EXCLUSIVE: What three national awards to Ajay Devgn for ‘those’ three films tell us about changing face of cinema, politics & awards

Let's dig into these big characters that Ajay Devgn played in the following films that got him the national awards.

The winners of the 68th National Film Awards were announced in New Delhi. The Best Actor award for the year is to be shared by Suriya and Ajay Devgn for their work in Soorarai Pottru and Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020) respectively. This is Suriya’s first National Award and Ajay Devgn’s third – he won Best Actor for his 1998 film Zakhm and 2002’s The Legend Of Bhagat Singh.

Let’s dig into these big characters that Ajay Devgn played in the following films that got him the national awards. These characters have something very interesting inside them.

In the film Zakhm, Ajay Desai, the protagonist and narrator played by Ajay Devgn, learns that his mother Raman Desai, played by Pooja Bhatt, was actually a Muslim woman who had been passing for a Hindu all these years while struggling for her life after being set fire by religious zealots. As the story progresses, we find out that Ajay’s father, a Hindu film director, wed her in secret without obtaining marriage licences or even acknowledging it in front of his family.

Ajay is portraying a character whose brother supports the right wing party. The mother of these two brothers is identified as a Muslim at the conclusion, not a Hindu. The right-wing party brother is therefore shocked. People who are anti-Muslim are only so long as they don’t comprehend it until they experience it. Therefore, in a way film damned islamophobic Hindus. Ajay received a national honour for this movie which he much-deserved.

Even The Legend of Bhagat Singh wasn’t hesitant to present a secular image of India. After all, this was the tale of revolutionaries like Chandrashekhar Azad and Ramprasad Bismil, whose self-selected nom de guerres reflected the kind of inclusive nation they want to reside in—hardly an uncommon characteristic in the freedom warriors of the 1930s and ’40s. Keep in mind that when under British prison, Udham Singh went by the name “Ram Mohammad Singh Azad”. Ajay Devgn received a national award for Bhagat Singh. To be noted, Bhagat Singh was a well-known figure whose previous atheism and communist leanings were mentioned in numerous books and places which are lately ignored/questioned by right wing followers.

Couple of years back, he portrayed Tanhaji in the film Tanhaji, a Maratha Hindu warrior who engages in combat with Mughal (Saif Ali Khan) invaders and causes them to lose the conflict. This Hindu emperors versus Mughal invaders has become a sub genre in films like Padmaavat, Samrat Prithviraj and so many more.

These three characters represent the political leaning of Indian cinema and politics behind national award from Indian Government. The actor has received the fully deserved honours as a result of the sincere representation that was displayed. Without any doubt, he is one of the best actors of our times.

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