Abhay Deol rejects stardom
The Deol with a difference gets candid about his movies, loves and life
Getting in touch with Abhay Deol is difficult. Unlike his peers, the elusive actor doesn’t believe in being seen on every TV show, awards night and parties to make himself visible. His next movie, Dibakar Bannerjee’s Shanghai, co-starring Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin is one of the most anticipated films this summer but you won’t find him tom-tomming about his film or his performance anywhere! Abhay certainly believes in dancing to his own tunes and doing things his way, at his pace! Be it his recent outburst against ‘false’ stories planted in the media or his honest admission about his alleged ‘choosy’ nature, the Dev D star doesn’t toe the line, ever. Indeed, when it’s an Abhay Deol film, you can be sure that it will be a cut above the rest – just like the man himself!
Recently you were upset with the PR machinery for planting stories about the alleged rivalry between Emraan and you during Shanghai. Aren’t such gimmicks part and parcel of the game?
This report was actually the work of a senior reporter who thought to take it upon himself to try and create a controversy. I never thought this person would go to such lengths but when I read the reports of my alleged rivalry with Emraan, I was upset. I called Dibakar to clear the air because no one likes to have their name tarnished, especially in the name of publicity. Publicity has turned gimmicky these days to promote a film and I will never stand for anything like this.
If you were your own PR person, how would you promote yourself?
My PR activities would be as straightforward as I am. I would simply report that my film was releasing and then hope for people to go for it. I’m not flashy; there would be nothing to jazz it up.
If you were offered a woman oriented film at this stage of your career, would you agree to it?
I’ve already done that before, I think Dev D was a woman-oriented film! I’m quite comfortable with a movie being woman-oriented as long as I get a good role in it. I want to work with as many people as possible and do varied kind of roles. I’m not necessarily after big parts or the main character as long as my role has some significance. I’m not choosy.
Is it easy to keep ego at bay in a film?
Honestly, I never had a sprawling career to begin with! I’m comfortable with that because my body of work is varied. If at all someone trumps me with their performance, it’s fine; these things happen. I guess you learn from it and don’t make the same choice again. If your career goes down because of one small thing, it means either you did not have much to fall back on (in terms of performance) or the audience hasn’t accepted you. I don’t want that happening to me.
You are known to be selective about films. How do you choose a script?
I should like the writing and I should understand it! I like something entertaining and believable. The relativity of the script, either to a culture or a phenomenon also helps me select a film. I need to immerse in the world that the script is trying to show me, which again takes me back to the first point – good fluent writing makes it easier for you to imagine that world. Moreover it needs to be a character that I can relate to. You also need to interact with people involved in the project. I need to share a wavelength with the director. I can’t be 100 per cent sure that the film is right but when I interact with the director, I know for certain if the project is good for me or not.
How would you describe your equation with director Dibakar Banerjee?
He is the only director I’ve worked with twice! It was nice to work with him again. I’ve become friends with him over the years which is why I did not have to make any extra effort to get to know him during Shanghai. He understands my strengths and weaknesses and I understand his style of filmmaking. I was able to go further in this film than in others because Dibakar and I have worked together in the past. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and neither do I – that’s another thing we have in common.
What are the best and worst things about being a celebrity?
The best thing about being a celebrity is that you don’t have to wait in line! You can go to any place and be invited to it! There isn’t anything particularly bad as such. But once in a while, if you’re having a bad day and yet have to smile for the shutterbugs, it becomes a little troublesome.
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