Bobby Deol needs no introduction, does he? We have grown up watching his films, especially the 90's kids. The dimpled actor has been part of some of the best movies to date that includes, Kareeb, Soldier, Ajnabee, Gupt and many more.
Despite being in the industry for over 25 years, he is still one of the underrated actors we have in Bollywood. Undoubtedly every film that Bobby has been part of has outshined and charmed the audience as well as the critics with his acting prowess. Bobby didn't have a journey with a bed full of roses. Despite being a star kid, he had to wait for the right role to come his way. And now it seems that his struggle and hard work has paid off!
Much recently the actor forayed into digital space, and to his surprise, both the shows did exceptionally well for him. Class of 83 and Aashram currently streaming on Netflix and MX Player respectively has changed many people's outlook towards him.
In an exclusive tête-à-tête with International Business Times, India, actor Bobby Deol spoke at length about on grabbing these two superhit projects on webspace, despite being in the industry for over 25 years, why he still didn't get his choice of roles, working with Prakash Jha, come back after a setback and much much more.
Excerpts from the candid conversation.
How does it feel after giving two back to back hits?
It feels incredible, it feels great. The webspace it's treating me good, the amount of appreciation and love that I got for my work is just very encouraging, and I am grateful to the new fans that I have gained through the web.
Were offered a web show before Class of 83 and Aashram?
I was open to the web for a long time, and I was waiting for an excellent role to come my way. I don't consider medium, for an actor any kind of medium is good. Amidst a pandemic, your work has come out, and in time like this, you are entertaining public. Overall it's a nice feeling.
What kinds of projects were offered to you in the digital space?
There were a lot of projects that came to me, and it was a conscious effort as an actor to do the roles that I have taken. Both these roles (in Class of 83 and Aashram) are different, and these characters weren't offered to me before. These characters that I did didn't come easily; both of these shows released simultaneously.
In a way, people now understand that Bobby Deol can play different characters. After these two shows, people look at me as an actor, and I am so humbled and touched by all the love that is pouring in.
As you play a negative role (Baba in Ashram, do you believe in saints and baba's in real life?
All this is a part of the culture. There are so many great baba and great human beings around us who have given good education to their followers. In the society evil people also exist, menacing, criminal and conman. They take advantage of the people who have blind faith in them. The role that I play in Ashram is completely negative, and it was very challenging to play this character.
Speaking about preparing for the role he went to say...
From the last 25 years, I was hoping to get a chance to work with him and finally, I got the opportunity to meet him and work with him. When I was told about the character, even I was surprised that Prakash's ji thought of me for this role, and that gave me confidence that Prakash ji believes in me and he chose me for the role. I worked very hard to get onto the skin of the character. A conman has a way of speaking in a way that people get mesmerised by them. To get the nuances of the role, I did my lines with Sunitaji, she was very helpful, and she explained me every word that gave me a more in-depth insight to why a baba talks in a certain way. And Prakash ji was there to guide me, so there was nothing to fear.
Do you follow and saint?
My gurus are my mom and dad. They have taught me a lot about life, about what is right or wrong; whatever I have learnt is from them. I couldn't look anyone beyond them. There are a lot of people who you meet in your day to day life that inspire you and whatever good you hear and see around; you tend to follow them.
Are you religious or spiritual?
My belief is that love your fellow men, I believe agar aap ek dusre mein pyaar rakhenge toh yeh duniya bahut kamal ki jagah ban jayegi. And that's the most important thing that people should have faith and belief in. That's what I believe in.
Are you happy the way career has shaped up!
Yes, I mean people didn't give me a chance, or maybe I choose the wrong kind of roles and also apni industry mein image ban jati hai, and then you are not offered different kinds of roles, you are only offered roles that go with your image, and it's very difficult to break out of that. When I went through a bad phase in my career and started again, my aim was to look for characters that give me the opportunity to showcase myself as an actor. I'm so blessed and lucky that I got these two opportunities to showcase myself as an actor. I'm great that and people are seeing it and are appreciating my work. I'm deeply touched and moved by their gesture.
After a setback, there is always a comeback; what kept you going amidst these dark and gloomy days?
When you go through a bad phase, you lose hope, you give up, and you have no faith in yourself. The day I realised that I'm doing this to myself nobody can help you only you can help yourself, that day I realised that I have to have faith in myself, as I have the capabilities. Every individual has capabilities it's just that they need to have confidence in themselves. The day I realised the faith inside me became very powerful and encouraged me to charge me up to work hard, to be persistent, to be positive and that's how I have been since the time I have come back. And that's what happens when your work attracts people, your focus attracts people, and your persistence attracts people, and that's what worked for me and helped me. People had seen my work, and they knew I am capable, and I was just looking for the right kind of roles and it's not easy to get right type of parts you have to keep searching, waiting, and keep trying and meeting people, and then finally things happen.
What /who inspires you?
My father is my inspiration. I have never seen any person work so hard in his life. He started working from the time he was a teenager. He ran away from home to become an actor and struggled for so many years, even though he got his first break, he had to still struggle. He is my inspiration because I look at him and I look at him now he is 83-84, and he still wants to work, the energy and the fire that he has in him is fantastic and unmatchable. Therefore, my dad is my inspiration.
During that phase of my life, I stopped doing everything. I did not work out. Nothing was going right, I was not taking care of my health, and I saw myself and realised what have I done to myself? Since I was a kid I have seen my father and brother into fitness, suddenly I realised that health is wealth, you can have all the wealth in life, but if you have no health, there is no wealth because can't enjoy your wealth. So fitness is essential it gives you more confidence, it keeps your mind sharp, it keeps you alert. I think it's not just for actors; it's for any other profession. Also, people should indulge in fitness because fitness gives you more energy to work harder.
Has the struggle now ended?
Well, you can never let yourself become lazy you have to keep working hard, No matter how much you achieve you know this is just the beginning. You have to keep working hard and for an actor, every day is a struggle, and I think you have to keep yourself motivated and not get easy about things after giving a successful project. If you have to keep working hard and now I will work harder and keep doing the best work I can.
Shows that you like on the web?
The best thing about the web is there are genres that I might not like to watch otherwise because there is so much content when you scroll through you end up saying you might never want to see and then you see and enjoy. I like to watch thrillers, comedy and dramas. Jaise bolte hai na aapka favourite gaana kaunsa hai jo gaana sound accha Karta hai woh mujhe acha lagta hai. Jo sound acha nai karta woh mujhe accha nai lagta.
One word, what would that be and why?
I'm finally Bobby Deol, 'actor' Bobby Deol.
Well, I'm meeting a lot of people, and nothing is finalised as yet. I can't talk about it. So once something gets later loses and gets finalised, I will talk about it.