It's no secret that the shy guy is most comfortable with his entire khandan at their Juhu-Vile Parle bungalow.. and is seen only once in a very bluish moon on the party scene.
The family’s Vijayta banner is now returning to film production with Chamku.. just the right time to get him into the chat mode. Over to Bobby Deol in a q and a with Hiren Kotwani.
Why have you been keeping a low profile?
I feel awkward hyping myself. I’ll try but hota nahin hai.
Vijayta Films has returned to film production with Chamku. Why the long gap?
We weren’t organised earlier. So we waited a while. With in-house movies you can explore genres. Chamku is a serious action drama.
But the title gives the impression of a comedy.
No way. Chandrama Singh aka Chamku is brought up by a Naxal after his family is brutally killed.
A westernised dude playing a Naxal?
He starts out as a Naxal and then assists the government in a covert operation. If I was playing a hardcore Naxal, I’d have had to work on my body language and diction.
Your director Kabeer Kaushik’s first film Saher didn’t work commercially.
Kabeer had approached me for Saher but I wasn’t sure then. He rewrote the part for Arshad (Warsi). We were planning to start our own film, I liked this script and we were rolling.
How involved are you in the production?
I’m an apprentice, looking after the post-production. Dad and bhaiya handle the production.
Kabeer Kaushik skipped the music release presumably because he’s miffed with Sunny for interfering in the editing. Kabeer was shooting for Arshad’s first film production in London. My brother is a creative man, he respects those who are creative and will never interfere with their work.
But every producer sits with the editor and discusses what can be edited out. It’s our money at stake, we have a right to our opinions. But it’s always a healthy discussion, never a heated debate.
How come you’re not acting in The Man which Sunny is directing?
How come my brother is not in Chamku? Simple. Chamku is for me, The Man is for bhaiya. Sangeet Sivan is directing a film with dad and me and Sameer Karnik is making another with bhaiyya and me.
There was a film with all the three Deols too?
Anil Sharma is working on the script. We finalised the idea together.
Your father had once said that the Deols think with the heart and not the head.. so they don’t make good businessmen. Do you go with that?
We’re trying to cut all the routes from the heart to the head.. so the mind can work independently. We know this is a business but we can’t change the way we are.
Will you direct some day?
I don’t know. Right now I’m involved with the editing, background music and mixing. I don’t like to control people but a director is the captain of the ship. (Laughs) If I ever become director, I’ll probably lose my mind.. but never say never.
You have a lot of confidence in Sameer Karnik. Apparently, you even invested in Nanhe Jaisalmer.
I believe in him. Nanhe Jaisalmer was a sweet film.. We have another film with Dwij Yadav coming up, Roshan, later this year. But I haven’t invested in either films.
Was it because of Sameer Karnik that you agreed to do a cameo in Heroes?
I did it because I liked the subject.. and because Sunny bhaiya and I are playing brothers.
In Ek – The Power of One you’re playing an assassin.
(Laughs) I’m the industry’s killer, I’ve played an assassin in so many films. But it was good fun to match wits with a cop like Nana (Patekar). He would often talk about dad.
Yours was the best performance in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom
. Why aren’t you doing more films with Yash Raj?
I’ve no idea. During Jhoom.. I was asked about issues between my brother and Yash Raj. Issues happen.. people don’t live with them. You forgive and forget. If they want to work with me again, they’ll offer me another film.
Your dad’s just made a comeback..
(Interrupts) Dad never went away. He did some films that weren’t all that great. Finally we told him to relax, we’d take care of everything. That’s when he started doing good films and people started talking about a comeback.
You’ve become very selective too?
I can’t do 10 films just for big money. I’d rather hang around with my kids.
How old are your sons?
Are they interested in the movies?
The elder is seven, the younger one will turn four this year. When I was a child, I never looked at dad as an actor. He was my hero. I don’t think my kids look at me as actor either.. but they get excited when we go out and people recognise me.
You’ve named your younger son after your dad. Is Dharam like his grandfather?
I wanted to name my older son after dad but everyone wondered how I could call my son by my dad’s name. I reasoned that everyone addressed dad as papa. When my second son was born, I decided to call him Dharam. I’m so proud of my dad. And it’s cute when he’s called Chhota Dharampa.
You were a party person once. But marriage and fatherhood have turned you into a complete homebody.
When you’re growing up you want to experience life because that’s what all your friends are doing. But when I go to a nightclub now, there are only youngsters around. It’s not as if I don’t enjoy partying, I just don’t enjoy it so much now. When you have kids, you want to spend more time with them. If you can’t shoulder the responsibilities, why have kids? When you’re a parent you have to behave like one. You can’t be a teenager all your life.
Your wife Tanya runs a furniture business. Do you give her suggestions?
Every time I suggest something, she asks, “What are you saying? That won’t look nice at all.” Then I’m like, “Okay , fine.” She’s good at what she does and is doing very well.
Does she still style your outfits?
After the kids, it’s too much work. They are a 24-hour job. She does tell me if she doesn’t like something. And I can’t go shopping without her. I don’t know what to buy when I’m alone. But shopping with women requires lots of patience.. they like to check everything, so many times.
You had ventured into the restaurant business in partnership with friends. Any more plans after you sold it off?
It’s not my cup of tea. Right now, I’m only interested in making movies.