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Brothers Inc

From mouthing dialogues of Sholay to working together on the sets of 24,Abhinay and Ajinkya Deo have always had fun together

THE first time filmmaker Abhinay Deo shot his brother Ajinkya was when they made a promo of Marathi film,Ek Krantiveer: Vasudev Balwant Phadke for International Film Festival of India,Goa,in 2008. However,for Abhinay,directing Ajinkya in the Indian adaptation of television series 24 has been a more fulfilling experience. “As an actor,he is spontaneous and he is a delight for directors,because he gives you a shot better than you expect,” says Abhinay. Ajinkya,who is a popular actor in Marathi films,happily returns the compliment. “Whenever Abhinay makes anything,there is a humane touch to it.”

We meet the brothers at Goregaon’s Filmistan,where they are shooting for the series. 24 is scheduled to be aired on Colors during the next half of the year. While Abhinay is busy giving instructions,Ajinkya is happy to soak in the atmosphere. For both of them,24 is not just an opportunity to work together,but also a big boost to their careers. Anil Kapoor had first met Abhinay at the success party of Delhi Belly,a film directed by the latter. A few days later,Kapoor asked him to direct 24. “I am a big fan of the original series. I was obviously thrilled when I was offered the show. However,I took some time to decide and eventually agreed,” says Abhinay. As the cast was being finalised,Ajinkya was called to play the role of a RAW agent in the adaptation. “It is a big show and every actor believes that he/she is fortunate to be a part of it. It is the same with me,” he says. The brothers were prompted to co-produce the show with Kapoor under the Ramesh Deo Productions banner.

For the uninitiated,Ajinkya and Abhinay are the sons of veteran actors Seema and Ramesh Deo. So,for the brothers,films and everything else related to that world were a part of life. During their growing up years,Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay was a huge draw,and like many of their generation,it influenced and entertained the brothers immensely. Ajinkya recalls,“In those days,we had an LP of Sholay’s dialogues. I used to imitate Amitabh Bachchan’s dialogues,while Abhinay imitated everyone else’s — Viju Khote and Leela Mishra included.” Abhinay laughs at this mention and says,“We even enacted the fight sequences,where Ajinkya used to literally beat me up.” Ajinkya agrees that he was a bully,and Abhinay the “suppressed and oppressed” one.

They were always as different as chalk and cheese. “I take myself seriously and unnecessarily believe that the burden of the world is on me. Abhinay is more evolved and relaxed,” says Ajinkya,who was seen as the one who will carry his father’s legacy forward and work in films. Abhinay,however,says,“Our mother was keen that we are academically proficient before we joined films. Our parents had seen many people not making it big in the industry. They wanted to make sure that we had something to fall back on.” As a result,Ajinkya studied computer science,while Abhinay enrolled for a degree in architecture. “Abhinay even worked as an architect before he gave it up to direct ad films,and later features. It is perhaps the genes that pushed us both into showbiz,”says Ajinkya.

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The siblings are now in a happy space. While Ajinkya keeps himself busy acting in Marathi and Hindi films,Abhinay’s main interest lies in feature films,apart from handling his home production. In his spare time,he directs ad films. “However,for the next few months,all my time will be taken up by 24,” he says.

Family Matters

Seema and Ramesh Deo portrayed an onscreen couple in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand

The family banner,Ramesh Deo Productions,also set up an ad film division in 2000,which is helmed by Ajinkya.

Abhinay Deo debuted in 1985 and has been praised for his performances in films such as Sarja,Maherchi Sadi and Avgat. The first film Abhinay signed was Delhi Belly,but his first release was Game.