How ‘villain’ Ajit changed his style for Amitabh Bachchan’s ZANJEER!

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“Saara Shaher Mujhe Loin Ke Naam Se Jaanta Hai,” roared Ajit, the numero uno villain of the early 70s in Subhash Ghai’s hit film KALICHARAN.  For the younger generation who do not recognize him can identify the stylish villain in Amitabh Bachchan starrer ZANJEER (who played Dindayal Teja) and in Dharmendra’s hit film YAADON KI BAARAAT (as Shakal). His other hit films include DHARMA, JUGNU, KHOTE SIKKAY, WARRANT, MR. NATWARLAL, etc

AJIT IN ZANJEER
AJIT IN ZANJEER
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Ajit’s biggest contribution to cinema is his revolutionary, savvy gentleman style that he imparted to villainy, which for long had been typecast as loud and wild. Ajit’s unique style became so popular that it became his trademark style till he breathed his last.

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How Ajit invented this style is an interesting tale. In an interview, Ajit had revealed, “The character of Dindayal Teja which I portrayed in ZANJEER was actually inspired from a real-life personality. He was an aristocrat living in Hyderabad. He was a tall gentleman with a rich baritone and would always be dressed in a sherwani.”

“I happened to bump into him at a party and was very impressed by his personality. The striking feature of this man was the way he conversed. He was very soft-spoken and this striking feature left an imprint on the backside of my memory, “he added.

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He informed, “Years later when Salim-Javed, the writer pair of the ZANJEER, narrated me the character of Teja they wanted me to be fierce and brutal. But I decided to do something innovative because even I was going through a lean phase in my career. Hence, I suggested adopting the unique dialogue delivery style of the royal man, whom I had met in Hyderabad. Luckily Prakash Mehra, the director of the film was also present and was bowled over by my novelty. Rest is history.”

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