Bobby Deol: When you are successful you take things for granted
Bobby, who made a comeback of sorts with his twin digital releases — Class of '83 and Aashram — talks about his career so far, his future plans, and more
After a dream debut with Barsaat in 1995, he was touted as the next superstar. With his impish, dimpled good looks and macho built, Bobby Deol charmed his way into countless hearts. But the new millennium has not been kind to him. “In life, you learn the most when you are down. When you are successful you take things for granted. But you have to keep trying and that’s what I did after that lull of almost three years with no work,” he says, as he gathers accolades for his twin OTT outings—Class of ’83 and Aashram.
Deol is candid enough to admit that when he started his career, it was almost a cakewalk with hardly any competition. “But then things changed. Roles that I could have got started slipping out of my hands,” he says. Today, 25 years after his debut, he is almost a veteran. But rather than feel confident, he was nervous on the first day of shoot for the Class of 83. “I was out of my comfort zone. The first day of the workshop with those five boys made me nervous. These kids were so well prepared,” he says, adding that it was a deliberate attempt on his part to try and search for off-beat characters for his digital debut. “I read a lot of scripts, met a lot of people. I didn’t want to move backwards. I have reached a stage in my career where there was nothing more to lose. I had lost enough,” he says.
Inspired by real events and characters, Class of ’83 sees Deol play a veteran cop named Vijay Singh. In love with upholding the pillars of democracy, Singh believes red-tapism and bureaucracy are acting as a hurdle. To set the system right, he selects five young cadets and forms a secret squad. The other web series, Aashram, has the actor playing a character with grey shades. He plays a self-styled godman who becomes embroiled in rape and murder cases.
One aspect that has always endeared Deol to his fans is the fact that he has always been honest about his struggle. His inability to live up to the stardom that his father Dharmendra or his elder brother Sunny enjoyed makes one rethink the nepotism and insider-outsider debate.
The actor weighs in, “See if you are a doctor’s son or businessman’s son the first thought in the parents’ mind is that the child must follow in their footsteps. It is natural to look for an opportunity in the same field as your parents. And that opportunity could be easy to get too. But after that it’s your work that speaks for you. So many star kids have come and gone. I survived, but it was a struggle. But, yes, I will not disagree that it is more difficult for an outsider because they have to first find a way in.”
He reminisces about his father’s journey as an actor—an outsider who carved a niche for himself in the film industry. “He ran away from home, struggled as work didn’t come easily to him initially. He would stand in the rain outside producers’ offices for hours on end. There were days when he did not have enough to eat. Everybody has their journeys to make and battles to fight,” says Deol. His advice is “not to give up. It is difficult to be in this industry, but don’t depend on luck. Work hard and be persistent.”
As Deol goes looking for off-beat roles, he says he is open to doing a thriller or a comedy, provided the characters are interesting enough. For now, as far as he is concerned, the hero is the script. And he wants to keep it that way.