Ajay Devgn's come a long way since that dramatic debut of his in Bollywood -- remember that logic-defying, only-Hindi-film-hero-can-do-it entry standing on two bikes in Phool Aur Kaante (1991)? In the little more than two decades since that blockbuster baptism, he's won the National Awards twice, tried copying Hollywood action star Jean-Claude Van Damme in a few films such as Jigar and Divya Shakti (thankfully, he reverted to his 'original' style soon), and has now established himself as one of Bollywood's most bankable stars. And with films such as Ishq, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha and Zakhm, Devgn bulldozed his way into a club previously reserved only for 'superstars': Even threatening the ultimate superstardom of the Khan trio.
On his birthday, here's a look at some of the unusual avatars he's donned for us in all these years.
The Angry Young Man
When Ajay Devgn was working in Bollywood in the early '90s, it was the age of rebellion. He played the typical angry young man in several films including Vijaypath, Suhaag, Najaayaz and Gudaraaj. In most of these movies, Ajay played an unemployed young man who had been wronged by circumstances or a villaiin and his only purpose in life was to take revenge.
Be it Sultan Mirza from Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010) or Malik Bhai from Ram Gopal Varma's Company (2002), Ajay Devgn has played the gangster roles with such elan that they actually changed into heroes.
Rohit Shetty's Singham (2011) is one of the biggest hits of his career. It also brought to fore the righteous man who was ready to break rules and take on the establishment for the larger good.
Golmaal Fun Unlimited (2006) began a comic era for Ajay Devgn. Since then, the actor has done at least a dozen comedy films including Sunday, All The Best: Fun Begins, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge and Bol Bachchan.
Normally, he doesn't play negative characters, but when he does, he does it with everything he has got. In Anees Bazmee's Deewanagee (2002), Ajay played a murderer who fakes split personality disorder to convince his lawyer (Akshay Khanna) he is innocent. In Kaal (2007), Ajay was seen as Kaali Pratap Singh, the ghost of a dead tourist guide.