The actor gets candid about six packs and doing a commercial feature like Happy Bhaag Jayegi.
Back on the big screen after two years, Abhay Deol is excited about his forthcoming release. Happy Bhaag Jayegi is a romantic comedy that follows Happy (played by Diana Penty), a bride who runs away from her wedding, crosses borders and gets into a whole lot of trouble along the way. The Mumbai-based actor plays Bilal Ahmed, a submissive, foreign-educated Pakistani who doesn’t relate to his people or surroundings. We catch up with him in the midst of the film’s Mumbai promotions.
“The characters were written so well by Mudassar (Aziz), the director, that I just had to live out what he had already sketched,” the 40-year-old says. The movie also marks Deol’s second collaboration with producer Anand L Rai, having worked with him earlier in Raanjhanaa. Though pundits have touted this film to be his comeback, the star is unfazed. “There’s Anand L Rai and Eros. So I am nervous, yes, but secure that nothing is riding on me, which is the case otherwise,” says the Shanghai actor.
Formula vs offbeat
But Deol admits that all films finally boil down to commerce. Talking about the concept of commercial and non-commercial cinema, he says, “I think even an offbeat film strives to be commercial; every film needs commerce.” And for someone who rose to fame with unconventional movie choices like Dev D and Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, a commercial film does fuel some fears. “People might start thinking that I’ve stopped trying to take chances. I haven’t. It’s just that it’s very difficult to be doing that, despite success,” says the actor, adding that India isn’t opening itself up to different cinema as much as it should. “For any parallel movement to survive, it needs to be a movement. And by movement I mean groups of people who support each other. If real change was happening, we wouldn’t be seeing all actors and actresses trying to out-dance and out-six-pack each other,” he admits. Tightlipped about his future projects, Deol shares, “I have read a script that has the superficial trappings of a commercial film, but with the kind of edge you saw in Dev D. I’m hoping someone finances it.” He also plans on returning to producing films soon.
Happy Bhaag Jayegi is set to release on August 19.
— Lavanya Lakshminarayanan