What’s it like being back in Punjab with your father, Dharmendra, and brother Bobby Deol, shooting for a home production, Yamla Pagla Deewana?
It’s like being back home. This is where we started out from but unfortunately, these days, unless we are shooting, we don’t get too many opportunities to fly down.
The title of the film was obviously inspired by the chartbuster from Pratigya that featured your father and Rekha?
It was and wasn’t it a great song? No dance master choreographed moves, only an expression of crazy wonderment because the kudi (girl) has accepted that she loves you too.
Go on, tell us more about this new Yamla Pagla Deewana.
Well, it’s not something you have seen us do before. Usually we are in a traditional, self-respecting family set-up in a movie with an overflow of emotions. The emotions are there but they spill over exuberantly. (Chuckles) We would never behave like this at home.
Why has it taken you three years to get back together after Apne?
It was difficult to find a subject that would justify the three of us coming together. We’ve been working on this script for the last year-and-a-half.
Don’t you think the metros and the multiplex movies have weaned you away from your home turf and the maar dhaad dhamakas (action films) that were always the trademark of the Deols?
May be they did. These kind of movies still have an audience even though our filmmakers don’t seem to think so. There was a time when we first fixed on a story and then moved to the casting. Now producers rope in the stars first, then think about the subject, depending on what works, Friday to Friday.
For a long time I haven’t been associated with good cinema. I’ve taken on films because the producer was a friend. The reasons were often personal rather than professional. But not anymore. Now I will give the nod only to films I believe in.
So will we see a sequel to Ghayal, Ghatak or even Gadar go on the floors soon?
That would depend on whether I can get a good director and script. Just making a sequel for the sake of marketing it would lead to a great fall. But I’m doing an action film for T-Series with Radhika and Vinay Sapru. The Man that I’m directing, will also have action.
Buzz is that the just-released Right Yaa Wrong is a film with three directors — Subhash Ghai, Sunny Deol and Neeraj Pathak. Right ya wrong?
(Laughs out loud) That’s marketing for you. The film had just one director, Neeraj Pathak. Subhashji and I got along well though there were times when he’d try to convince us about certain things. But I don’t take opinions from anyone. I go by my own instincts.
At the end of the day, you should know what’s right without having to go to anyone. I haven’t seen the complete film yet but Right Yaa Wrong is a great subject.
It’s another cop film.
Yeah, but this time it’s not about the cop’s personal life but discipline, principles and his relationship with another cop, Irrfan Khan. It’s an interesting film.
You’ve always shied away from publicity…
Hey, I’m promoting my film now, aren’t I? (Laughs) That too from Punjab at 8 am. May be I did get left behind when it came to promoting my work in the past. It’s difficult to change yourself but I’m trying.
Your film is coming along with five other films on the opening day of IPL Season 3. Couldn’t you have scheduled the release better?
We were supposed to come last year but the released was pushed ahead. Earlier too, we’ve had three-four films coming together. But the multiplexes have changed the scenario.
Films aren’t given a chance to recoup their investment. Shows are doled out in terms of performance without giving the film time to grow.
Ticket rates have also gone up and put a film out of the reach of the common man. There was a time when people would go to the theatre without a thought for how much money was in their pockets. Today, even an ardent film buff will think twice. (Sighs) The IPL doesn’t help.
A lot of stars have jumped into the IPL bandwagon. Ever thought of buying yourself a team too?
Today, everyone is trying to turn himself into a commercially viable commodity and that’s killing the brand value of the fraternity of actors. We no longer have actors-actors, if you know what I mean. But that’s way it is with everyone in the country.
Unfortunately, I’m not the kind of person who can get into ventures. I’m trying to change myself but still, I know, if I go too far, I might fall flat on my face.
So you will stick to acting, directing and producing movies. But does Vijeta Films have a new business strategy now?
We’ve always gone for good cinema. And our track record has been pretty good too in comparison to others. The only hitch is that being actors, we are not financially wise. But we’re working on it.
Tie-ups would help. With one partner handling the financial and production aspects, we would be free to concentrate on content. And that’s important because it’s the story that sells, even today.