Veeru Devgan, the stuntman whom Bollywood liked so much

Stuntmen and women in Bollywood, though they play an important part, are hardly known by the masses. So when the tragic news of the death of veteran stunt director Veeru Devgan came out, many could relate to him more as Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn’s father.

However, talk to the industry insiders and each of them has immense respect for the veteran stunt director.

Remember Ajay Devgn’s entry in his debut film Phool Aur Kaante where his legs are split across two parallel motorbikes? That was his father Veeru Devgan’s idea.

Devgan came to Mumbai from Amritsar to pursue a career in the Hindi film industry. Veeru Devgan worked in over 80 Hindi films, including Phool Aur Kaante. He began his career in the mid-70s and worked in films like Mr. Natwarlal (1979), Mr. India (1987), Shahenshah (1988) and Tridev (1989). He also dabbled in acting in films like Kranti (1981) and made his directorial debut with Hindustan Ki Kasam (1999).

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the demise of Veeru Devgan who was widely respected for his outstanding work across various domains in the Hindi film industry. This is a great loss for the industry,” PM Narendra Modi in a letter to his son and actor Ajay Devgn.

Decades back, stars like Dharmendra and Jeetendra insisted that their stunts be done only Veeru Devgan. Senior Devgan also did stunts for other superstars like Dilip Kumar, Vinod Khanna and Rajesh Khanna.

“He was ahead of his time, innovative with action and ruled the scene from mid 70s to 90s. It is a personal loss because he made me a stuntman and signed my application. When I told him I wanted to be a stuntman, he told me you are M.A. educated so think about it again. But then he was very supportive and taught me all the skills to be a stuntman,” says stunt director and actor Vicky Kaushal’s father, Sham Kaushal.

Devgan belonged to a generation of stuntmen who performed risky action sequences, some of which have become landmark moments in Hindi cinema. Industry insiders had deep respect for Veeru DEvgan and many feel he was the greatest stunt director in the Hindi film industry.