and M.B. Shetty (famous villain and father of Rohit Shetty) were well known, yet it was Devgan senior who made ‘Action Director’ an actual respect worthy position in Bollywood. He did commendable work in many big films and in his memory, we’d like to revisit some of his most popular work.
Though Veeru Devgan became a well- known name with the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Mr. Natwarlal, it was this Yash Johar-Raj Khosla hit whose stunts stood out. Pitted against another rival Shatrughan Sinha, Bachchan was the cop and both the friends fell for Zeenat Aman.
The film was a big break for action master Devgan who composed some amazing fight scenes in the movie. The Bachchan car and train chase and the fight with Amrish Puri are memorable. The film also had foreign technicians but Devgan’s mastery over such stunts earned him huge respect.
2. Kranti (1981)
This Manoj Kumar multi starrer hit was the ultimate film for Veeru Devgan to showcase his work. Set in the backdrop of the British rule, “Kranti” has grand action sequences involving Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, and Shashi Kapoor. Some scenes that stood out were; Sinha dying after firing the cannon, Kapoor fighting bravely with the Brits, Dilip Kumar firing rifles with a wooden stick and later running a cart carrying a pregnant Hema Malini in it, and of course Manoj Kumar crossing a bridge and blowing it up. Now keep in mind we are not saying these are reality-based by any means so caution while watching these scenes is necessary because they are as filmy as they can get!
3. Tridev (1989)
This Rajiv Rai film was a fast-paced movie with great music and of course lots of action! “Tridev” was one of the biggest hits of the year and brought back the Trimurti banner back with a bang and made all 3 leading men Sunny Deol, Jackie Shroff, and of course Naseeruddin Shah commercially viable. The action scenes we enjoyed were when Deol raids various places as the cop, Shroff leading a criminal to escape from jail, Shah’s fight with Deol; and the climax at Amrish Puri’s den were all brilliantly executed and captured.
4. Phool Aur Kaante (1991)
Veeru Devgan stepped into the 1990s with his son Ajay Devgan and revolutionized action/stunts in Hindi cinema with this big hit. Devgan Junior’s introductory scene showing him sitting effortlessly stretching his legs on 2 moving motorbikes, till date, remains one of the most popular stunts ever.
Although the film had great music and a good story but the highlight of the movie was Ajay Devgan’s fighting, earning his father many awards for the path breaking fight sequences.
5. Dilwale (1994)
The father-son duo gave a few more big action hits and “Dilwale” was one of them. This Harry Baweja film had romance, great music, but again it was the action scenes which stood out. The film brought together 2 big action heroes of 1990s – Ajay Devgan and Sunil Shetty. Veeru Devgan did great justice to both and made it memorable.