A sturdy action hero, he's been Mr Invisible of late...unless you count the misbegotten Big Brother, which arrived and disappeared at the speed of lightening.
Right now, he is gung-ho about the Anil Sharma-directed Apne, which teams him up with dad Dharmendra and brother Bobby.
In his trademark denim jeans, a floppy cotton shirt and a disposition suggesting that he believes interviews are a necessary evil, the actor's okay for a tête-à-tête over coffee and sandwiches.
Inevitably, he waxes eloquent about Apne, the film which brings the three Deol men together. Any questions about the film having shades of Hollywood's Champ are best avoided or darted to director Sharma.
Also, every journo is aware that if any question is asked.. even remotely connected to his private life.. he'd better be ready for a biff-pow-bang on the job, and a week's recuperation at the hospital.
The rules of a q-and-a with Sunny Deol are firmly established in glamour land.. in fact, I've been warned only to ask about Apne, Apne and more Apne. At the risk of that stay in the hospital, I address several other inquiries that have been discussed in the trade and print, but not answered by the man himself.
Since this interview is appearing in print, I may declare that I could write it from my office comp and not from a hospital bed laptop.
Thank you, Sunny.. he does seem to be a much cooler and companionable person today. The interview:
The last few years have been pretty rough on you.. right?
In terms of sorting out your financial difficulties.. a recurring backache.. and so on. Well, yes, the last few years have been tough so far.. but life's looking up. I'm hopeful of a better tomorrow.
You'r back to doing acting stuntbaazi in Fool N Final. What about the condition of your back?
Every kind of precaution was taken not to aggravate my condition. I've had this back problem for so many years now.. I'm going to live with it..
Have you been sorted out your financial problems?
There have been financial issues but I'm nearly out of them.. let's say I'm getting out of the woods. Last year, you had spoken about coproducing seven films with K Sera Sera Productions.
<b1>What's the status on that now?
To be honest, I don't know much about this association with K Sera Sera. I don't know if it's happening at all. I'll be starting my own film production eventually.
In that case, what happens to Guru Dakshina, the film you were doing with director Ashwini Chaudhary?
It's still in the discussion stage.
Did you give any advice to Bobby when he signed up for Jhoom Barabar Jhoom?
After all, you had serious issues with Yash Chopra on Darr. That Bobby is working with Yashraj Films is fine, I don't need to give him any advice on that. Similarly, I have had some issues with Suneel Darshan too.. but I didn't let them come in way of Bobby doing films with him.
How can I let my personal differences come in the way of Bobby's career?
One never knows whether you have patched up with Rajkumar Santoshi or not.
There's news that you both will team up again.. and there's news that there's been a fall-out yet again.
(Glares) All I'll say to this is that of late, Santoshi and I have been talking.. but let's see what happens. If we ever do a film together again, it's entirely my call and his, not the media's.
How does it feel to see your father back as an actor in Metro, Apne and Johnny Gadaar?
An actor like dad can never retire, I was hoping he'd return to acting earlier.. and am glad that he has. I'm a believer in destiny.. but I also feel that one shouldn't just sit around blaming destiny for whatever happens…for an actor, it's his performance that counts.
It's been years since Dillagi. Will you direct again?
There were some indications that you would direct a film with the three Deols. It would have been great if all three of us came together in a film made by us. But frankly, I cannot think of directing again unless I come across a subject that makes me return behind the camera.
I can't plot and plan to return to direction just for the heck of it. If I don't have the conviction, how can I make a movie that I can't be proud about? There are some ideas and concepts, perhaps it's just a matter of time before I decide on one and begin working on it.
Sequels seem to be the order of the day. The buzz is that you're doing two follow-ups.. Ghayal with Tigmanshu Dhulia and Gadar with Guddu Dhanoa.
I did met Tigmanshu and we had decided to do a sequel to Ghayal. But I don't know what happened after that.. I haven't heard from the producers for months. As for the Guddu's sequel to Gadar, I'm clueless about that. You seem to better informed than I am.
<b3>Isn't Guddu Dhanoa's Victory planned as a sequel to Gadar?
(Bristling) My main concerns today are on Apne. It will be released soon after Fool N Final. Then there's Kaafila directed by Amtoje Mann. These will be followed by some new projects, which I'll start shooting from June-July.. to be wrapped up in two months straight.
Contrary to rumours, I don't delay projects.. other factors go wrong and I'm made the scapegoat. Although you're shy and reserved, you're said to be intimidating.
What's the real Sunny like?
The real Sunny is as you see me.. the other Sunny can be intimidating when he's provoked.. or pushed into a corner.
When were you last pushed into a corner?
(Laughs) Just now.. by this interview.