The recently released ‘Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior’ is on a roll at the box office. Despite facing a stiff clash from Rajinikanth’s ‘Darbar’ and Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Chhapaak’, the Om Raut directed movie earned almost 76 crores within four days of the release. This proves a fact yet again, that for Ajay Devgn, box office clashes are not a sign of trouble but a blessing in disguise, because each time his films have clashed with those of other bigwigs, Ajay has emerged as the undisputed winner.
It all began in 2010, when Ajay Devgn’s small budget movie ‘Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge’ released on the silver screen along with a few other small budget films. Very few people were optimistic about the outcome, given the debacle of his previous movie ‘London Dreams’. However, the quirky plot, as well as the impeccable comic timing of Ajay Devgn and Paresh Rawal made this movie a sleeper hit, beginning his legendary tryst with box office clashes.
The very same year, Ajay Devgn faced another box office clash, when Akshay Kumar’s movie ‘Action Replayy’ clashed with his next movie, ‘Golmaal 3’. Both movies belonged to the genre of slapstick comedy, and both movies had a popular starcast. However, Ajay Devgn’s ‘Golmaal 3’ reigned supreme, as it earned more than 100 crores at the domestic box office.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
Then came 2012, when Ajay Devgn once again faced a box office clash. The occasion was once again Deepavali, only the opponent had changed. While Ajay Devgn once again paired with the director of ‘Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge’, i.e. Ashwini Dheer, for his movie ‘Son of Sardaar’, Shah Rukh Khan was bringing forward the last movie of Yash Chopra, titled ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. The experts had ruled out the possibility of Ajay’s movie giving a tough fight to Shah Rukh Khan’s movie. But, Ajay Devgn once again proved them wrong, as Son of Sardaar not only made a huge dent in the collections of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, but also became one of the first few actors to deliver two 100 crore blockbusters, despite the box office clashes.
However, it looks like some of the stars took no lesson from the same, and once again Ajay Devgn had to come face to face with another box office clash in 2016. Once again the occasion was Deepavali, and this time Ajay’s opponent was Ranbir Kapoor. Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ was all set for release, while ‘Shivaay’, one of Ajay Devgn’s dream projects which was also directed by Ajay Devgn himself. Moreover, the clash time was just not financial, it was also equally ideological.
A couple of months earlier, in September 2016, the dastardly attacks on the Indian Army base camp at Uri had given a brutal jolt to the nation. Following the attacks, several cinema organizations banned Indian filmmakers from working with Pakistani artistes.
While the crew of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, including Karan Johar, vociferously protested against this decision, Ajay Devgn was one of the few who unequivocally backed the decision. He had said, “I wouldn’t work with any Pakistani artiste at the moment. I am very clear on this because you are an Indian first. I don’t care if my film doesn’t release in Pakistan. Their artistes are standing by their nation. They are earning here but are sticking by their nation. We should learn from them.” He further added, “Country comes before money; if the country breaks into [trouble] what will we do with the money?” Once again, Ajay Devgn’s ‘Shivaay’ made a significant dent into the collections of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’, as it earned more than 125 crore rupees worldwide.
However, it didn’t look box office clashes would leave Ajay Devgn yet. The following year he faced yet another Deepavali box office clash, and this time, his opponent was none other than the ‘Mr. Perfectionist’, Aamir Khan. Riding high on the success of Dangal, Aamir Khan was touted to deliver another runaway blockbuster with ‘Secret Superstar’, which would clash with Ajay Devgn starrer ‘Golmaal Again’. Once again the trade experts predicted that Aamir Khan would have a cakewalk at the box office. They couldn’t have been more wrong, as ‘Golmaal Again’ overshadowed ‘Secret Superstar’ at the box office. While ‘Secret Superstar’ earned 64 crore rupees at the box office domestically, ‘Golmaal Again’ earned a whopping 211 crore rupees at the domestic box office.
As such, it is nothing less than a foolhardy decision by the makers of ‘Chhapaak’ to release the movie on the same date as ‘Tanhaji’, with the movie now struggling to even recover its basic cost. With the humongous footfalls generated by ‘Tanhaji’ as of now, Ajay Devgn has proved once again that he is the undisputed champion when it comes to box office clashes.