Abhay Deol in a freewheeling chat with Subhash K Jha.
It’s been a while since we saw you on screen. Where are you? Have you migrated to the US?
Ha ha, no. I haven’t migrated to the US!
Your last Bollywood outing 1 By 2 proved to be damaging on many counts. In hindsight, do you think it was premature for you to turn producer?
Nope. I learnt a lot in my outing as a producer and it has opened many new doors for me. In life, you only learn from taking chances.
You also took on a music label.
I hope, in the future, filmmakers have a more than 1 or 2 choices. For a market to thrive, there has to be a level playing field for all professionals.
In spite of such thoughtful performances in recent films like Shanghai and Chakrvayuh, why do we see so little of you on screen? After so many years in Hindi cinema, where do you see yourself fitting in?
It’s a media driven world and I guess I need to be more media savvy. I’m also very picky with my films. It’s hard to find the right fit. After so many years, I still need to fit in! I’ve heard many people say that to me. Maybe that is true or maybe that is not, I believe if a film maker wants to work with you and use you for what you have then he/she will do it. That’s how both Oye Lucky … and Dev D happened.
Your first international film The Lovers is set for a release. What is your role in it? Are you satisfied with the way your film and the role has turned out?
I haven’t seen the film and I have not spoken to Roland or the producers in a while.
Do you think American cinema takes Bollywood seriously?
American film-makers, as I have understood, look at Bollywood with an amused curiosity. Musicals traditionally are rare in Hollywood, so that automatically puts all of Bollywood into one genre. Bollywood also relies much more on spectacle than Hollywood barring the super hero movies. Bollywood for them is a genre by itself. The word brings up images of bright colours, music, spectacle, beautiful women and muscular men. Funnily enough, most of them haven’t seen any Bollywood film but the name is something they are aware of. Oxford dictionary zindabad!
Out of curiosity, which films so far have been the most satisfying and which the most unfulfilling for you?
Most satisfying would be Dev D, Shanghai, and Manorama 6 Feet Under. They were heavily driven by the characters. Least satisfying would be the ones where I didn’t have much to do. I leave that to you to decide which ones!
Let’s talk a bit about the mind space you are in right now. You’ve always been a bit of a maverick. I remember you did a course in welding. What are your pursuits other than acting at the moment?
I’m in a very good mind space. Ups and downs come and go, the important thing is to live them fully and understand them. The more experiences you have, the more you understand as long as you remain open.
Any chances of turning director in the near future?
Right now, most of my focus is on the acting and producing front. All my energies are focused on making the next film that will break the mold. I have no plans to turn director; I’m not in that mind space at all. So, I wouldn’t go there until I feel sure that I am ready.
To turn to your private space a bit, when do we see you and the lovely Ms. Preeti Desai tie the knot? How would you define your relationship with her?
Haha… I’m often asked this question! Not anytime soon. I don’t define relationships that can’t be. It’s everything and nothing at the same time. The kind that makes you learn how to live and how to be.
When do you return to India and to which projects?
I will return soon. I’m having too much fun here in the US! I have 2 confirmed projects back at home, a big commercial film and a small off beat radical one. I may have found the perfect balance.