As a young boy, Veerendra Devgan ran away from home in Amritsar to Bombay. With stars in his eyes, he landed straight in prison when he was nabbed for travelling ticketless. In a story worthy of the film industry, many struggles later, he emerged as one of the best-known action directors in Hindi cinema.
Born in Amritsar, Veeru Devgan grew up in the home of his grand uncle Pandit Kedarnath. He was only nine months old when his mom was widowed and came back from her husband’s home in Attari. When he ran away with his friends to Bombay, he was 14 years old. Three of the five boys, after they had been in jail for a week, went back to Amritsar. Veeru decided to stay back in Bombay and stick it out.
Taking on any job he could get, Veeru started making the rounds at different studios looking for work. Realizing that he did not look like the heroes of the time, he continued working as a carpenter. His grand uncle found him in Bombay and took him back to Amritsar, but he was drawn back to the city. Taking back free-style wrestling in Bombay along with carpentry, he started looking for opportunities in studios again. In Anita (1967), he carried out a stunt for the first time. For some time after, Veeru continued to work as a stuntman with the well-known fight director, Ravi Khanna.
The 1974 release Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974), starring and directed by Manoj Kumar, was Veeru Devgan’s first film as an independent fight director. Soon, he was the stuntman for heroes like Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna and Rajesh Khanna. He continued as a fight director in hit films such as Mr Natwarlal (1979), Mr. India (1987), Shahenshah (1988) and Tridev (1989), and even dabbled in acting with some films like Kranti (1981). In 1999, he turned director for the first time with Hindustan Ki Kasam.
Veeru Devgan passed away on 27 May 2019 in Bombay, leaving behind a long legacy in Hindi cinema carried forward by his son, Ajay Devgan.