Deepak Parasher – The Mr India nobody remembers

The sight of Deepak Parasher turning himself into a parody on Bigg Boss was a far cry from the handsome man who made a splash in the modelling circuit during the 80s. From playing supporting roles to Amitabh Bachchan to romping around in nighties on Bigg Boss, Deepak Parasher has fallen a long way.  

Shriram Iyengar


Take a look at the picture above. Two young men. Confident, easy going and looking at the dreams of a bright future ahead of them. Kanwaljeet Singh and Deepak Parasher were both established stars when they signed on as brand ambassadors for Vimal Suitings. They were pegged for a bright future in Indian cinema. Decades later, the tragedy of Deepak Parasher's histrionics on Bigg Boss feels like the tantrums of a child that missed the last candy in the store.

Of the two, Kanwaljeet was already a household name, having been part of the epic 'Buniyaad' on National television. As one of the randy brothers in 'Satte Pe Satta', his acting and nous had the critics pegging him for a bright future. On the right was Deepak Parasher. Oozing nobility and suave, Deepak Parasher had been assistant and location scout for Govind Nihalani in films like Bhumika and Ankur. But before that, he was Mr. India. Almost a decade before Anil Kapoor would lay claim for the title, Parasher had won the competition with a petite looking Nafisa Ali. The win was a stepping stone for a young man who had already won admirers for portraying a Mughal prince in the television drama 'Chandramukhi'. It was the graduation certificate for any young man looking for a breakthrough as a leading man in Hindi cinema.

The breakthrough came soon enough. 'Insaaf Ka Tarazu' had him portraying the boyfriend of Zeenat Aman. The film though made the headlines for the violent rape scene with Raj Babbar. A heroine who kills the villain, a gruesome rape scene, and some bad directing ensured that Deepak Parasher remained unnoticed. This did not deter BR Chopra from casting him in the lavish Urdu spectacle, 'Nikaah'. Starring another debutante, Salma Agha, the film was a controversial love triangle. The story of a woman caught between a neglecting husband and a reluctant lover, though controversial, made decent returns at the box office. Deepak Parasher's performance as the husband who cares more for his business than his wife, and his struggle to accept his wife's rejection, received acclaim from the critics. He followed it up with another short cameo in the Amitabh starrer 'Sharaabi'. It felt as though a stuttering career had just taken off. But, this was another false dawn.

The tragedy of some actors lies in the choice of their films. Having worked in a big budget BR Chopra film, the actor made some terrible choices. Films like 'Purani Haveli', 'Shaitani Ilaka', 'Aakhri Cheekh' and 'Khooni Murdaa' put Parasher in the category of once familiar faces that are spotted in bad B-grade films. Although Purani Haveli and Shaitani Ilaka have acquired the status of cult classics among film buffs, it does not provide any redemption for the actor. Once stereotyped, he found it impossible to swim his way out of the cesspool of B-grade films.

The 80s were a very difficult time for Hindi cinema. Stuck between the nouveau riche generation of the 90s and the angry young men of the 70s, it suffers the middle child syndrome. Deepak Parasher was a symbol of this middle generation. Once talented, handsome and expected to shine, he now serves as a memory of a lost generation.