With Race 3, Bobby Deol has done more than shedding his inhibitions. The 49-year-old, who by his own admission is “very shy”, will be seen shirtless with Salman Khan in this July 23 release. When he was shooting for Soldier (1998), its producer, Ramesh Taurani, wanted him to remove his shirt but Deol was hesitant. However, when Khan suggested a scene in Race 3 featuring both of them shirtless, Deol agreed to give it a shot.
With the movie, Khan is orchestrating Deol’s return to the world of glamour and action movies. Once Khan had mentioned to Bobby how he piggybacked on his co-stars, Sunny Deol in Jeet (1996) and Sanjay Dutt in Saajan (1991), when he was going through a rough patch. Only seen in home productions of late, Bobby wondered if he could seek Khan’s support to resuscitate his career. The latter responded by offering Bobby a role in Race 3. He was also advised by Khan to shave off his beard and take care of his body. “By the time I was offered Race 3, I had realised that I had to salvage my career on my own. I became more focussed, started watching my diet by taking high protein and low-carb, and exercised more. I told myself that I may get a phone call from anyone, anytime. In the last three years, I also met a lot of people from the industry. I was preparing myself and I could sense the difference. My skin started glowing, I looked fresh,” says Bobby. He is “super excited” and “nervous” about Race 3, which is a major screen outing for him. “For the first time, I was on a shoot where every actor was in the gym, working out. The film is all about action. Everyone had to be fit. Anil Kapoor is so energetic and Salman has the fire to do better,” he recalls.
After making his debut with Barsaat (1995), Bobby established himself as a popular actor in the ’90s, with films such as Gupt (1997) and Soldier (1998). However, in the last decade, his screen appearances became sporadic, and limited to home productions such as Yamla Pagla Deewana (2011) and Poshter Boyz (2017). “I didn’t move with time. Earlier, people used to come to my house with offers. That started changing as more actors came in and competition intensified. Actors reached out to filmmakers and expressed their excitement to take up certain projects. Now, I want to go out and meet people,” says Bobby, adding that he is now open to accepting interesting roles that come his way. “If it’s a good production, then I’m open to a web series too. I am happy as long as I’m working. Every actor grows with experience. I want to play characters that have depth. It doesn’t have to be the main lead but should be author-backed,” says Bobby. He does have preferences though. “After Humraaz (2002), my image has been that of a sweetheart and a suave man. So many women have told me they wished their husband was like my character. I love to spread that kind of positive feeling,” says the actor.