He has charted out a different path for himself in Bollywood with out-of-the-box films like ’Oye Lucky Lucky Oye’ and ‘Dev D’ but what irks Abhay Deol the most is being labelled as a ‘non-commercial’ and ’non-mainstream’ actor.
Abhay, who started his journey as a romantic hero in Imtiaz Ali’s debut film ‘Socha Na Tha’ in 2005, has come a long way in the industry.
And while he likes to be part of movies that are different and do not follow the formula, Abhay says being labelled harms him as an actor.
“I dislike labels like commercial and non commercial.
As soon as you say that this film is not commercial you kill the market of a movie. It harms me when people say I am non-mainstream or non-commercial actor. I try to fight off such labels,” Abhay told PTI in an interview.
The actor will next be seen Dev Benegal’s internationally acclaimed film ‘Road, Movie’, which is releasing in India tomorrow.
But despite coming from a Bollywood family with names like Dharmendra as his uncle and Sunny and Bobby Deol as his brothers, getting roles in the industry post the failure of his first film was not easy for Abhay.
“When ‘Socha Na Tha’ flopped, it was very hard to get work as an actor. After ‘Dev D’, I have lot of work and the budget of my films and my fee have increased. Don’t my films make money? If this was the case I would not have survived this far,” he said.
“Just because it is not 100 of crores and does not have the support of big producers does not mean that it is not mainstream. My films are non-conformist and don’t follow a formula and I think people have started to respect such stories,” Abhay, who turned producer recently, said.
The 33-year-old plays Vishnu in ‘Road, Movie’, who offers to drive his uncle’s old truck to a museum and during the course of his journey discovers that the truck has a moving cinema in it. Vishnu meets interesting people on his way.
The film is Benegal’s tribute to India’s movie watching culture and chronicles the colourful but fast disappearing landscapes of the country.
Satish Kaushik and Tannistha Chatterjee are also part of the project, which marks Benegal’s return to direction after ‘Split Wide Open’ in 1999.
Abhay is confident about the film, which has travelled to film festivals like Toronto and Berlin and has been appreciated by international audience. The actor is now looking forward to a positive response in India.
“It is a marriage between an Indian studio and two independent Hollywood producers and a collaboration from around the world. It is a landmark film and I am not saying that because you are supposed to say nice things about your movie. I have a lot of faith in it. It is lot more subtle to what Bollywood makes and what I have done so far,” he said.
Abhay is playing a regular “city kid” in the movie and it was the ordinariness of the character that first attracted him to take up the project.