He has been missing from the scene ever since his revisionist interpretation of Devdas in Dev D had his fans in a thrall. But Abhay Deol is now returning to Mumbai from New York for his new film Ayesha and to float his own production house.
"I'm coming back in (late) June so there will be at least two weeks to prepare. I'm also starting my own production company and have written the next treatment for my script. So my hands are full," Abhay told IANS on the telephone from New York.
"I don't feel like a New Yorker. But I'm definitely enjoying my stay," he added.
Abhay has so far played only central characters in Imtiaz Ali's Socha Na Tha and Anurag Kashyap's Dev D, but in Ayesha Sonam Kapoor is getting all the attention.
Abhay has been signed on to play the male lead, but the complete focus of the pre-production activities has been on Sonam. Doting father that he is, Anil Kapoor is sparing no expenses to make sure Sonam gets the most lavish home production possible.
According to a source close to the project, Sonam has selected everything from the theme - Jane Austen's Emma - to all the clothes, which are being done by Hollywood's chic designer Mona May.
"The three male protagonists, Abhay, Cyrus Shahukar and newcomer Arunoday Singh, are incidental. In fact, their collective remuneration for the film would be less than what Sonam's elaborate gowns and dresses would cost," said the source.
So where does that leave Abhay?
"Every film does not have to be from the viewpoint of my character. In fact, I'm excited about this film. I'll have a less hectic schedule than Sonam and it will be refreshing to see someone else on the set more often than me," said Abhay.
Doesn't it bother Abhay that Ayesha is an out-and-out Sonam vehicle?
"If you say it's a Sonam vehicle, it's natural considering the story's a romantic comedy from the point of view of a girl and I'm playing the male lead. My role is the Mr. Knightley character from the novel 'Emma'. All those who have read the book will know exactly what kind of role it is and how well-defined it is," he said.
Abhay's look, he says, "will be on the peppy side. Rich, well-groomed and urban."