Sunny side of films

Sunny side of films

The eldest of the Deol clan, Sunny is known as the quintessential action hero. The actor talks to Rajiv Vijayakar about his return with a spate of comedies, and his journey in Bollywood.

The ‘sunny’ (pun intended) smile never leaves his countenance, and you could bask in its genuine warmth forever. It transports you to a world where everything is right.

If all goes well, Sunny Deol will have four releases in 2013 — I Love New Year, a romantic comedy, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, an action comedy, Singh Saheb — The Great, an action drama, and the fresh and unusual Mohalla Assi, in which he plays a Sanskrit scholar.

In his home ground at the Sunny Super Sound (his father Dharmendra’s audio-video-cinema studio named after him) penthouse, Sunny Deol, always congenial in temperament, unwinds on his work and times. The conversation is unhurried, as if nothing else matters, though he has a business meeting coming up within a short while.

“Our characters in Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 are the same, but the situations are different,” he reveals. “Once again, dad and Bobby share the same chemistry and are based in Banaras. I play a recovery officer from England, where recession is on. I come down to help Annu Kapoor, who owes money to my firm. I am this genuinely helpful officer who helps people rather than just recover money from them!”

Just for laughs

While the film has liberal doses of (mostly comic) action, his other film, the T-Series production I Love New Year, is a romantic comedy. “For a change, it is nice to make people laugh rather than have them just clapping at my punches and my beating so many people up!” the actor grins.

What about Singh Saheb — The Great? “You know how Anil Sharma handles such films,” he states. “His films, whether Gadar — Ek Prem Katha or Apne, are about values. There is a certain depth in the relationships depicted in his films, and that kind of depth is needed in our lives today! I play a collector, who is completely upright and idealistic, but at one point has to bend. I would not compare my character with my father’s in Satyakam, but it is in a way quite similar too, except that it is an action drama.”

However, a pet project is Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Mohalla Assi, for which he had to completely get into the skin of an academician, that too in Sanskrit. “Dr Dwivedi really worked on me and the lines I had to speak. The film will be a complete change from everything I have done. It has been ready since 2011, but there is some dispute from the producer’s side. With some luck, everything will be sorted out very soon.”

What is the truth behind his patch-up with one-time favourite director Rajkumar Santoshi that was bandied about in the media recently? “No comments!” laughs Sunny, and adds. “I have not got any offer from him. It’s a bit like ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ I must add, however, that the kind of films J P Dutta-saab, Rahul Rawail, Anil Sharma and he made for us, and also without us, need to be made. Their cinema has substance and today’s youngsters cannot make that kind of cinema.”

It’s been 30 years since he made his debut in the evergreen Betaab that Rawail helmed. How does he look back at the journey? “It’s been 30 good years,” he says, with a thoughtful air, his hand pensively held under his chin. “These three decades have taught me a lot — good and bad. There have been health issues, and all kinds of films. But I love this creative world of cinema. It is what keeps me young and happy all the time.”

Making of a film

He goes on, “The first Yamla Pagla Deewana was a script many producers refused to make. Today, we are talking about a Yamla Pagla Deewana 3. It’s been a great mixed bag of experiences. Things have changed so much. I was always media-shy, but now we have to be media-savvy and go all out for the promotion of our films.”

Once again, after the earlier Yamla Pagla Deewana, he is cast opposite a foreign girl. “Kristina Akheeva is from Australia, and we chose her from so many when we got auditions done for the film,” he replies. “This time, the heroine is not a foreigner, but an Anglo-Indian. And Kristina is very good.”

Who is Lynda Deol, on whose story Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 is based? “Oh, that’s my wife Pooja’s name,” smiles Sunny. “Lynda is the name on her passport. Our writer, Jaswinder Singh Bath, is very talented, but at the same time, all of us Deols and the team have added our inputs to the two scripts. The basic lost-and-found element of the first film was my idea, as that kind of subject that was once very common in our films had not happened for a long while. When we wanted an idea for a sequel, it was Pooja who came up with it.”

And what does he think of his son Karan Deol’s impending debut? “When Karan told me that he wanted to become an actor, I told him, ‘Tujhe jo banna hai toone banna hai, main kuch nahin kar sakta’ (Whatever you want to become, you have to, but I cannot do anything to influence you). He is trained abroad but still shares our value system,” says the actor.

“Karan assisted our director Sangeeth Sivan on this film, and while shooting in the United Kingdom on my birthday, he wrote such a wonderful poem for me that I had tears in my eyes, and so did my father. He has also presented some rap in the title song of this film, which is basically a tribute to his grandfather. But, as an actor, he will still take a year or so of preparation till we launch him.”

Sunny is clear about one aspect: that it is only talent that makes people survive in the industry. “Yes, there are talented people who lose out because of bad habits, but that’s different,” he says, laughing aloud.

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