Abhay Deol: It is for sure better to be called underrated than overrated
Underrated — this one tag refuses to leave Abhay Deol, who turns 45 on March 15. Ever since he made his debut in Bollywood with Socha Na Tha in 2005, he has always taken the less trodden path, giving us films such as Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Dev.D (2009), Manorama Six Feet Under (2007), and more.
We ask him if he is big on birthdays, and he makes it clear, “I am not at all a birthday person. I stopped celebrating it after I turned 25.”
And maybe that’s why the actor doesn’t make any plans. Others, however end up making them for him. He continues, “I don’t do anything. What usually happens is my friends will come over, and therefore something will happen organically on it’s own. Those are the best birthdays.”
Talking about tags he is given time and again, Deol’s stance towards them remains that he doesn’t mind them. His journey as an actor started with directors who were all pretty new.
“I had to create opportunities, they weren’t coming in the early part of my career because people wouldn’t put money behind those films. When I used to narrate the story of Dev.D to people, they would say, ‘It is an art film, no one is going to watch it’. I got the producer and finance together for my director for Manorama… Dibakar (Banerjee, director of Oye! Lucky!...) was one film old… my first five films had debut directors back to back. I had to really create that,” he recalls.
Deol continues and reiterates that as far as ‘underrated’ or ‘overrated’ is concerned, “I guess it’s better to be called underrated than overrated for sure (laughs)... I don’t know what to say. I am thankful for where I am today. I know that the reason I can do what I want to do, have the freedom to go where I want to go, and be who I want to be is because I didn’t play the star game.”
And that entailed not focusing on anything other than his craft itself for Deol, who was recently seen in the web show 1962: The War in the Hills.
He says, “I didn’t invest a lot of money in marketing myself, or PR, or become a part of a clique, that I would catapult myself off the backs of my co-stars, directors or producers. I stood on my own. I am sure they stopped bigger opportunities to come my way. It gave people the opportunity to say ‘oh your stuff doesn’t work’ or has limited audience.”
However, none of that affected the actor. “It doesn’t matter, at least I am happy doing what I do. That matters to me more. I have grown up around fame.,, I have seen it in my family (Abhay is Dharmendra’s nephew). I was never enamored by it. Just because you are successful doesn’t necessarily mean you are happy,” he quips.