He may be better at playing a cheerful hustler than knocking bad guys out cold, but Abhay Deol is tougher than you think. For his upcoming movie, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the actor learnt deep sea diving in rather choppy conditions. “I began learning to dive in Mumbai, and then completed my training in Spain, where the movie is being shot. The trainers didn’t tell us that the conditions were unfavourable until we had completed the session,” he says.
But, Deol insists that he was never worried. “I didn’t know any better, so I wasn’t scared. The boat was rocking because the sea was slightly rough, but I just figured that, that’s the way it was supposed to be,” he says casually.
The actor, who is also learning the Israeli martial art form, Krav Maga, reveals that his next film, helmed by Zoya Akhtar, is a light, slightly comical flick. “My character deals with an issue that almost everyone goes through, so he’s relatable. It’s not dramatic, neither is it trivial. But Zoya has designed the movie in a way that the drama reveals itself without weighing you down.”
The last time Akhtar directed a film, Luck by Chance (2009), it released around the same time as Deol’s neo-cult movie, Dev D, and both received critical acclaim. Now, he’s excited to team up with her. “Zoya and I have always been on the same wavelength. I think she’s very talented, so naturally I was excited when she approached me with a role,” says the actor.
Deol, who practiced Spanish during his stay in Spain, proudly adds, “I can order food and ask for directions in Spanish.” As for shooting in the football-crazy nation, Deol says he was kicked to be a part of the FIFA World Cup celebrations. “The entire crew — both Indians and Spaniards — were rooting for Spain. And, after Spain won the Cup, it was like being in India during Diwali.
The whole country went crazy; people were driving around the streets, honking loudly. We played volleyball on the beach in the night. The energy levels were so high, it was a historic moment.”