Veteran Bollywood action director Veeru Devgan, father of actor Ajay Devgn, was cremated at the Vile Parle Crematorium on Monday. He died earlier in the day at the age of 85 due to age-related issues and cardiac arrest. A large number of Bollywood stars attended the funeral.
Veeru came from Amritsar to Mumbai to become an actor but went on to become an acclaimed action choreographer with more than 80 films under his belt.
Though his own dream of working as an actor remained unfulfilled, his son Ajay made it big in Bollywood and is ranked among the most successful and versatile stars.
Veeru directed actions, fights and stunts for top actors such as Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, said Tina Films Associate Director Ramya V Iyer.
“He was in great demand from the top actors. During the shooting of ‘Himmatwala’, Veeru was not available for directing the action scenes and the director wanted to hire Tinu Anand. However, Jeetendra spoke with Veeru and convinced him to come and take up the film,” veteran Bollywood filmmaker A Krishnamurthi said.
Iyer said Veeru brought in new techniques in action scenes and kept abreast with technological advances. He could make the most impossible and hair-raising action scenes appear simple and actors used to observe him closely at work.
One of Veeru’s most memorable action scenes was in his son Ajay’s debut film, ‘Phool Aur Kaante’ (1991), in which the new actor was seen balancing himself on two motorcycles, a moment that became popular among youths.
Later, he turned director with the film ‘Hindustan Ki Kasam’ (1999) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay, Manisha Koirala and Sushmita Sen.
Members of the film fraternity including Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Sajid Khan, Mahesh Bhatt and Harry Baweja visited the Devgan residence to pay their condolences.
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta said he was really “saddened to hear about Veeru Devganji”.
“I had the honour and pleasure of working with him in my [early] days as an assistant director. He was a fabulous human being and a master technician who always had a smile on his face. May God bless his soul,” Gupta tweeted.
Filmmaker Anees Bazmee, who worked with Veeru in the 1997 film ‘Sanam’, tweeted: “My heartfelt condolences to Ajay, Kajol and the family. There will be no better action director than you Veeruji. Will miss you.”
Veteran actor Anupam Kher wrote: “Deeply saddened to know about the passing away of Veeru Devganji. Worked with him in so many movies. He was a great action director. To him, the safety of actors and his fighters team was of utmost importance. A kind man with a great sense of humour.”
“Sad to know that veteran action director Veeru Devganji is no more. He was a genius in choreographing fights on the big screen when there were no facilities available. My heartfelt condolences to Ajay Devgn and the entire family,” filmmaker Ashoke Pandit tweeted.
“RIP Veeru Devganji. A legend of Hindi cinema. Left his mark at a time when ‘pure action’ without VFX was the order of the day. Heartfelt condolences to Ajay Devgn and Kajol. May his soul rest in peace,” Kunal Kohli wrote.