In the summer of 2002, there was a slew of biopics based on the life of national hero Shaheed Bhagat Singh who was martyred on March 23, 1931 along with Sukhdev and Rajguru. Amongst the many films that released at the time, the one starring Ajay Devgn in the lead role, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, gained critical appreciation and also received a lot of love from the audience.
Starring Ajay in the role of the icon, the film chronicled Bhagat Singh’s life as he fought against the British and sacrificed his life in honour of the nation. In 2002, Ajay Devgn shared in an interview that Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Kultar Singh stayed with the unit of the film in Pune while they were shooting and shared some insights about his brother with the team of the film.
It was during Kultar Singh’s stay in Pune that an incident left Ajay with tears in his eyes. Ajay shared with Rediff in 2002, “You know, at Pune, someone told Kultar Singh that he should bless me. Kultar replied, ‘How can I bless my elder brother?’ I could not help crying.” Ajay added, “He gave us deep insights into his brother’s life, facts that have not been revealed by history.” Kultar Singh passed away in 2004 at the age of 86.
In the same interview, Ajay had said that Bhagat Singh had predicted many of the problems that the country was still dealing with. He said, “This fearless freedom fighter was a great visionary. He had clearly stated our country would be besieged with problems like communalism and corruption. Isn’t that what’s happening today? May I stick my neck out and say that if he had been living 15-20 years after Independence, our country would not be in the shambles it is in today,” Ajay said at the time.
The Legend of Bhagat Singh won two National Film Awards in 2003 – Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Actor for Devgn. This was Devgn’s second National Film Award after 1998’s Zakhm.