27 January, 2021

Man Who Would Be Boss

Ajit mined a vein of black humour hitherto unsuspected in the Indian consciousness

Man Who Would Be Boss

HE was an Indian original. When seventies' arch villain Ajit delivered his pithy but apocalyptic pronouncements on screen in that booming voice of his ("saara shahar mujhe Loin ke naam se jaanta hai"), they were disarmed of any sense of irony and devoid of any deliberate attempt at humour. But it was more than enough to catch the Indian popular imagination: Ajit's ice-in-his-veins manner, the mangled Hinglish accent, the colourful molls, the doltish henchmen and, most importantly, the inadvertent humour.

Ajit himself was thrillingly bilious onscreen but aficionados sought to temper the persona with overt humour. Over the years, the public invented, related and hugely enjoyed several jokes based on the Ajit persona. And willy nilly, Ajit found himself at the epicentre of a unique cult. By being just himself, Ajit had mined a vein of black humour, hitherto unsuspected in the Indian consciousness.

The actor had practically retired a decade ago but the humorous image thrust upon him thrived due to quippy comperes like Javed Jaffri and Shekhar Suman,...



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