Ajay Devgan turns 55 on April 2 even as the trailer of his new film demonstrates that he is easily among the best star-actors of the country.

Birthday Boy Ajay Devgan Gets It Right(Again) In Maidaan 889765

The final trailer of Maidaan—dexterously cut,let us state t right away—is every bit a cliffhanger in the most ruminative definition of the word. Cliffhanger, although it doesn’t try to hang on to any cliff except the one that materializes when a writer and director, not to mention the lead actor, know their job .

And boy, do they do it well!

Ajay Devgan turns 55 on April 2 even as the trailer of his new film demonstrates that he is easily among the best star-actors of the country. In Maidaan we can see he plays a man in his 50s. His body language conveys exactly what his character is meant to: this is a man who has devoted his life to sports, football to be more precise, and is aging with grace and aplomb.

And yes, Devgan looks like a footballer in Maidaan: lean athletic sinewy and focussed. Which, with due respects, Amitabh Bachchan failed to do in Jhund.

In recent years, no Bollywood A-lister has evolved the way Ajay Devgan has. And we don’t have to look too far behind for proof of his constantly mutating craft. In Luv Ranjan’s De De Pyar De ,a goofy romcom where he was sandwiched between two beautiful wives, he sportingly made fun of his own growing years and his coupling with a much younger co-star Rakul Preet Singh by comparing his love life with Saif Ali Khan and Kareena.

In his two recent cameo appearances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi and Rajamouli’s RRR Devgan redefined on-screen ruggedness with an underhand coolness that cannot be acquired.You either have it or you don’t.

Devgan has it.He is a fearless actor.He is not scared of any competition and he is not scared of making mistakes.

“I want to grow as an actor. And the only way to grow is to take risks,” he once said to this writer.

This is why he was the first Bollywood superstar to take the leap onto the streaming platform with Applause Entertainment’s riveting Rudra, a remake of the Idris Elba-starrer successful British series Luther,Rudra was a webseries which brought Devgan closer to the audience than ever before.

Now there is Maidaan which is looking like winner from word goal. Amit Sharma is one of the most accomplished contemporary directors.Lest we forget, he directed the clutter-breaking Badhaai Ho in 2018. Maidaan has taken five years to be completed.

That’s okay. Mughal-e-Azam took 16 years.

Ajay Devgan is for my money the most dependable star-actor in Mumbai. Maidaan will make the cash registers ring and sing again.When a producer invests in a film starring Ajay Devgan he knows he won’t lose money. Ajay has a very staunch fan-following. His audience doesn’t change every Friday.

A word on Devgan’s co-star in Maidaan , the lovely Priyamani. She has just two moments in the trailer with Devgan.Priyamani proves, it’s not the length, it’s the performance. To begin with ,this Amit Sharma directorial was to feature Keerti Suresh opposite Devgn. But she decided the role was not substantial enough to do her justice. So she opted out. Her loss. The talented Priyamani shares a mellow mature chemistry with Devgn in this sports biopic. Tabu wala pyar.

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.