15 June, 2021

Quiet Riot

Dilip Kumar meets Angry Young Man: do we at last have a true heir to their mantle?

Sanjoy Ghosh
Quiet Riot
Ajay Devgan can look beautiful, if you get close enough to look into his eyes. Deep, intense, profound, powerful, choose any superlative but the effect’s the same. Ask Sanjay Mehta, the Delhi-UP distributor of Devgan’s latest hit, Gangaajal. He loves Devgan’s voice, his dialogue delivery but what he finds truly expressive is his "body language and his eyes". It’s what’s enticing viewers to theatres—from the upmarket PVRs in Delhi to hole-in-the-wall halls in Gorakhpur, Devaria, Benares, Mau.

Clearly, Devgan’s making a lot of sense to a lot of people. There is sociologist Shiv Vishwanathan, well known for dissecting the most abiding myths and personae of Bollywood, who too is intrigued by the way Devgan "uses his eyes to emote". Respected media critic Sudheesh Pachauri appreciates the fact that Devgan’s "big eyes" can reflect both pain and tension. "After a long while, we now have a face in Bollywood that can express seriousness and gravity," he says.

That’s now. They didn’t exactly swoon over his face in the campus action film of the ’90s,...

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