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As Ajay Devgn turns 50, friends and colleagues share heart-felt wishes for the man, the actor, the superstar

The son of a well-known action director, Ajay Devgn made a dramatic and unforgettable debut to the industry – he did this while standing astride on two moving motorbikes in Phool Aur Kaante, in 1991, and created a dhaamaka. After that, with his brooding, intense looks, he conquered the ‘90s with many action-packed, high-octane drama films such as Dilwale, Suhaag, Diljale, Vijaypath, Naajayaz, Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha, Ishq, and many more.

For his brilliant performance in Zakhm, Devgn won a National Award for Best Actor. He also explored the romantic hero role with films like Ishq, Major Saab, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Kachche Dhaage and, of course, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, proving his versatility.

Taking this amazing filmography forward in the 2000s, Devgn wowed the audience with his serious gangster avatar in Company, the strong and powerful Bhagat Singh in The Legend Of Bhagat Singh, and a no-nonsense police officer in Gangaajal.

In 2006, we saw the actor do an out-and-out comedy film with Golmaal: Fun Unlimited, which turned into one of Hindi cinema’s mega-successful and much-loved franchises. Doing a complete 180-degree turn in the same year, Devgn played the titular role in the highly appreciated film, Omkara. He became part of another dumdaar franchise with his dream-team director Rohit Shetty as they gave the audience the memorable character of Bajirao Singham in Singham and Singham Returns.

Balancing these larger-than-life, commercial roles with content-driven films like Drishyam and Raid, he showed us that he has a great instinct for finding the right kind of films.

With so much experience under his belt, the actor turned not only to production but direction too. He made his directorial debut with U Me Aur Hum in 2008 and followed it up withShivaay in 2016. With his production company, Ajay Devgn Ffilms, he went on to produce movies.

Ajay Devgn knows how to create the right impact with his roles, and that is why his cameo in Rohit Shetty’s last film Simmba received all hoots and whistles in theatres. His recent release Total Dhamaal was a huge commercial hit, reiterating his position as one of the most bankable stars in Tinsel Town.

And this is just his expansive film career. Devgn is also known to be a dedicated family man, balancing work and home life with great ease while being one of the most grounded superstars this industry has ever seen.

Now, almost three decades since he started his Bollywood journey, Devgn is still at the very top with strong performances in the films he does. His upcoming films include De De Pyaar De, Tanhaji – The Unsung Hero and Bhuj: The Pride Of India, among many others.

This week, the actor celebrates his 50th birthday on April 2 and, on this occasion, we asked some of his colleagues and friends in the industry to share a message for the superstar.

Anil Kapoor, Actor

Working with Ajay has been a great experience! He is focused, passionate and a master of his craft. We had an amazing time on the set, quite literally Total Dhamaal! Regardless of what you throw at him, he comes back stronger. His movies and achievements are proof of this.

Parineeti Chopra, Actor

Ajay sir is the quintessential cool superstar. I find him very cool and inspiring because, on one hand, he is seated in his chair on the set, being his chill self as he laughs and jokes with his team and the next, you see him on the sets doing intense action or comedy scenes. There is another side to him, which is that of a prankster. I think he is the only actor in the industry who spends time devising pranks to play on his co-stars. It makes the shooting experience very memorable.

He is one of those calm and composed people and I find him so amazing. When we were shooting for Golmaal Again!!!, there were days when I used to be on the sets and just keep watching him because there was so much to learn from him. It is great that he has reached this milestone of 50 and achieved so much. We can only sit back, watch him, learn, imbibe from the fabulous actor that he is and also always remember that being on set doesn’t have to be serious and intense all the time. We can have a lot of fun and still be successful. I want to thank Ajay sir for teaching me this and I wish him a very happy birthday.

Ileana D’Cruz, Actor

I wish Ajay Devgn a very, very happy birthday. It is always so much fun working with him, sharing screen space with him. My best wishes to him and I hope he has a lovely birthday and an amazing year. Here’s to doing more films together. It is always a blast!

Boman Irani, Actor-Producer

On my brother Ajay’s birthday, I am sending all my love to him. We have not done many films together but it seems to be more. In our first film together, we didn’t have scenes with each other, it was just a phone conversation but I am so very happy that we worked together on the film Total Dhamaal. He was so kind and considerate throughout especially during all the stunts I had to do because I had scenes which involved a lot of falling, tumbling and shots with wirework. He took care of me and explained it to me with such love, detail and concern. Of course, in the schedule later when I had slip-disk and I was in a wheelchair, he personally co-ordinated the entire shoot like a younger brother. I will always be grateful and have wonderful memories. On his birthday, I wish him the best. He is one of a kind. God bless him!

Vidyut Jammval, Actor

One of the most amazing things that I realised about Ajay sir was that being an action star, I look up to him. But what I really like about him is the way he is with youngsters. I promised him that whenever I was in the position that he is in, I would be exactly the way he was with me. He inspired me to be kind and generous towards the younger generation. I loved the way he respected me, the way he believed in me, and I promised him that whenever I see real talent, I will do the same. So thank you, Ajay sir, and may God bless you.

Rakul Preet Singh, Actor

Ajay Devgn is an amazing person and what I admire most about him is that family is a priority for him. It is very easy to forget your kids when you are in the limelight but not him. His entire universe revolves around his kids. He keeps talking about his daughter on the sets and it is nice to see how involved he is in her life, in her regular activities. It hints at the kind of person he is.

He is very grounded, and even a newcomer actor like me never once felt uncomfortable with a seasoned actor like him on the set. He has a very warm aura. There was this time when I had to say this huge bit of dialogue during the first schedule of our film De De Pyaar De. It was a 20-line piece of dialogue and I forgot some of my lines. But he was so nice about it and said it was all right and that it is indeed difficult to remember all those lines.

He makes his co-stars feel very comfortable, he is very down-to-earth and a complete family person. He is als able to snap out of the scene quickly and return to casually chatting with you as he was doing before. There is so much I have learnt from him. I wish him a very happy birthday.

The trailer of our film will release on his birthday and I hope it is a huge success. I want to conclude by wishing him the best of health and more power to him.

Tusshar Kapoor, Actor

On the occasion of Ajay Devgn’s birthday, I want to say that he is a very special co-star whom I have worked with in six films and a couple of other films where I have done a special appearance. Our association began in 2003, when we started working on the film Khakee. He is a friend today and whenever we do a Golmaal series film, we spend a lot of time together with our own circle of friends there on the sets. And although we might not meet very often when we are not shooting together, I consider him to be a very close friend in this industry since the last few years. He is a friend for life because that is the kind of person he is.

Ajay is great fun to be with, he is very positive on the set, very fair with juniors, very focused and very disciplined as an actor. It is very entertaining when he is around. All this makes working with him very special, especially on a fun film like Golmaal. I am at a loss for words when I have to speak about him but I want to tell him that he is an inspiration to all of us because of the way he has handled his career and his relationships, and the wonderful father that he is.

He really is an all-rounder. He is amazingly resilient and his aura and charm have survived the ravages of time. As a senior actor, as a friend, I look up to him, I get inspired by him and I want to wish him all the very best and tell him that he should stay the way he is because he is awesome.

Shreyas Talpade, Actor-Director

As an actor, we all know how good he is whether it is Golmaal, Kacche Dhaage, Naajayaz or Raid... he has been amazing in all those films. As a human being, he is far bigger and far better than the actor Ajay Devgn. When I was directing my first film Poster Boyz, I showed him the rough trailer of the film and told him I would love it if he did the voice-over for the film. He agreed without a moment’s hesitation.

All said and done, he is a star and a very senior actor. Why would anyone do it for someone just like that especially since it was not even his production and he was not acting in the film? Still, he readily agreed and came for the dubbing. He did it in half an hour. It was extremely generous of him.

When I first started working with him in Golmaal Returns, I wasn’t part of the first film. So I was nervous since everyone else had worked together and they had a certain bonding with each other. I remember him telling the team that aaj hum dinner Shreyas ke saath karenge because I want him to feel part of the family and part of the team. A gesture like that makes so much of a difference. Everyone came together and it made me feel part of the team. After that, he started to play all kinds of pranks on me. I realised that when you play along with him, you also get to play pranks with him on others. Having said that, he is Ajay Devgn, and whenever he gets a chance, he does make a bakra of you.

He is a great guy to work with and I have learnt a lot from him, most importantly, the value of patience. I have seen this guy over the years and I have never seen him lose his cool. He understands the situation, the facts and then he reacts to them. The fact that he is still a part of this industry says a lot about his character. There are a lot of things to learn from him, my big brother Gopu. I wish him a great birthday and I wish him lots of happiness.

Ashwini Kalsekar, Actor

I have been a huge fan of Ajay Devgn since Phool Aur Kaante, and I especially love his brooding lover avatar. I first met him when I was doing Golmaal Returns. And not only him, it was the first time I met the entire team. They had worked together before so I was very nervous. And then I saw Ajay Devgn, this huge star, sitting there. He made me feel very comfortable, it was amazing. He is the purest, greatest, most helpful and most down-to-earth superstar ever. He makes everyone feel very comfortable and doesn’t have any airs about him. He is the real macho guy.

He may move around with a bodyguard but he’s very cool about it. He is very calm on a film set and doesn’t get upset or angry about anything. And he’s very caring. I remember when we started the shoot of All The Best: Fun Begins, which was his production, on May 23, 2009, in Goa. A few days before that, my mother suffered a heart attack. I was so flustered, I didn’t even take anyone’s calls. My husband, Murli Sharma, spoke to Rohit Shetty and told him it would be difficult for me to be a part of this project. But he said that no matter how long it took, I would still have the role. Then I got a message from Ajay Devgn, who said the same thing. He asked me if I needed any help and told me that he was there to help me with whatever I need.

When I went on the set, he and everyone else was very nice and they asked about my mother. I really have to give him credit as a producer because either he or someone from Rohit sir’s team would always ask me if I wanted to fly back to Mumbai for some time to see my mom. They were so considerate and sweet about it.

As for Ajay Devgn, I think he is one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met in the world. We all know that he is a great actor. From the beginning of his career, he has done amazing work and he is still reigning in the industry. He is also always fun to be around. He is a prankster. He is a very humble man and on this birthday I wish him all the happiness and success that he wants. Meri umar unko lag jaye.

Mukesh Bhatt, Producer

Ajay is one of the finest people I have ever met. He is very humble and down-to-earth. I have done two films with him and he won a National Award for one of them. I have a great working rapport with him. The best quality about Ajay is that he is always there for his peers, always ready to help. He is a great human being.

On his birthday, I wish him lots and lots of hit films. He will always be a superstar for me. While we were shooting Naajayaz, our shooting schedule was disrupted by rain. But Ajay made sure we completed the shoot on time. He stayed back and completed the shoot. Even during Zakhm, he went out of his way to give me dates so that we could finish it in one schedule. He even distributed the film in Bombay.

I have very fond memories of him and working with him is a pleasure. He always talks highly about Mahesh (Bhatt) and me. He has a good heart. We may not meet each other for years but whenever anyone talks to me about him, I can’t help but smile. Not many people bring a smile to my face and he is one of the few. He is a great actor and I like him a lot.

Bhushan Kumar, Chairman, T-Series & Super Cassettes

I have known Ajay sir for a considerable period of time. T-Series has released the music of all the three Golmaal franchise films. We also released the music of his last directorial project Shivaay.  I have been an ardent fan of his movies and have admired his histrionics on the screen in the several intense roles he has essayed so far. The fact that he has won a National Award twice and is also the recipient of the Padma Shri is a testament to his superior acting talent. He is also right up there in the way he brings gravitas to his action-packed movies such as the Singham franchise and others. I have had fun watching those too. 

I had the opportunity to work to with him as a producer in Baadshaho. This equation was further cemented when we worked again in the super hit Raid. Ajay sir and I share a healthy, respectful regard for each other. I am glad we are working together in three more forthcoming films – De De Pyaar De, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior and Bhuj: The Pride of India. Ajay sir has grown up in the industry and thinks about a project as a whole, and as a producer the best thing is when an actor brings that sense of ownership to the project.  He brings that quality to every film of his.

On his 50th birthday, I wish him happiness and the very best on this milestone. I am certain that he will ascend even greater heights and I am happy that professionally T-Series is going to be part of that long, glorious journey, one way or another.

Jayantilal Gada, Producer

First, I would like to say congratulations and Happy Birthday to Ajay Devgn, who is my dear friend. We have worked together on films like Shivaay, Total Dhamaal and Helicopter Eela. He is a gem of a person and he is a man of his word. We wish him the best in life. I wish he has a very long life. And 50 is only a number; he is still a kid at heart.

Indra Kumar, Producer-Director

My birthday wish for him is for him to have a superhit life. I have done five films with him and all five have been superhits. I did three films with him – Masti, Ishq and now Total Dhamaal – and two others that I sort of silently produced, Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet and Suhaag. I didn’t direct them but I was involved in them as they were produced by my brother-in-law. Total Dhamaal is our fifth outing together and we have a 100-per cent track record.

Anees Bazmee, Director

Ajay holds a very special place in my heart as my first film as a director Hulchul, was with him. After that, we made his first ever rom-com, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha. With this film, Ajay was seen for the first time in a film without action. I have always had a wonderful experience working with him. Even though we don’t meet all that often, the bond remains unchanged whenever we do. I wish him all the very best for his future endeavors and I hope we make another blockbuster together very soon.

Luv Ranjan, Producer-Director

Ajay is an absolute delight to work with for any producer and director. Having worn these hats himself, he has an inherent understanding of the workflow and challenges that come with it and is always open to understanding and is a team player. Ajay is one of the most grounded stars in the country. I wouldn’t think twice before saying, working with him on De De Pyaar De has been my best experience of working with an actor and I am looking forward to direct him in my own movie soon.

Vipul D Shah, Producer-Director

Everyone knows he is the biggest prankster but what people don’t know is that he does it with such seriousness that it’s difficult to believe that he is playing a prank. He is an amazingly focused actor who knows the medium better than most directors. While he is a director himself, he doesn’t interfere with the director’s job and lets the director make the film the way he wants to. He is a through professional in every way and a great star to have on the set.

Madhur Bhandarkar, Director

Ajay Devgn has always been great to work with. He is a very nice, very down-to-earth person, very friendly and cool on the sets. I had the opportunity to work with him in the film Dil Toh Bacha Hai Ji, which was a comedy, slice-of-life film, and Ajay Devgn in real life is the same. He is very cool and composed and also fun on the sets. He has a good sense of humour and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him.

It has been a great journey for him since Phool Aur Kaante in 1991 and since then he has had a fantastic journey in terms of awards, achievements and the kind of roles he has done. In the last 10 years, he has done so many different kinds of roles which says a lot about his calibre as an actor. More good wishes to him, more power to him. I hope he keeps rocking and ruling the hearts of the audience for a long time.

Raj Kumar Gupta, Writer-Director

In the 25-26 years that Ajay sir has been in the industry, he has done so many brilliant films. He is a fabulous actor, not just a superstar but one of the best actors we have. He is a through professional and a great human being. It was great working with him. Not only is he a brilliant actor, he is also a director. So his knowledge of cinema, of the craft, is amazing. Working with him therefore keeps you on your toes. It makes you feel you are working with someone who understands the craft of filmmaking.

I wish him luck, success, good health and more.

Ankur Garg, Producer

Meeting Ajay was my first ever interaction with a Bollywood star and I still remember it vividly because I was amazed by his nonchalant and no-fuss attitude and this really made me wonder if all Bollywood actors are like him. That humble personality trait of Ajay’s stood out for me. 

From then to now, it’s been a great journey with him, personally and professionally. Right from producing ‘De De Pyaar De’ which stars him to co-producing ‘Turram Khan’ with him, his guidance and warm- heartedness have empowered my growth. On his birthday, I wish for nothing, but for Ajay to continue to be himself, like he always is.

Rumi Jafry, Writer-Director

We are of the same sun sign, which is Aries. He is a great actor which we all know so I won’t delve into that. But you truly get to know a person when you are shooting outdoors with them. I remember when we went to Malaysia for the shoot of Hum Kisise Kum Nahi, my wife and daughter had accompanied me. It was then that I got to know how caring and considerate he is as a person. In fact, my wife still recalls what a great family man he is and how nicely he treated everyone on that trip. He would look after everyone around him.

He is a genuine family man and a really nice person. He is as good a human being as he is an actor. My birthday wish for him is that today, as he completes his half century, I ask God to always give him good health, success and happiness. It is so amazing that he is great as an intense actor as well as a comic actor. From the bottom of my heart, I hope he keeps working like he is doing now and always stays in good health.

Ritesh Shah, Writer

Ajay Devgn is the same whether on or off the set. He is one of those rare actors who is consistently the same person because inherently he has a very simple, no-nonsense personality. He is friendly with everyone but he is reserved.

What I like about him best, as an actor, is that when he is on screen, it doesn’t look like he is acting. It’s almost as if he is calmly having a conversation rather than delivering his lines. He is a natural actor and my message to him on his birthday is good wishes for health and happiness. I also wish him all the very best for this new taste he has acquired of being a part of all kinds of different films.

Rajat Arora, Writer

Ajay is a very fun guy and very easy to work with. He is very friendly on the sets, and he gets along with everyone, senior and junior. He is the kind of person who makes it easy for everyone around him, which is a great quality to have in a superstar. This makes the shoot an amazing experience. He is always playing pranks on people on the set, and his sense of humour is amazing. People have got to know about his witty one-liners after he won the Audi in Koffee With Karan; his sense of humour is legendary.

We all know he is a great actor but I would like to give an example of how great an actor he is. When we were filming Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, he was given the simple line, ‘Dua mein yaad rakhna’, which became a legendary line. But, when I wrote it, I had no idea it would become all the rage. It was only due to the way he delivered the line, his style, effect and emotions that made this one of the biggest dialogues of my writing career. I wish him great years and a lot of blockbusters. My best wishes to him on his 50th birthday.

Farhad Samji, Writer-Director

Some people feel blessed to get 13 films to write in their career but as far as my journey goes, I have written 13 films for just Ajay Devgn which in itself is great. It is another high for me. We all know how good a human being he is, a gem of a person. Even though he is not overly expressive I remember an incident from the success party of Simmba which was held at Karan Johar’s residence for the cast and crew. There, Ajay Devgn hugged me for the first time and not many people would understand this but that hug was priceless because he is not very expressive. That moment was precious. His character of Singham is so iconic that during Simmba, when he was there for his role, we would not say that it was Ajay Devgn’s dialogue like we normally do. But we said that it was Singham’s dialogue. It has had such a great impact. What more do you want for a writer that a character you have penned is so iconic that it is bigger than even the actor? Looking forward to work in more films with Ajay sir and I wish him a very happy birthday. He has achieved so much in his life but as one says, his journey has just begun. Lots of films and surprises to come from Ajay sir.  

Kumar Mangat

Our relationship goes back 26 years. It all started with Phool Aur Kaante which was his debut where I was his manager and till now I have made six films (Omkara, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?, Aakrosh,Toonpur Ka Superhero, Drishyam and Raid) with him as a producer. It’s been a long journey. I have seen his growth as an actor and his journey from an action star to a National Award winning versatile actor. We have seen ups and downs together, we have seen audiences changing, cinema changing, people, friends and equations changing but none of this has affected us. He is still the same boy I knew. He does his own thing and keeps to himself. He values relationships and doesn’t take all the stardom seriously. When our films work we celebrate, but if they don’t we don’t blame each other. So, it is never a fair-weather equation which I have seen is a rarity in these times in our industry.

As a friend, I am always a call away for him and vice versa. It sounds clichéd I know, but we are family. On his 50th birthday, I wish him a great year and a long life and hope our relationship will grow from strength to strength over the years. 

Parag Desai

I have been working with him for over 12 years and he is one of the most humble, caring and finest human beings I have ever met. He is a simple man who is very clear about this life and what he wants. Even though he is a superstar, he makes sure he is always considerate about the well-being of his team. He is a man with a big heart, a quality which is very rare.

Sajid Khan, Director

Grounded, that's the only word to describe the dashing Devgn. A career spanning three decades usually spoils the mind of a star but not his. Since I know him from college days I can say this with assurance that Ajay Devgn has always been grounded. He is still the same like he was in the ‘90s. Success and superstardom hasn't changed him at all. Although Himmatwala did not work at the box office then, over the years it has gained immense popularity on television. Our shoot experience was awesome. Right from his pranks on me and the unit to caring about all of them, working, laughing and eating food together, he was absolutely a delight with his adolescent-like antics. He treated everyday of shoot as if it was his first day of shoot, such was his professionalism. When you work as a leading star in numerous films for over 30 years somewhere the popularity starts declining but not his. His stardom is only growing more and more because not just his fans but also the common man somewhere feels connected to him as he is so approachable, humble and  grounded. Happy birthday, my friend. Have a great one, love you lots. I know you will always stay this way because you know no other way.

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