Return of the Hero

Sunny Deol on Singh Saab the Great,the paucity of stories in Bollywood and how actors have become products.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published:November 19, 2013 4:27 am

Counting the number of days left for the release of his upcoming film Singh Saab the Great,actor Sunny Deol stopped by the city,and indulged in a candid conversation — on playing a Sikh character in six films,promotion spree,shortage of subjects in Bollywood,and on his refusal to be bracketed in the 50-plus age-group. “I’m still a 30-year-old in my head. One is as young as one wants to be,” says the actor,adding that he doesn’t care about the “older heroes opposite much younger heroines” charges. “I am an actor. This is our job,age has nothing to do with it,” he says.

Even though his signature turban — which has catapulted him to a mass hero status — was missing,Deol’s “Sardar” spirit was alive and kicking. “I like the feel of victory,I don’t like sad endings,one has to walk out of the hall feeling good about the film,” he says. Living by a moral code of conduct,Deol draws inspiration from the Sikh Gurus,warriors and leaders. Be it in Border,Gadar: Ek Prem Katha,Jo Bole So Nihal,even Yamla Pagla Deewana,or now Singh Saab the Great,Deol has roared his characters to towering lives. His turbanator avatar with rousing speeches and high-powered action works as a major crowdpuller,but it’s not a conscious decision,he says. “I’ve always been versatile. I was shooting for Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 when Singh Saab’s schedule started,and it was difficult to straddle two different looks,” says Deol.

His idea of a hero resonates with the righteous,and he’d like to essay historical characters such as Ashoka and Prithviraj Chauhan for their “nobility,virtuosity and a reason for living”. Like Arjun,Ghayal,Ghatak and Damini,Singh Saab too toes the line of justice. “He is a collector who fights corruption. He is about badlaav (change),and not badla (revenge),and no,it’s not Satyakam,” says the actor.

So,it goes with the current tide of the country? “If the film works,yes,it is the right time,but I do have something for the critics,” he says.

What’s happening with the sequel to Ghayal? “Uhno nazar lag gayee hai (it’s jinxed). But if Singh Saab works,I will push for the release of my other film in waiting,Mohalla Assi,” says Deol. This year will also see the release of his first romcom,titled I Love New Year.

A big fan of the “early to bed early to rise” life,Deol is familiarising himself with the perks of promotions. “An actor today is a product. He/she is making more money from things other than acting,and it has not been easy for a person like me who shies from ground shows and big gatherings. The media hype creates a lot of pressure to deliver. I come from a time when box-office returns and ratings didn’t matter,only the audience did. Being a sportsperson,however,has taught me you win some,or lose some,” he adds.

Deol now wants to go back to directing,and make films beyond “colour,costume or camera work”. “There is a dearth of stories for only a good subject retains the audiences,” says Deol.

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