Nostalgia with Deepak Parashar: “Even at 22, I watched what I ate. I’ve always been calorie-conscious”

Updated on Sep 03, 2022 01:44 AM IST

The actor talks about how he chanced upon what he was destined for—modelling, and then acting—, winning the Mr India title and his style quotient

Deepak Parashar at 22 (left) and at 70 (right)
Deepak Parashar at 22 (left) and at 70 (right)
ByDinesh Raheja

Where were you career-wise at 22?

After graduating from St Stephen’s College and PGDAV College, Delhi University, I did hotel management from Oberoi Intercontinental, Delhi. I was considering joining the defence personnel since my father was in the Indian Army or applying for a job with an Airlines. But destiny chose modelling for me, and I later graduated to acting. I was the brand ambassador of Reliance’s Vimal Suitings for three years.

With model Anna Bredmeyer in an ad campaign for Vimal Suitings
With model Anna Bredmeyer in an ad campaign for Vimal Suitings

What was your romantic status?

I wore my heart on my sleeve. I enjoyed the women fan following. The male following was alarming as I became their role model. A few competitors successfully tried to label my sexuality, which marred my career.

Deepak being crowned Mr Delhi by Simi Grewal
Deepak being crowned Mr Delhi by Simi Grewal

What was your bank balance then?

I had no complaints. I was comfortable.

What was your focus in life?

God, who is my constant companion as well as my strength. And my health and fitness.

With Zeenat Aman, his leading lady in BR Chopra’s Insaf Ka Tarazu
With Zeenat Aman, his leading lady in BR Chopra’s Insaf Ka Tarazu

And your frame of mind?

I felt energised and strong to the core.

Deepak when he won the India Prince title, with Poonam Dhillon
Deepak when he won the India Prince title, with Poonam Dhillon

Had you developed your fashion sense?

I have always created my own style with a personal touch. I wore Westerns, formals, casuals and Indian wear. Now, I virtually live in ‘Jabbas’ (Arab robes) day in and out.

Show stopper Deepak walking the ramp with Anita Reddy and Kalpana Iyer for the Nivea Fashion Show in Bangalore
Show stopper Deepak walking the ramp with Anita Reddy and Kalpana Iyer for the Nivea Fashion Show in Bangalore

Your fitness quotient then?

I was into gymming, yoga, swimming, walking. I watched what I ate. I have always been calorie-conscious.

What was your favourite sport?

Swimming, skiing, ice-skating and badminton, to name a few.

With Salma Agha in the hit film, Nikaah
With Salma Agha in the hit film, Nikaah

Tell us about the memorable modelling assignments from that time.

The Nescafe ad film and Vimal Suitings ads. I did fashion shows for Femina, Eve’s Weekly, Nivea and the Trade Fair.

Which heroines did you idolise at 22?

Zeenat, Rekha, Rakhee, Hema, Mumtaz, Jaya, Madhubala, Vyajayantimala, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Mala Sinha, Sadhana, Sharmila Tagore!

At the Giorgio Armani/YSL finale for their Delhi collection at Taj, Delhi
At the Giorgio Armani/YSL finale for their Delhi collection at Taj, Delhi

An anecdote from that time that is etched in your memory?

I can never forget how destiny brought me to Ashoka Hotel, Delhi. I saw a line of girls auditioning for Miss Delhi. And I was surprised to see a line of males auditioning for Mr Delhi. I made my way into the queue, out of turn. I met the selectors and auditioned. After I won the Mr Delhi title, I flew to Mumbai for the finals and won Mr India. It opened the doors to Mumbai, name and fame for me.

From HT Brunch, September 3, 2022

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