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Interview Hindi

Bobby Deol: People used to ask why I am not doing films, I had no answer

While speaking about Poster Boys, the junior Deol gets candid about his tough period, the heavy social media backlash he met with, and how he overcame it all.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

Bobby Deol will be seen on the big screen after four years with Shreyas Talpade’s Poster Boys. His last film was Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 (2013). Normally, whenever an actor is away from the scene for such a long period, s/he attributes it to the not-so-good scripts coming her/his way. But Bobby Deol has no qualms confessing that he wasn’t offered any film. 

While speaking about Poster Boys, the junior Deol was candid about his tough period, the heavy social media backlash he faced, and how he came out of it all. Excerpts:

You are returning to the big screen after four years.

When I heard the subject, I was very excited because I have always played a rich person. People keep telling me, ‘Tu gareeb dikhta nahin hai [You don’t look poor].' So I have done a lot of thrillers and romantic comedies. I think the only time I played a small-town boy must have been in Kareeb (1998). But there was no rich-poor angle in the film.

I was also excited as I haven’t worked for four years. Fours years of my life have just gone so fast. But it made me a better and stronger person. I am more refreshed and positive in life. When you are positive, it reflects. Else, I wouldn’t have been able to even talk like this. I can’t do interviews. But I am just very positive. 

I was excited to play a small-town boy who speaks shudhh [chaste] Hindi. I guess nobody’s Hindi is pure these days. It is also exciting because my brother [Sunny Deol] has never done films of this genre.

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

Also, because of the topic, as people see his photograph with ‘nasbandi’ [vasectomy] written on it, people will think, ‘What is this about Sunny Deol and nasbandi? Let’s see what this is about.’ Which is good for the film. It’s exciting for him because he gets fed up when he doesn’t get different types of roles. He is very funny in the film. He doesn’t like photographs much, but he is taking selfies in the film. It was his idea to do selfies and pout.

As you have never played such a character before and you had to speak pure Hindi, how did you prepare?

When Shreyas [Talpade] narrated the subject to me, I told him I am excited and nervous and I want to do workshops. He was very happy to hear this as this is exactly what he had wanted. He asked me to recite the Gayatri mantra 10-15 times daily so that the tongue gets freed. He told me some Marathi tongue-twisters, which I couldn’t do. Tochnili taachni something.

We really worked hard and finished the film in 37 days. It was a smooth journey as we were well prepared. It was great fun. Those 37 days in Bhor were the most amazing time we spent. He used to make us work long hours. I used to sleep at 8:30pm or 9pm and wake up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning, work out and shoot. Poster Boys changed my attitude a lot. 

I wish the film gains people’s attention and they get attracted [to the film] and choose me for [more] films. I have been always asked if I was choosy since I didn’t do a film for four years. I say, ‘I was not choosy. People had become choosy when it came to casting me.’

But people still used to come up to me and take pictures. They kept asking why I am not in movies. I had no answers to give them because industry and social media started saying that I don’t want to work as I am content and happy. Or his wife is having a legal battle so he has got all the money. Nobody wants to know the reality. It was very tough for me to come out of all that. But I have and it doesn’t matter now. 

You have a long dialogue in chaste Hindi in the film, as seen in the trailers. How challenging was that? We have never heard you speak in such Hindi. 

I didn’t falter because — I am not showing off or anything — I had done workshops. I think workshops before every project are very important. I was happy. The only reason I asked for another take is because I felt I didn’t perform it right.

Sometimes there were technical issues. My specs fell in one shot but he [Talpade] kept that shot. I had to work on my look as I don’t look like a small-town guy. If you notice, there are a lot of people who don’t look like one. But people perceive that one has to look like a small-town guy. Nowadays, things have changed. They are so trendy in small towns. More trendy than people in the city. Everybody in the North has a Virat Kohli haircut. 

Have you seen the original film Poshter Boyz on which Poster Boys is based?

No, I didn’t, because when I heard the script, everything was very clear. I didn’t need to see the original. Usually when South films are offered, you see the film because no one can narrate it as they all come from the South.

That’s the only time I might have seen a South film. When I was a kid, I used to go with my dad to see movies from the South. He did a remake of one South film, which I thought was one of my favourite films. But people didn’t like it because papa’s character was weak in it. It was a great film called Ghazab (1982). It was a double role. They [the audience] couldn’t see the other brother as weak. But it was so emotional and such a nice film. They can’t accept him when he is weak. They were like, ‘Humara Dharam kaise ho sakta hai aise? [How can Dharmendra be like this?]’ But trends are changing now. Actors are able to do different kinds of films. 

You had grown a beard recently. Was that for a film?

Yes, I had grown a beard because in these four years I was not getting any great subject to work on. So I thought I will re-invent myself. I felt I would do something which is very dark and different because I like that genre of movies, which are made in Hollywood.

I was trying to work on the look for that film. And my director, who was also a first-time director, wanted me to grow a beard. He said, just grow it and see how it feels; play around with it. He said, let’s see what size we keep and you will also get used to it. It will be a part of your body language. Otherwise, it feels odd. But things didn’t work out and social media is great. It writes whatever it has to. So it brings you down, takes you up, again brings you down, makes fun of you; which is fine, it’s human nature. I never let that affect me. Those things happen. 

There were also a few news reports about you being a DJ, which started a lot of trolling. 

There was this whole thing about me being a DJ and playing my music. I am not a DJ. I was called for an event. They asked me to be the DJ. But I said I don’t know how to be a DJ. He said, ‘You just stand there, we will play the music.’

After a month, people started trolling me for that. I thought there must be some nuisance value and somebody who doesn’t like me at all had tried to do this. And trolling is so easy. You can troll anyone like this. I was like, I can’t do anything about it. But that’s okay. Everybody goes through trolling. 

Then I finally made my Twitter account because there were a lot of fake Bobby Deols on Twitter. It’s called @thedeol because ‘Bobby Deol’ is taken by others (laughs). They either make fun of me or of others on my name and take the benefit of being Bobby Deol. That’s really sad. How can any person do this to someone? If you are brave enough, why don’t you put your name and say whatever you want to say? I don’t post any opinions. I just put my photographs. I have few friends who ask me to tweet for them. So, I tweet. 

Was this the reason you suddenly gave an interview after that?

That’s why I gave an interview 6-7 months back. I didn’t expect anyone to read it, but I spoke. And then the interview went viral. I was like, my god, people really want to read about me. It was so nice. I was really happy that people read it and understood what I had to say.

I don’t like to pity myself. I think the worst thing anyone can do to themselves is pity. You have to be honest and I was honest in the article. I went through all those things. I took support of things which were not right for me. But a human being is a weak person. They use these things to come out of things and then get drowned in it. But I didn’t drown, I came out. 

Dharamji said a couple of years back that you won’t take the Yamla Pagla Deewana franchise forward. But recently there was news that you are going ahead with the third part. 

At that time we were very disappointed because the film didn’t shape up the way we wanted it to. And my dad just says what he feels. He was upset that we upset our fans by making a not-so-great film.

This time we have worked hard to get a good script. We have tried to put everything in place. I am sure it will turn out to be a good project and the end product will be good. But something obviously can go wrong. Our belief and faith is that we are trying to do a good film. 

What is going through you as far as the box office is concerned?

I am going away, I am not here (laughs). I am going to Manali. Right from the beginning, whenever my film nears release, I just run away. I can’t be in Bombay. It’s too stressful. I am too sensitive a person. I just can’t handle it. I would be lying if I say I am not scared. I am nervous and scared and hopeful and wishing for the best. Hopefully, my brother will be shooting in Manali. I will be with him.