A face that charms you, a smile that bewitches you and an attitude that leaves you smitten, letting you conveniently forget that he is accompanied by his girlfriend of four years, Preeti Desai — a rendezvous with Bollywood actor Abhay Deol leaves you head-over-heels in love with the man; surprisingly, not just for his looks. Package those with his heavy words and the ‘Deol’ tag, and you have the impersonation of an ideal man.
But, his idea of being a Deol is different, as he says, “Being a Deol for me is to be honest; walking with my head held high and never having to bow in front of injustice.”
In Chandigarh on Tuesday to kick-start the promotional tour of the film, he shares, “Initially, I only started talking about the film’s music launch being marred by the music producers on social media. The next day when I was getting ready for the awards, a friend suggested that I paint the eye black. My film is to release on January 31 and till January 14, music albums of the film hadn’t been made available in the markets.”
While the marketing was killed for other reasons, the black eye has gained enough publicity for the film. “People did start talking about it. I don’t know about publicity, but the issue did get highlighted. And, the end result was that they returned the rights to us.”
About to the film, which Abhay is co-producing, he says, “One by Two is a film about two people who live in the same city and do certain things that affect each other’s lives. Yet, they are strangers. It’s difficult to put the film in any particular genre or box.”
Given the description of his character, Amit Sharma, the common man, isn’t the film supporting the current political wave of India? “It’s not a political film at all, but it does go with the current mood. It’s an inspirational film that reaches out to the common man,” says he.
About working with director Devika Bhagat, Abhay says, “I agree that at the end of the day, it’s a man’s world, but when I’m doing a film, I am working with the director, not a man or a woman.”
His equation with Devika goes back a long way, as he discloses, “One by Two happened when once I called Devika to meet me and discussed a subject I had in mind. I have known her for a long time now. In fact, she co-wrote Manorama Six Feet Under. So, she listened to my idea and said she also has one and narrated it. Her idea ended up being better than mine, and here we are, with One by Two.”
Now that he has two professions — acting and producing — Abhay talks about making choices: “As an actor, I would stick to the kind of cinema I do. But, as a producer, I would make anything from a Chennai Express to a Dev D. Acting is more creative and liberating than production. The latter can also be liberating if you do it in a particular manner.”
But, isn’t it suffocating being the face of unconventional roles? “Everyone has an image. One does feel the pressure, but then I guess the pressure is the same as that of a star who is trying to live up to the game of numbers.”
The Pretty Preeti
There is more to Preeti Desai than just being Abhay Deol’s girlfriend. Being the first Indian origin model to win the title of Miss Great Britain to now playing the lead in One by Two, Desai — who was earlier spotted in Shor in the City — says she has worked hard on the film. “I’m playing the role of Samara Patel, who wants to become a world famous dancer.
Right now, I’m all excited for One by Two, but I’m open to whatever offers come my way,” she says and adds, “I learnt jazz and ballet for five months for the film.” About the difference between her real and reel life chemistry with Abhay, she says, “Our chemistry is better in the movie. In real life, it’s boring!”