Here's wishing Ajay Devgn a happy 45th birthday!
A whistle inducing balancing act with each leg perched on a moving bike/car/horse in Phool Aur Kaante, Golmaal Returns and Son of Sardar.
A rippling six-pack flaunting a striking Lord Shiva tattoo in Singham.
A husband willing to reunite his wife with the man she loves in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to a jealousy-driven bahubali who smothers his ladylove to death in Omkara.
From brooding, complex protagonists to champion of justice to a madcap frontrunner of a goofy bunch, Ajay Devgn has played several varieties of larger-than-life on screen.
In reality, the famously introvert actor guards his private life from falling prey to paparazzi circus.
Even though his marriage to Bollywood royalty Kajol attracts constant attention, Devgn's disregard for glamour and gossip is a rarity in an industry crammed with attention-grabbing quote generators and publicity seekers.
The two-time National Award winner turns 45 today.
Perfect occasion to celebrate the off-screen facet of the soft-spoken action hero, we thought?
The family man
It's a case of 'family first' for action director Veeru and wife Veena Devgn's son, Ajay (birth name Vishal) who continues to live in a joint family set up with his parents, wife and children.
While Kajol has often spoken about her fabulous equation with her in-laws, Devgn prefers to let actions speak louder than words.
And if pictures are worth a thousand words, this one conveys volumes.
The ideal husband
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
Devgn and Kajol first met on the sets of a terrible movie named Hulchul.
While the film is mostly insignificant, it changed the course of the duo's life.
And like most actors dating each other, they went on to sign a spate of films -- hits like Ishq and Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha as well as duds like Raju Chacha and Gundaraj -- through a four-year long courtship before tying the knot in 1999.
He's quiet, she's bubbly, yet contrasting personalities and diverse social circles do not come in the way of their rock solid unit wherein he thinks of her as "number one" and she finds him the "sexiest actor" of Bollywood.
My father, my hero
Veeru Devgan choreographed action for many biggies like Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Kranti, Mr Natwarlal inspiring Ajay to enjoy the thrill of daredevilry and become one of Bollywood's leading action heroes.
Encouraged by his son, he even directed him in the patriotic drama Hindustan Ki Kasam co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Sushmita Sen.
Devgn holds his father's views in great regard and has declined to do a crude comedy like Rascals after realising the latter's displeasure.
Every father adores his kids. Ajay Devgn is no exception.
Ever the proud papa, the Bol Bachchan hero cannot conceal the beaming smile that lights up his serious face when around his kids or talking about their adorable achievements or taking them on holidays to London or Goa.
Tanishaa Mukerji refrained from talking about her celebrity family in Bigg Boss 7 as much as possible.
But she couldn't resist raving about her brother-in-law's dependable persona on the show.
Even if there were rumours of Devgn being against her participation on the controversial reality show, they only underscore his concern for his wife's immediate family.
Mum's the word!
Kajol’s warm camaraderie with Devgn's folks is reciprocated in his fondness for mom-in-law Tanuja.
The latter is visibly proud of her eldest daughter's choice.
The troika even adjudged a family-themed song 'n' dance competition on Zee TV’s Rock-N-Roll Family.
Director Rohit Shetty began his career working on Ajay Devgn's debut Phool Aur Kaante.
Over a few more projects, they developed a strong professional and personal rapport leading to his directorial debut Golmaal.
Their collaboration on several super successes like Golmaal franchise, Singham and Bol Bachchan is looked upon as Bollywood’s most reliable recipes for success today.
What's most commendable is how their friendship is secure enough to not crumble over Shetty delivering the biggest hit of his career with Shah Rukh Khan in Chennai Express.
All the giddy acclaim hasn't gone to Devgn's head.
Sorted as ever, he acknowledges and appreciates the support of his fans.
Quite a few of his admirers and Rediff.com readers have mailed pictures and shared bits of their friendly encounter with the star in person.
Beware of the prankster!
Don't be fooled by his droopy eyes and don't-mess-with-me expressions.
Devgn is mischief personified on the sets.
Whether he's partnering Aamir Khan in crime during the making of Ishq or relentlessly pulling his young co-star Sonakshi Sinha's leg, Devgn is a welcome relief from his reel reputation off it.
Value your co-worker, the Devgn way!
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Celebrity weddings are not the only kind some stars attend.
When Ajay Devgn couldn't take time out from his hectic schedule to attend the wedding reception of his spot boy Subhash Telure's daughter, he made sure both his mom and wife attend the event on his behalf.