On Abhay Deol's birthday, his 5 statements that made headlines: From dragging Aisha, to calling out film awards
Actor Abhay Deol, often called an underrated actor in Bollywood, has starred in multiple critically acclaimed film. On Monday, he celebrates his 45th birthday. To mark the day, we are bringing back another facet of his personality --apart from his acting talent--that he is now known for.
Abhay had often given statements that have proven to be controversial but were mostly strong opinions put forward forcefully. From his own movies to the Bollywood film industry, Abhay has been critical of many things in the past.
Here are five time his statements made headlines:
When he trashed his film Aisha
Aisha (2010) was a Hindi remake of Jane Austen's acclaimed book Emma. Starring Sonam Kapoor and Abhay in the lead, it was about a young woman with a big love for fashion and unrealistic ideas about life.
However, Abhay was a fan of a movie. In an interview 11 years ago, he had said, "The movie had nothing to do with Jane Austen’s Emma as it was reported. When I was shooting, I realised that the film was more about clothes than actual acting. I even read reviews of the movie that praised the clothes. I would like to say today that I will never ever be part of a film like Aisha in my lifetime. It’s not the kind of film I’d like to do,” he had said.
Reacting to his interview, Sonam had said, "I am shocked. I can't believe that Abhay would make such statements."
When he called out empty slogans of BLM from Bollywood
Last year, when Black Lives Matter protests gained steam in the US after the killing of George Floyd, several Bollywood stars also took to social media to share messages of solidarity. Abhay, however, called them out for promoting fairness products in their own country while protesting against racism.
“Maybe it’s time for these now? Now that ‘woke’ Indian celebrities and the middle class stand in solidarity with fighting systemic racism in America, perhaps they’d see how it manifests in their own backyard? America has exported violence to the world, they have made it a more dangerous place, it was but inevitable that it would come back karmically. I’m not saying they deserve it, I’m saying look at the picture in it’s totality,” he had written in a social media post. Do you think Indian celebrities will stop endorsing fairness creams now,” he had shared in another post.
When he revealed the truth behind award shows
In June last year, Abhay had shared a post on Instagram about his hit film, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and spoke of how he was unfairly treated during the awards season. The film starred Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay as three friends on a road trip through Spain and how they get over their fears and challenges together. However, for awards consideration, Hrithik was presented as lead actor while Farhan and Abhay’s names were given in supporting actors categories.
In his note on Instagram, Abha had written: “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, released in 2011. Need to chant this title to myself everyday nowadays! Also a great watch when anxious or stressed. I would like to mention that almost all the award functions demoted me and Farhan from main leads, and nominated us as ‘supporting actors’. Hrithik and Katrina were nominated as “actors in a leading role”. So by the industry’s own logic, this was a film about a man and a woman falling in love, with the man supported by his friends for whatever decisions he takes,” he wrote.
When he spoke about being Dharmendra's nephew
In an Instagram post, Abhay spoke at length about being privileged (he is the nephew of veteran actor Dharmendra) and about how nepotism can be found in all walks of life in India.
My uncle, whom I affectionately call dad, was an outsider who made it big in the film industry. I’m glad there is an active debate on the practices behind the scenes. Nepotism is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve only ever made one film with my family, my 1st, and I’m grateful to be blessed and have that privilege. I’ve gone that extra mile in my career to make my own path, something that dad always encouraged. For me he was the inspiration.”
He mentioned how after the first push from his family, he struck out on his own later. “Nepotism is prevalent everywhere in our culture, be it in politics, business, or film. I was well aware of it and it pushed me to take chances with new directors and producers throughout my career. That is how I was able to make movies that were considered “out of the box.” I’m glad some of those artists and films went on to have tremendous success.”
When he knew history would not be kind to Raanjhana
Abhay had said his 2013 film Raanjhanaa had a regressive message and somehow glorified sexual harassment. He shared a note by a viewer who slammed the film for its storyline that glorified one-sided love.
Sharing the note, Abhay wrote, “Such clear and valid insight from @oldschoolrebel9 regarding the film Raanjhana. History will not look kindly at this film for its regressive message. It’s been a theme in Bollywood for decades, where a boy can (and should), pursue a girl until she relents. Only in cinema does she do that willfully. In reality we have seen time and again that it leads to sexual violence of some sort. Glorifying it on screen only leads to blaming the victim, as @oldschoolrebel9 explains it so brilliantly. Please do take time out to read her observations in the pics above. #shedoesnotlikeyou #growup #gloryfyingsexualharrasment.”