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Return of the angry young man: Devgn in Singham

By: Sujata Chakrabarti

ibnlive.com

Last Updated: July 19, 2011, 15:45 IST

Return of the angry young man: Devgn in Singham

The actor is back with his angry young man image in Rohit Shetty's upcoming film

Very early on in his career, the image of the angry young man was associated with Ajay Devgn's portrayal on the big screen. Tall, dark and handsome, he became the hero every regular Indian girl would fantasise about. And it was not just about his looks, but many of his performances has since been a powerhouse of potential that has helped him grow at every rung on the ladder to Bollywood success.

Beginning his career in 1991 with Phool Aur Kaante, the audience woke up to a new addition to the basketful of existing Bollywood actors. He was a far cry from the chocolate heroes; he looked like the regular neighbourhood boy in his trademark disheveled hair and day-long stubble and didn't try very hard to meet the Bollywood stereotype of the knight-in-shining-armour. He did not shy away from playing characters with dominant shades of grey in them (in films like Company, Deewangee, Khakee, Kaal, Shikhar, London Dreams and Raajneeti). His presence on the screen has been towering and his smouldering eyes have channelised the inner angst that a lot of young adults have felt during the difficult times the country has had to grapple with, from time to time.

After Phool Aur Kaante, Devgn went on to play the action hero in several of his subsequent films that included Sangram and Vijaypath. His image of the angry young man was further explored in films like Diljale and Naajayaz. Once again, the filmmakers utilised Devgn's trademark looks and his reputation as the big screen's angry young man to the hilt, capturing the emotions poured out by the characters he played against the establishment that often became the metaphor for corruption, discrimination, class distinction and widespread dishonesty. The same was also vividly palpable in his portrayal of a righteous and honest cop in Prakash Jha's Gangaajal. In his more recent film Raajneeti, once again directed by Prakash Jha, Devgn's portrayal of the angry, young face of the Dalit community is a stark account of the bitter reality of the still prevalent feudal system in India. The original angry young man on the big screen, Amitabh Bachchan had fanned this fire within the hearts of many a regular young Indian with his immortal character in Zanjeer way back in the 70's. This torch was then carried on ably by the likes of good actors like Nana Patekar and Sunny Deol.

A stark contrast to that image is perhaps the one projected by the current crop of young actors like Imran Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor, and it often seems unlikely that they could hide the dimples on their cheek and trade their trademark impish grins for that steely, resolute look in the eyes that those angry young men became famous for.

With Singham, director Rohit Shetty is all set to pay tribute to the glorious era of Bollywood in the 70s. It is being said that the fight sequences in Devgn's upcoming release will be based on the action sequences in Zanjeer and Amar Akbar Anthony. It however, remains to be seen if Devgn who plays cop Bajirao Singham in the film is actually able to project the same haunting performance of the angry young man that films like Zanjeer became iconic for. Comedies like the Golmaal franchise and other romantic renditions delivered by the actor have established him as an all-round hero, but with Singham, he returns to his old love - the action genre. It has been a while since Devgn has seriously kicked butt on the big screen but with Singham, in most probability, he will be back to being the bold face of the nation, still reeling under some of the most ugliest forms of social stigma.

first published:July 19, 2011, 15:45 IST
last updated:July 19, 2011, 15:45 IST