Ajay Devgn’s leading ladies: that Southern twist.
Ajay Devgn’s leading ladies: that Southern twist. (Photo Credit – Instagram)

Is it due to the fact that his first-ever co-star was Madhoo, a South Indian but
Mumbai-based actress, in Phool Aur Kaante (they co-starred again in Diljale)? Whatever the reason, Ajay Devgn has a predilection for South Indian heroines! Let us also not forget Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, for whom Ajay, along with Salman Khan, was her breakthrough hero in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. They later also did Khakee and Raincoat together.

The past list also includes the North Indian actresses who started out down South —

Kajal Aggarwal (Singham), Ileana D’Cruz (Raid), who did 18 films down South before her Hindi debut, Tamannaah Bhatia (Himmatwala) and Rakul Preet Singh (De De Pyaar De). And of course we have had Rambha (Jung) and Asin(London Dreams, Bol Bachchan).

Photo Credit – IMDb

Ajay is now at a fruitfully interesting stage in his long 33-year career and what I find very interesting is that Southern actresses are playing prominent roles in the lead opposite him. The story probably recommenced in 2021 with Bhuj: The Pride of India, in which his wife’s role was played by Pranitha Subhash, while Sonakshi Sinha was the heroine of the film.

Checking out his recent list, we have Shriya Saran in both the films in the Drishyam franchise as well as in RRR, Priyamani in Maidaan and Amala Paul in Bholaa. Another Mumbai actress, Jyotika Sadanah, who made her debut in the  1998 film Doli Sajaa Ke Rakhna and then went South to become a superstar there, has played his wife in his last hit, Shaitan.

Photo Credit – IMDb

Wonder what explains this phenomenon when, as one of the biggest stars of today, Ajay could have the best of Mumbai’s heroines as co-stars? The explanation is likely to be his general yen for South Indian people, for his co stars include names like Mohanlal, his directors include Prabhudheva (Action Jackson), S.S. Rajamouli (RRR), Mani Ratnam (Yuva) and Priyadarshan (Aakrosh, Tezz), and last year, he was raving about the music of Anirudh Ravichander in Bholaa, his directorial. S.Thaman (Drishyam 2), M.M. Kreem (Zakham, Auron Mein Kahan Dam Thathat is coming, and also RRR) and A.R. Rahman (Thakshak, Yuva, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Maidaan) are also among his composers.

A liking for the normally grounded and soft-spoken South Indian artistes seems to be deep-rooted in Ajay’s humble, sober nature. Above all, let us not forget two other crucial points: among his closest friends and associates in the industry is filmmaker Rohit Shetty, with whom he developed a bond on the sets of his debut film when he was an assistant, and it was Ajay who presented the Rajamouli masterpiece, Eega, as Makkhi in Hindi.

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