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Abhay Deol wants to assert versatility with ‘Zindagi…’

He is popularly known as the poster boy of the “non-commercial cinema” and that visibly irks Deol.

Written by Dipti Nagpaul D'souza |
January 14, 2011 11:21:48 pm

He is popularly known as the poster boy of the “non-commercial cinema” and that visibly irks Abhay Deol. “People just want to put you in a box and label you because it’s convenient for them,” he rues. “I started out with Socha Na Tha,which is a love story and became typified as a soft hero. Then Manorama Six Feet Under,a suspense thriller,made people take me seriously. I followed it up with a dark comedy,Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!,and dramas in Dev.D and Road,Movie. Yet,people want to categorise me.”

Dressed in a white shirt and a beige corduroy trouser,the 34-year-old looks much like his on-screen character Arjun Burman from Aisha. With a disarming smile,however,he admits that he takes sadistic pleasure each time he steps out of the boundaries being drawn around him. Right now,he is laughing out loud because his next release is Zoya Akhtar’s big budget multi-starrer Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with Hrithik Roshan,Farhan Akhtar,Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. After that he begins work on Dibakar Banerjee’s political thriller Shanghai,an equally “commercial film”. “It’s a film with the song and dance routines but also one that is high on content. Zoya is a good filmmaker who knows how to cut across.”

Deol’s obsession with content is well-known in the industry. In fact,since the actor supports the edgy,alternative themes within commercial space,he launched his own production house,Forbidden Films,last year to lend support to filmmakers willing to experiment. Navdeep Singh was to direct its first production,Basra,this year but the film has hit a roadblock. “I realised that producing the film gives me more control on the script. But I’ve slowed down operations in order to be more thorough. Two scripts are being worked on currently,of which I am writing one,” says the actor whose first attempt at scripting was Anurag Kashyap-directed Dev.D.

Dev.D also helped establish him as a brand. But Deol feels that stardom is a Catch-22 trap where one has to be driven by ambition,confirm to popular image and sign up with a big production house so that other producers sign him on as well. There is a temptation to give in,he confesses. “I’m only human,” he sighs. “But I deal with the pressure by simply not competing; I am aware of my strengths. But then,every now and then,I reach out to the masses by doing films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,” he laughs.

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