On the right track

Ahead of Race 3, Bobby Deol on his gruelling return to films and gaining his father’s appreciation

On a cab ride punctuated only by the change of songs on the driver’s ’90s-Bollywood-hits playlist, ‘Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili’ from Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Kareeb (1998) emerges. Coincidentally, the journey is for a chat with its star – Bobby Deol. Before long it becomes evident that the Deol brothers’ presence during the era was undeniable as the songs that follow are also ones that his elder brother Sunny Deol shook a leg to on the big screen.

Back to the grind

When we later sit down to talk about his upcoming role in Race 3, Bobby’s nostalgia is palpable, but his excitement for what the future holds quickly supersedes his reminiscing. “The first time I had shot in the desert was for Soldier (1998), and I had shot a song [Mere Khwabon Mein Tu] for Gupt (1997) in the Jaisalmer dunes,” he reminisces. “After that I shot for Race 3 in the desert. So you just get nostalgic. You’re so happy you’re back here, doing your work, getting an opportunity to go to these exotic places of India. It’s just been fun!” says the 49-year-old.

For the third film of the Bollywood action-thriller franchise, Remo D’Souza will step into the director duo Abbas-Mustan’s shoes, and Bobby will share the screen along with Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor and Jacqueline Fernandez to name a few. In the recent past, the actor has been candid about the slump that resulted in his four-year hiatus before Poster Boys (2017) – a time that nearly turned him into an alcoholic. It was around then he met Salman Khan who told him to shave his beard, and even worked towards doing a film together – an effort that materialised with Race 3. “I realised that if someone like Salman is [motivating] me, I need to be prepared. Any time someone can come knocking at your door, [and] if you’re not ready, you won’t get it,” shares Bobby.

Return to roots

What followed for the actor were extensive and rigorous workouts to make a comeback to action. “I was dying to do an action film. [Even] my fans want me to be a part of a thriller and an action film,” he says. It’s a matter of returning to his roots since some of his biggest hits including Soldier and even Humraaz (2002), a romantic thriller, had the complicated and tortuous plots that have come to define Abbas-Mustan’s style. Yet D’Souza’s treatment of Race 3 will purportedly have it stand apart from its predecessors’. “It has got Salman, so you have to cater to Salman’s persona,” says the actor with a smile.

The actor got support from all quarters once he started building his physique – including from the Deol patriarch, Dharmendra. “The gym is next to my dad’s [Dharmendra’s] room. He said ‘kapde kyun nahi pehne? Thand lag jaayegi’(Why haven’t you worn clothes? You’ll feel cold)” shares Bobby about the time he worked out at home shirtless. “[I was embarrassed] he saw me! Then he says, ‘Oye! Idhar aa (come here)! Achha lag raha hai (It looks good). ’ So that inspired me, [and I knew] that I was on the right track. If your dad reacts like that, and your brother is so happy…” he grins.

But once on set, the shoot was not always the easiest for the actor, sharing that he experienced vertigo for the first time while shooting a song, and even pulled a muscle on the first day he performed a stunt. But in the face of all that, Deol stresses he enjoyed every bit of the shoot.

Family business

Apart from the release of his own film, the actor is excited about his nephew Karan’s debut in Sunny’s next directorial venture – Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, named after the song from Dharmendra’s 1973 hit, Blackmail. Bobby also starred in the first film his brother directed, Dillagi (1999), and considers it his best performance till date. With the return of the Deol trinity in Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se coming up, one wonders what the actor thinks of nepotism. “Yeh nepotism samajh mein nahin aata (I don’t understand it). You just have to work, and get work,” he says simply.

His other projects in the pipline include Housefull 4, and the actor puts to rest rumours about being a part of Khan’s Bharat. “People think Salman loves me so he’ll take me in every film,” laughs Bobby. “He is planning to do something with me, but I am not a part of Bharat. Though I wish I was a part of every Salman film!” he jokes.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:08:45 AM |

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