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RAISING THE BAR Abhay Deol

RAISING THE BAR Abhay Deol   | Photo Credit: AP

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Abhay Deol says the rebel in him is still alive

It was Oye Lucky Oye which proved Abhay Deol as a non-conformist actor who engages with the craft of cinema at every level. Though the actor has come far, the description of a rebel actor is still apt for him. “The rebel in me is not just still there but it’s growing. Just because I am settled in other aspects of my life, my desire to raise the bar and go beyond the mainstream narrative has not died. My belief that the non-formula films can also work has not diminished,” asserts the actor who was in Capital recently to talk about his latest release, Naanu Ki Jaanu. The film might not have set the box office on fire but the horror-comedy again ticked the ‘experimental’ tag that is associated with Abhay.

Abhay’s seemingly bold choices with films like Dev D, Manorama Six Feet Under and Road, Movie proved successful but as the multiplex became the new default exhibition space, according to him, the surge in experimentation did not continue with as much vigour as it was earlier. “At that time, multiplexes, as exhibition spaces, needed different genres of work to exhibit and we got lucky that time with those films,” he remembers.

Along with his unique gaze, his boyish tone is one of the attributes that define his on-screen persona. Does he want to remain in a niche space? “For the industry, it is important to put people in boxes. I don’t feel that way but yes my choices can be niche and when you are not following the mainstream, you automatically create a niche for yourself. The industry experts may say that I have a niche audience but I have no intentions as such,” remarks Abhay. Be it Raanjhanaa, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara or the recent Happy Bhaag Jayegi, he reminds, that he has been a part of many mainstream ensembles. “But films in my kitty are as usual less,” he smiles.

He does not want to be choosy all the time but, according to him, his non-conformist approach stops him from entering the formulaic space. This doesn’t worry him either. “I have privileges and a secure life and I am thankful for everything. I am trying to give back by pursuing the projects that I like more diligently,” says Abhay. During breaks between films, he pursues a routine life. “It is my choice of life. Maybe, I am older now and with age comes the desire to have a routine life,” opines the actor. “When I am not working, I try to develop stories and script ideas which keep me engaged. I travel a lot and it gives me an opportunity to observe people,” he adds.

Though cinema is very dear to him, he hardly keeps a check on the kinds of films that are releasing these days. “I have only watched Shape of Water in last few months but I am sure there is more support for new writers and directors. But filmmakers have to realise that they have to raise the bar because they are competing with content from around the world and there far more platforms for entertainment than ever before. When formula films are dooming a lot more often at the box office, there is no guarantee of anything now,” quips Abhay.

His desire to make the so called off beat films mainstream keeps him going and he is optimistic in this regard. “It may not happen during my career span but the efforts of many artists can make this happen. Studios around the world are only interested in making money and they have no bone of creativity. But one has to understand that the creative part of the game cannot be sidetracked because of money,” sums up Abhay.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 10:43:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/in-search-of-an-alternative/article23694346.ece

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