Ajay Devgan entered Bollywood, towering flamboyantly over two bikes, doing his signature split stunt. The year was 1991, the film, Phool Aur Kaante.
Devgan changed to Devgn over the three decades, but his obsession with this iconic stunt never faded. He reprised it in two variations. In 2006, Devgn kickstarted the Golmaal series with a two-car split stunt, repeating the same in the 2019 comedy, De De Pyaar De. In 2012, he upped the quirk quotient by doing a two-horse stand in Son Of Sardaar, the year’s blockbuster Diwali release.
As attached as Devgn is to his stunt, so is Bollywood with bikes. From Bobby to Dhoom to Masaan, each movie has had its bike moments. It could be the launch of a hero, a romantic escapade, or just another action sequence, but the two-wheeler has always been a style statement and adds a distinct character in the film.
Here’s a list of some of the most memorable movies wherein the first shot of the hero showed him atop a bike.
Amitabh Bachchan in Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
October 1978. Bachchan was busy delivering superhit performances in films like Kasme Vaade, Don, and Trishul. Next in line would be Prakash Mehra’s tragic ballad of the Conqueror of Destiny (as IMDb would put it). The story was a stock Bollywood masala: poor boy falls in (unrequited) love with a rich girl. But it was Bachchan’s fight-till-I-die charisma that eventually worked in the film. “Rote hue aate hain sab, hansta hua jo jayega, wo muqaddar ka sikandar, jaaneman kehlaayega,” a booted-jacketed Bachchan crooned along with Kishore Kumar as he made peace with the sorrows of his life, saddled on a bike.
Sanjay Dutt in Rocky (1981)
Forty years ago, the zara sa sharif, zara sa badnaam Sanju baba debuted in Bollywood with zara sa bachpan and zara si jawaani. What was his name again? Rocky. And Rocky hailed and harked to both friends and enemies as he raced along with his pals from college on a casual street-bike joyride.
Jackie Shroff in Hero (1983)
Jaikishan became Jackie became Radha’s (Meenakshi Seshadri) ‘Hero’ in this 1983 Subhash Ghai drama. If his rugged, bearded, modelling persona wasn’t magnetic enough, our Hero rode everything from a Yamaha to a Rajdoot. That’s three bike brands in a row.
Shah Rukh Khan in Deewana (1992)
The 90s re-ushered romance in Bollywood. But it could not do away with bad boys on bikes. Just a year after Devgn’s iconic two-bike stand, a self-made phenomenon took Bollywood by storm: Shah Rukh Khan, the quintessential Deewana. While SRK hadn’t become a bad boy yet, he certainly exuded a youthful charisma in a brown leather jacket, cruising Marine Drive along with fellow bikers on a red Yamaha, searching for “someone or the other to love.”
Vivek Oberoi in Saathiya (2002)
Debuting a few months back as a gangsta in Ram Gopal Varma‘s Company, Vivek was seen in a lover-boy avatar in Shaad Ali’s Saathiya. No sooner had the opening credits started to roll than we saw Oberoi jamming to Rahman’s “O Humdum Suniyo Re” on a Walkman. Cruising a busy Bombay street on a Kawasaki, Vivek encounters an accident. The audience can only hope all is well.
John Abraham in Dhoom (2004)
The Fast and Furious-like bike capers not only surged superbike sales but also turned young bicyclists into innovative stunt masters. Who could herald this but John Abraham? While debutant John was risqué in Jism (2003), he was equally risky in Dhoom, being the first baddie of the series. And as the first Dhoom dude rode a NOS-modified Suzuki, his long-haired, gym-toned, chiseled machismo signaled only one thing: Dhoom macha le!