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Last Updated 18.06.2024 | 11:01 PM IST
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EXCLUSIVE: Deepak Tijori surfaces in a new avatar with Ittar; motion poster out; also reveals how Govind Nihalani refused to work with him in the past as he felt he was a ‘highly commercial PROPERTY’

en Bollywood News EXCLUSIVE: Deepak Tijori surfaces in a new avatar with Ittar; motion poster out; also reveals how Govind Nihalani refused to work with him in the past as he felt he was a ‘highly commercial PROPERTY’

Deepak Tijori earned immense popularity with his acting chops in the 90s. In the early 2000s, he turned into a director and soon, he became choosy about his acting assignments. But in 2023, he’s all set to make a comeback as an actor, while also neatly balancing his directorial projects. In an exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama, he speaks about his 2.0 avatar and a lot more.

EXCLUSIVE: Deepak Tijori surfaces in a new avatar with Ittar; motion poster out; also reveals how Govind Nihalani refused to work with him in the past as he felt he was a ‘highly commercial PROPERTY’

EXCLUSIVE: Deepak Tijori surfaces in a new avatar with Ittar; motion poster out; also reveals how Govind Nihalani refused to work with him in the past as he felt he was a ‘highly commercial PROPERTY’

You are making a comeback as an actor. Can you please talk about it?
I have done a lot of work as an actor off late and I am fortunate for that. One fine day, I decided that I don’t want to colour my hair. I got bored and tired of dying my hair every 15 days. I wanted to be my age. Anyway, I was not acting at that time. Everybody around also started accepting me (with my new look).

Once, I was at Nature’s Basket where I bumped into Veena Bakshi, who’s a director. She had made a National Award-winning film, The Coffin Maker with Naseeruddin Shah. She was my junior in school and her younger sister was my batch mate. We were all Jamnabai kids. She had also worked with Mansoor Khan as an advertising director. We never worked together but we obviously knew each other. She saw me in my new look and she immediately offered her film Ittar to me.

This was a time when I was getting calls but I was not very happy with the offers. It was the same kind of offer that made me stay away from acting. In our industry, everybody wants to put you in a bracket. And to get out of the bracket is the most painful journey for an actor. I was bracketed into playing a hero’s friend, sidekick, supporting character etc. But with the advent of OTT, I saw things changing. Now, even Gajraj Rao, Manoj Bajpayee and Pankaj Tripathi are heroes. I knew ki actors ke liye accha time aa raha hai. And this is when Veena put her script into my lap. It was something I always wanted to do. This cinema never accepted me in my days, although I tried.

In the 90s, I was doing stuff like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, etc. I was a commercial actor and a buffoon with long hair! One day, when I was in Holiday Inn, I saw Govind Nihalani sitting over there. He was waiting for somebody. I approached him and asked him if I can speak to him for 2 minutes. He said, ‘Yes, Deepak. Come’. I was happy that he knew my name! I told him that I respect his work and would love to collaborate with him. He just looked at me and said, ‘Deepak, you can never work with me’. I was shocked. I asked, ‘Why?’. He replied, ‘Because my cinema is totally different and you are a highly commercial property’! I almost died when I heard that (laughs). I told him, ‘I really want to do this cinema and I understand what you mean. Maybe that's why nobody takes me seriously’.

Govind ji’s observations kept playing in my mind and it does so even today. I never tried to venture into that zone. Though I love intellectual cinema, I felt that main uske liye nahin banna hoon. I had seen Irrfan doing such cinema and he had created a niche for himself. Hence, the script of Ittar made me feel that finally, I can venture into this space. I lapped it up. The producers – Tanuj Bhramar and Karan Singh – were also quite amazing and had made some acclaimed festival films in the past. I knew I was in good hands.

I was always scared of looking at myself on screen with salt and pepper hair. I had an image in the minds of the public. That’s why precisely I wanted to not think of myself as the Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) guy and instead, see myself as Keshav (his character in Ittar) who’s part of the new world. I wanted to work hard as Keshav and have no resemblance to what work I had done in the past. Most of the actors sit on the monitor and observe their performance. But I never saw myself. Only when Veena asked me to look to check my position did I have a look. I directly saw the final cut. I had butterflies at that time as it was my rebirth.

Thanks to my new look, now I have started getting offers from semi-commercial and middle-of-the-road cinema.

Meanwhile, I began work on Tipppsy, my directorial commercial venture. I never planned to be a part of it as an actor. I had cast another actor for the cop’s role and we got the dates. But one of my actors met with a small accident. She had to skip work for three days, due to which my schedule went haywire. As a result, the actor, who was supposed to play the cop, had to drop out as he had committed his dates for a Tamil film. With no other option, I had to jump in. My character is the one who does the investigation. It’s a very striking character.

 

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What are the release plans?
Both Ittar and Tipppsy are now completed. We’ll announce the release dates soon

The motion poster of Ittar has been out…
Yes, I am excited about the feedback. I hope and pray that the audience, which has loved so much in the past, will like to see me in a different light.

Will both films be released in cinemas?
Yes. While Ittar is a nice, happy, family film, Tipppsy has a youthful, peppy feel. It’s a whodunit.

Is there anything else in the pipeline?
I have some offers and that’s also very exciting. One of them is inspired by a true story and also has an important message. The other one is semi-commercial.

When will your web series go on floors?
It’s got pushed a little. It was going to be shot in March but it’ll be shot in May.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Deepak Tijori remembers Neeraj Vora on his 60th birth anniversary; reveals that Pehla Nasha’s STAR-STUDDED scene, featuring Shah Rukh, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan was his creation


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