Saturday 23 September 2017 News Updated at 07:09 AM IST
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Brotherhood reigns
Rajiv Vijayakar,
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TOGETHER THEY CAN Bobby Deol & Sunny Deol
Their father once described the three Deols (including himself) as "people always travelling on the service road, watching others zoom and fade away on the highway!” Sunny Deol, in the 34th year of his career, and Bobby Deol, in the 22nd, seem to be doing just that. The Deols have the ability to spring back after a lull, the way we saw them in Yamla Pagla Deewana in 2011. Individually, both Sunny and Bobby have had a long respite - the former from hits, and the latter from movies itself.

But now they are coming back with an issue-based film on vasectomy, told in a comic mode, just like Vicky Donor, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. This is a home production of the Deols with Shreyas Talpade, the Marathi-Hindi actor who produced the hit Marathi original with the same name. In fact, Shreyas is directing the Hindi remake, while also co-starring in it.

Something new & different

Both brothers declare they have never watched the original. Sunny says, "I liked the idea - I think like that. I was planning a quick Hindi film with Bobby and me, and Shreyas was so good at narrating the exciting story that I decided that he should direct the movie.”

He adds, "At that time, people had already raved about the Marathi film to me. Since it was Shreyas’s production, I asked him about it, because I was also told that he was looking at a Hindi remake. Shreyas and I have worked together in Bhaiyyaji Superhit, which should release later this year, and as actors, we had a perfect tuning as he is extremely good in comedy. There was no need to watch the original after his narration.”

Bobby seconds this, "Shreyas was very clear in his narration and requirements that I treated it like any other new assignment. For both of us, it was something completely new - Sunny bhaiyya had never done this kind of character, and neither had I.”

Laughs Sunny, "After so many action dramas, I was actually portraying an anorexic character.” His younger brother adds, "It’s nice that bhaiyya is getting something way different from his conventional image. As for me, except in Kareeb, in which I played a small-time guy, I have always played a well-to-do slicker. I have actually been told, 'Tu garib nahin dikhta’ (You do not look poor at all!). But this time, I am a hapless, hen-pecked guy with a penchant for pure Hindi. It was fun playing this role. Samiksha, a new actor, who plays my wife in the movie, does a lot of shouting, while I am the quiet one. She was nervous on the first day of the shoot, but I told her, 'So am I.’ And she was note-perfect.”

That reminds us: why have they both not worked with a top heroine in ages? Sunny says, "It’s nothing like that. I offered Ghayal Once Again to Sridevi and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and they both turned it down.”

Bobby grins and contributes, "The top heroines will naturally feel that with one, two or all of us in a film, they will have nothing much to do. Of course, many of them do precisely that in other big films. But that’s fine. If any actor looks the part and performs well, you like that character and that helps a film work.”

One more point: Bobby speaks pure Hindi, which no one speaks in most of India. How tough was that? The actor smiles and says, "For that and other aspects of the character, I asked Shreyas for a workshop.
He was thrilled and immediately set it up. After about a week of practice, which included a Marathi tongue-twister sentence that I could never manage, I did not falter at the time of the scene.”

Ask Sunny why he did not direct this film himself, and he is quick to point out, "I am concentrating on my son Karan’s launch movie Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.” But what does he personally think was or were the reasons why a crisp film like his last directorial (Ghayal Once Again) did not work? "The main reason was that I had no corporate with me,” he says. "It is a dirty battle fighting for screens and shows today, unlike the more straight dealings in the past. From a promised 1,500 screens, they brought it down to 500! So, people assumed there was something wrong with the film. When they watched it later on television, they were surprised to find it so good, but by that time it was too late.” Sunny has now vowed never to go at it alone, "Big corporate entities, headed by executives who do not know the ABCD of our cinema, are given preference by the movie halls for screens and shows.”

On evolving cinema

Why do they think that the hit average has gone so precipitously low in Bollywood today? Bobby feels that such things are a cycle, but Sunny has more specific reasons. "Most directors do not understand true-blue Hindi cinema, and most of those who do, are not signed on because they are mistakenly considered out of date. These new kinds of film-makers often make completely un-Indian films, about things we do not even see in most of the country, and kids go astray at these alien depictions by taking them to be true. We talk about censorship - why are not such alien concepts also censored for damaging our kids and their future?”

With wry amusement, Sunny continues, "And today, people go to a multiplex for a family outing - mall, amusement parlours, restaurants, and also a movie! Those audiences who primarily visit a theatre to watch a film often prefer to wait. By then, word spreads - positive or negative.”

Explaining the psychology of the Indian audience, he says that audiences look at the hero or heroine as role models and aspirations. Seconding this, Bobby nods in agreement and declares, "Whenever our dad played a weak character, no one liked him. Like his wonderful 1982 film Ghazab, even though there was also a normal Dharmendra as the other hero.” He admits that things are slowly changing. "Nowadays, if you do not look the part but perform the role well, it does work,” he says.

Like biopics, we ask? And Sunny declares, "Look, most people who are doing biopics are just hopping on to a fad to make money. They concentrate on the look as much as they can, on the mannerisms and on the similarity in clothes. Now that alone is not a biopic. We have to first understand what and why that person thought, how he or she became what they are or were, how the society was then and what kind of people were around that person. Unfortunately, youngsters accept these shallow films because they have never read about the real person.”

So, is it a lack of writing talent? Sunny nods his head. And Bobby adds, "We do a film because we like a character and the story. We want Poster Boys to be loved, and for the audience to love us. We are not really interested in 100 or 200 crore business. We are fortunate that we are loved for years, whether a film releases in a year or not.”
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