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Interview Hindi Marathi

Sunny Deol on Poster Boys: Dancing gives me a fever, I am scared of it

The 'dhai kilo ka haath' actor gets candid on the changes the film industry has gone through and the reality of awards shows. He also speaks about his forthcoming film. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

The name Sunny Deol is synonymous with emotional action and fight scenes. People still associate him with his antics in the courtroom in Damini (1993) and the famous hand-pump scene from Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001). But with Shreyas Talpade’s Poster Boys, Deol will be seen doing hard-core situational comedy. The film is a remake of the Marathi film, Poshter Boyz (2014). 

In a conversation with Cinestaan.com, Sunny Deol showed his candid side while speaking about the change the profession of acting has gone through, his fear of dancing, and the reality of awards shows. Excerpts:

Have you seen the original Marathi film?

No, I haven’t seen it. 

Did you purposely avoid seeing it so that you don’t get influenced?

I first heard the script and liked it a lot. So, I was excited to do the film. Then when it was final that we are doing the film, I purposely didn’t want to see it. If you watch it, then somewhere in your mind it will enter, as your mind is like a computer. 

How did you and Bobby Deol get cast in the film?

I wanted to do a film with Bobby. After Ghayal Returns (2016), I was eager to work on a good subject. Somebody told me that Poshter Boyz was a very good film and had become a hit. I heard the idea. Then I came to know that Shreyas [Talpade] wants to make it in Hindi. We met and spoke about it. They were also excited. The subject was such that for me it was very exciting. As an actor, you want to do all these things. People speak about my image, but I don’t think about all that. It was for them to take a call that we would be able to do justice. 

We wanted to start shooting soon, so we were thinking where do we find a director? I was already doing the film Bhaiyyaji Superhit with Shreyas. I liked my rapport with him. He was very spontaneous and the scenes used to turn out good. When he narrated the story, I could see he had the whole vision. So I asked him [to direct]. He was excited. Then I think he discussed it with his people. 

You have had to do some fun dance steps in this film.

I have done dance before too (laughs). I have always had this issue with dance because I am scared of it, it gives me a fever, and I even run away from the set. There was one instance where I had to dance. So the people who know me were wondering whether I will do it that day or postpone it to the next day (laughs).

The film is a comedy. Is there also a message?

I feel all the films that I have done are subjects that have a message. Even if I go to see a film, if I don’t go out with something from it, I don’t like seeing it. It is not a deliberate attempt to go for it, like, ‘I want a film with a message, else I won’t do it.’ But most of the films have to give out something. It’s about the subject and how that character would want to do it.

Obviously we would keep [giving a message] but who listens to us? Bachcha kabhi maa-baap ki sunta hai? [Does a child ever listen to its parents?] But if you get emotionally involved in a story, then it has an impact on your mind. It starts playing with your brain. What’s happening in your brain is what makes you not want to do something. Even if you are trying to do it, the guilt will stop you. 

You have this image of an angry action hero. Are you trying to change that?

I want to change so many things, but it all depends on the character I am offered. If I get a character which is so vulnerable that people start believing in that, then people will say that they don’t mind me seeing that way as well.

Take, for instance, Gadar (2001). If the film didn’t have him [Sunny Deol's character Tara Singh] fighting during Partition or here or there, it would have been basically a love story. But the intensity with which he is fighting for his love, family and child was so strong; that’s what every family man wants to do. So, that intensity is more overpowering on people’s minds because that is something everybody wants to do and they feel they can’t do it. That becomes so empowering that it becomes an action film. 

A poster for, well, Poster Boys

A lot has changed in terms of marketing a film as compared to the 1990s.

At that time there were only cinemas where they had banners. People who visited came to know about a film. Now, obviously with technology, things have started changing. Whatever we are doing now [marketing], I so many times wish I didn’t have to do it because there is so much waste of energy, money and time. The time that we were enjoying after completing a film is now spent in this process. But what to do? You have worked so hard in making the film and if this is the route, you have to take it. 

Do you think it helps at the box office?

This is debatable. I want to believe that it doesn’t because I don’t want to do it (laughs). But we are not going around [promoting the film] as much as others are. I feel it reaches the common man and he goes to see the film. 

How much do box-office numbers matter to you?

Any job you do, finances are very important. But if the working of the finance is not so strong where you are required to spend so much on the project that the recovery is very edgy, that’s what makes the whole thing go haywire. I have always believed that if you do good work, the subject is good and everyone’s hard work is on the right note and if the audience is waiting for a note like that, then things do work. 

You had once said that you would like to take the Ghayal franchise forward.

One does like taking franchises forward, but right now I am too hesitant (laughs). Right now I am concentrating a lot on my son [Karan Deol]. I have done a film with him. I want one or two of my films to be released. I always feel I should have three films a year, but it doesn’t happen. 

What is the status of your son’s debut film Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas?

It’s too early to talk about it. When I am done and finished with it, I will definitely have a nice chat about it. 

What advice do you give your son?

There is no advice you give anybody. You don’t say that now you have to do this, this, this. Like it happens in films. The son would say, ‘Okay papa, I will do this, this, this.’ I wish it were that easy (laughs). But as a father, it is going to be [a] very vulnerable [period] for me. My heart will always sink. That’s going to be a part of it, like [for] every father. 

What is your equation with your brother Bobby on the sets as compared to at home?

There is no difference as such. The relationship doesn’t change. But definitely when we are sitting at home and doing nothing then the topic is not movies. But when you are working, we are concentrating more on the characters we are portraying. Then we prepare for the next day. So it’s basically like a 9-to-5 job.

You have always avoided awards functions. Any reason?

It’s not that I avoid them. Awards functions are events where they gather everyone so that they can have a nice programme. I am shy being at the programme. Don’t call it an awards show. Just say, ‘Just come over and we will give you some token’ (laughs). You gather people on false notions and people believe they did something good which is why they are getting this [award]. 

You have been a star. Do you think it is more difficult today to get the tag of star?

Today we only tag ourselves like 'I am king’, ‘I am super', ‘I am like this' and ‘I am number 1.’ Not only actors, everybody does it. Newspapers, channels, politicians and manufacturers do it. Everybody wants to be known as number one. Are they what they are? I have no idea what satisfaction they get. I feel the ranking system is more suited to sports. But now it is applied everywhere. 

Any advice for aspiring actors?

Please stop doing six packs, dancing and cosmetics. Forget that for the time being. Let’s start working on being an actor, because there is something within you that wants you to perform something rather than show your tummy, steps or do cosmetics. I don’t even know what all they do. Even with their hair. Just forget all that. Come here for wanting to be an actor.