His smile reaches you even before his voice does. Right now, of course, the ever affable Bobby Deol has every reason to smile. As he has picked up the Best Actor Award at Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival 2021 for his series Aashram, he is grateful and happy and owes the award to his admirers. He says, “It is the love and appreciation of my fans which has translated into this honour.”
Never mind that this is the first award that has come his way in 25-year-long career. Bobby takes no offence at the juries/ critics who may have overlooked him all this while and laughs off with a wisecrack, “Deols ki luck hi aisi hai. My father (Dharmendra) is such a versatile actor, played so many roles with such finesse, yet as far as awards go he has been mostly unrecognised.”
Though he values the appreciation of fans above honours he is ok with criticism too. Those who thought his fine act in Aashram was not up to the mark and that part two was not half as good as the first one, he quips, “You watch any web series, the very best, and there is a dip and a high. It never moves at the same pace.” At a personal level, he adds, “Criticism is a part of being an actor.” So is preparation and he nods wholeheartedly to the axiom, “An actor prepares.”
Indeed, back in time workshops may not have been integral to the process of acting. Today, as he is rubbing shoulders with young crop of actors like Sanya Malhotra and Vikrant Massey as in Love Hostel, he admits, “Each new generation is more evolved than the previous one.” His sardonic sense of humour too surfaces, “Our country is so populated that there is cut-throat competition everywhere, including in our industry. And if you don’t get your act together you will be out.”
In the industry for two-and-a-half-decades he sure is an insider but the insider-outsider debate he deems is irrelevant, “Being either does not change the way your career moves. Tough times test both.” Right now, undoubtedly, is a very good time for him. Apart from upcoming Netflix film Penthouse, which once again reunites him with director duo Abbas-Mustan, he has just signed Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s Animal. Though excited about the Ranbir Kapoor-starrer, “Ranbir is an awesome actor,” he won’t reveal much about his character which is being touted as quite a ‘shocker’.
On working with Vanga whose Kabir Singh was a money spinner yet earned a lot of flak for being too misogynist, well Bobby is not unduly perturbed or concerned about such insinuations. “I don’t look at films through any lens. Were I to analyse so much I would be sitting at home.”
Yes, there was a time when we were forced to… and the lockdown came with many realisations and some aches too. The affectionate man that he is, he missed hugging his kids and other loved ones. As his hug with his mother in a rather cute picture (sharing his award with her) went viral, we wonder what made him share it?
“Yes, as a rule we are shy people but I thought my fans would love to see this moment.” Ever grateful to his fans across the world, to those in Punjab he would have loved to say something in Punjabi but admits, “My Punjabi isn’t that good.”
Honesty, ‘be true to yourself’ are some lessons he has learnt from his dad dearest with whom he will be sharing screen space in Apne 2. The son remains forever in awe of his father, but the actor in him knows, when the director says cut, “You are only an actor.” Since, the father has also taught him, “Only a good human being can be a good actor,” Bobby wears no pretences. Even when he says, “Aashram is my favourite web show,” he is only kidding. But not when he shares how his director Prakash Jha is going all out to ensure the second season of Aashram is as riveting as the first one which had millions glued to their screens.