Jaideep Sen pays tribute to Bollywood's Star Action Director
As I stood in front of Veeru (Devgan) Ji’s pyre last evening I felt that an era of genuine “greatness” had come to an end.
When I kissed his forehead, through numbing pain that crossed my heart, the only thought that passed my mind was: why can’t our parents be immortal.
It took me back to the Prayer meeting organized for the late Divya Bharti’s Mother where the priest conducting the ceremony had in his discourse said “Jo Bhagwan dikhte hain woh Mata Pita hote hain, jo Mata Pita nahin dikhte woh Bhagwan”
These words have made a lasting impact on me. I’ve unfortunately lost both my parents and who would feel the impact of those words more than me.
|Veeru Devgan: Hindi Contemporary Cinema's First Star Action Director|
Veeru Ji is the first Star Action Director in contemporary Hindi cinema, a name that has graced the credit titles of more than 80 films & my personal favourites among them are Manoj Kumar Ji’s Kranti, Raj Sippy’s Loha and Rajiv Rai’s Tridev. The sheer scale of the action of these three Films is breathtaking and considering that all three were huge multi-starrers, to weave in the strength of the actors into the designing of the sequences and justifying the presence of each of the actors in them is the work of a gifted and genius craftsman which Veeru Ji indeed was.
Here I must make a special mention of Kranti because Veeru Ji considered its monumental filmmaker, Manoj Kumar Ji his Guru and Manoj Ji had a very special place in Veeru Ji’s life and heart. I overheard veteran actor Raza Murad Saab mentioning to someone at Veeru Ji’s last rites that it was Manoj Ji’s Roti Kapda aur Makaan which had a big climax set at a railway bridge with which the fraternity took notice of Veeru Ji and he even played a small cameo in Kranti.
Not many people are aware that Veeru Ji had actually come to Mumbai to be an actor but destiny had other plans and he became one of the biggest action directors of Indian cinema from east to west and north to literally south where in collaboration with the legendary actor, Jeetendra Ji, he has given an avalanche of mega hits in Himmatwala, Justice Chaudhary, Mawali and many more.
Veeru Ji also choreographed the action for Super Star Rajnikant Sir’s debut Hindi film Andhaa Kanoon and devised for the first time a concept of multiple kicks where the hero would jump up in the air and kick the opponent multiple times before landing on the ground. This gravity defying stunt was lapped up by the audience which went ballistic with applause. This was something which Veeru Ji had conceived with his acute sense of editing which gave the Hero a Super Hero status; that is how big a hero Veeru Ji was behind the camera.
|Ajay Devgan in Phool aur Kaante|
Let’s now come to a glorious success story of Veeru Ji’s life which is the arrival and immediate super success of his son, Vishal Devgan, who took the nation by storm as Ajay Devgan when he burst on screen straddling two motorbikes in Phool aur Kaante. Ace filmmaker Rohit Shetty – for whom too Veeru Ji is like a father – paid a tribute to this sequence in Golmaal Returns. Rohit himself was an assistant director on Ajay’s debut film.
Since Ajay’s birth Veeru Ji had decided that what He couldn’t achieve as an actor, his son would and that is exactly what Ajay achieved.
I’d like to believe that Ajay’s success story has been singlehandedly fuelled by Veeru Ji’s passion and determination who left no stone unturned to make it happen. I doff my hat to Ajay’s devotion for his father and his dream to give his hundred per cent to realise and fulfil his father’s dream.
When Ajay lit his father’s pyre, am sure Veeru Ji would have had a smile within him as he bid adieu to this world seeing his son’s super success. Ajay too would have had the satisfaction of being the successful and dutiful son his father had always hoped to have. Having interacted with and experienced the greatness of Veeru Ji, I can say with certainty that they don’t make Men of Steel like Veeru Devgan anymore.
Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling.