For filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai, Abhay Deol learned to talk with a Tamilian accent, worked on maintaining an athletic body and grew a moustache. The last was the most fun, says the actor.
“Growing a moustache was hard work,” he says. “Sometimes it was fun to have one, at other times, not so much. But I loved it.” While shooting for Shanghai, Abhay had to take time out to promote Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011). “It felt a bit odd to step out wearing casual clothes and a moustache at that time,” he says. “But I felt fine with the moustache when I wore formals for the Shanghai shoots.” And, more personally, his girlfriend Preeti Desai liked his moustache very much, he adds.
Most Hindi film heroes tend to be clean-shaven, but moustached stars are not new, says Abhay. “Moustaches have been around since ages,” he says. “Prithiviraj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan and many others have had moustaches in their movies. The idea that moustaches are trending now is wrong.”
Shanghai is a political thriller with Abhay playing an IAS officer named Krishnan, who is posted in Maharashtra. The film’s promos have got people talking, says Abhay. “People have told me they liked the elements and enjoyed the promos,” he says. “Everyone has been noticed, from Farooque Sheikh to Prosenjit to Emraan and me.”
But the actor isn’t willing to talk about his role in the film. “It is not easy to explain my role. It isn’t so clear-cut as to be labelled a black, blue, grey or white role. I want people to watch the film without preconceived notions.”