In a freewheeling chat with ETimes, Bobby spoke to us about his memories of ‘Barsaat’ and his thoughts on some of his iconic hits like ‘Gupt’, ‘Soldier’ and ‘Bichoo’. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Bobby, while shooting for ‘Barsaat’ did you ever think you would be having this conversation 25 years in the future discussing your career?
“I still can’t get over the fact that I have completed 25 years in the industry. Time flies so fast. I feel it’s just yesterday that I shot for ‘Barsaat’. I still have those memories, the outdoor shoots, the friendship we shared on the sets, the kind of fun we had on sets. It was a beautiful time, it was just the beginning of my journey and I think It was the most exciting moment of my life. And yes, 25 years have passed and I am sitting here and giving interviews. It is a great feeling of achievement and I have so much more to do in my life. It just makes me work harder and harder.”
If you had to sum up your 25 years of work in just ONE word, what it would be?
“Wonderful” Because I have achieved so much, I lost so much and again I am achieving, so that is life, it can’t be perfect. You have to fight the odds when the odds are against you and you have to come out as a winner. Each time you fall, you have to stand up and I think I learned this from my career.
What did you lose and what do you think you achieved, talk to me a bit about this part of your career
“There was a time when I was a big star and I lost my stardom at one point. After that I decided that I wanted to get back. I wanted to be known as an actor, I wanted to be known as someone who is capable of different roles and I think it is just the beginning of that chapter in my life. Right now I am at a place where I am doing something different which people wouldn’t have imagined I could do. People are appreciating my work in my web series ‘Ashram’ and ‘Class of 83’. So I think, it’s a wonderful moment in my life and I am in a happy zone. I understand it does not last that long as I need to keep working hard to maintain it. I am not promising that every time I come up with something it will be a success as I know failures are a part of a career and we have to just stand tall and brave those moments and come out as winners.
What would you say was the turning point in your career that made you sit up and decide ‘let me give this another shot’
“I think the motivation comes from within. It is when you realise you are responsible for so many people around you. You are responsible for your kids who grow up in this world, you are responsible for the marriage, being A son to your father, mother, brother, sister, and most importantly when you decide what you want to achieve in your life, you help yourself and I wish that people never give up in their lives.”
Tell me when you made your debut with ‘Barsaat’ was there pressure, given that you come from an acting family
No, there was no pressure. I never thought about it like that, that my father and brother are big stars. I never got that pressure. The pressure was always to find the right kind of work, to do the right kind of movies, to work hard. We always tend to work hard and make our father or brother feel proud, I think that is something every child goes through and even I went through the same thing and not anything else. I didn’t think about anything. I had to carve my own identity in this industry. I never thought of being someone’s son, I never thought of being someone’s brother, I always thought that I am an actor, who has to do well, who has to work hard.”
Your son Aryaman has caught everyone’s attention with his good looks, he does look a lot like you, any plans to launch him?
I think as a father and an actor, I would want my kids to be an actor but I know it is not an easy industry to sustain success. It is a very difficult industry to be a part of. I will never stop my sons, I have two sons, I will never stop them from entering the industry but at the moment they are studying. My older son is doing business management and he is very inclined and very much into his studies. I think everybody should increase their knowledge so that when they eventually decide to choose their career, they have enough knowledge about the world around so that they will enjoy their profession more.
How are you as a father? Do you guide him on how to be on social media?
I am not strict at all. I can’t be strict. All the bad cops in the world are mothers and fathers are the good ones. I have given all the freedom to them. Talking about social media, my son is not on social media as he is aware of what all happens on social media. You can’t be perfect on social media. He can make mistakes on social media. Every kid knows how to be on social media. I don’t have to specially guide him on that.
Your long hair has always been your signature look, was it difficult maintaining it?
” I like my long hair. I always wanted to have long hair, ‘mujhe bahut shauk tha lambe baalon ka, Iss lockdown ke wajaha se meine apne baccho ke Baal nahi katwai’. I fulfilled the dream of my growing long hair. My sons don’t like long hair they like short hair and my younger son looks similar to me. See when you are young, your hair quality is better and when you grow old the quality goes away and I love long hair but with shorter hair, you can play different characters more easily. You don’t get restricted (more easily), you only get to play certain kinds of characters but with short hair, you can play many different roles. These days films also demand shorter hair but whenever a film comes to me that demands longer hair I will grow it..
Did any of your co-stars ever make fun of your hair?
All my co-stars loved my curly hair. I always wanted straight hair but everybody loved my curly hair and complimented me for my look. People would think only Bobby Deol could carry long hair. My image is such that it just looked best on me.
Dancing has never been a forte with the Deols, yet you guys have amused audiences with your peculiar dance style. How would you rate yourself as a dancer?
I am not a perfect dancer. I am not someone who is perfect with moves. I am not like Hrithik Roshan or Tiger Shroff who are extremely amazing dancers. But I don’t think it is about being a perfect dancer, it is about how you enjoy the song. Even my brother is a not good dancer, but when he does the steps, people enjoy seeing him and the same thing goes for my dad, even he is not a great dancer but whenever he dances people go crazy looking at him. So it’s all about enjoying it.
In one of your interviews you said, Salman’s ‘Race’ opened up a new way for you in Bollywood
Salman gave a kick-start to my career. Being a part of a Salman Khan film is always the best thing anyone can have. And I was ready to be seen by the people again as out of sight is being out of mind because if films do a successful business then many people see it. So to be seen and to be a part of the business, I did a Salman Khan film. Salman called me up and asked,”shirt utarega” and I said yes. I worked on my physique and people saw me in a different avatar. That really worked for me and I will always be thankful to him for giving me this chance.
As you said Salman Khan owns a special place in your life, describe your friendship with him.
He is a humble person, down to earth. He always follows my dad a lot. He looks up to my father a lot and the way they look at life is quite similar and how they are personally with me is the same. They both have a heart of gold and talking about my father, he has inspired me so much and I have the same feeling for Salman as they both have the same personality. So yes, he is family.
Your first memory when I name the following films ..
Barsaat: A dream project, the beginning of my life, my career, and the most memorable period of my career.
Soldier: The most action film ever. The most stylised film ever. My relationship with Abbas and Mustaan began with this film. I was very lucky to meet them. Really proud of my film.
Bichoo: Very cool, sleek film. Rani and my character really worked magic. Rani is a sweetheart. I used to call her ded-futiya. I remember there was this Sanjay Dutt film where he called his friend ded-futiya. My chemistry with Rani was such that I used to lovingly call her with that name. My friendship with Rani is so awesome. She used to bring tiffin from home. Her mom used to give us fish. It was a great time being on the sets of Bichoo.
Gupt: The most awesome soundtrack. The most talked-about film of its time. luckily there were no mobile phones that time or else people would have gone and given spoilers
Dharamveer: Oh! I just cannot forget that film. As a child, I always wanted to be an actor. One day dad came and asked me “ek role hai mere bachpan ka, tu karega?, I said “Haan karunga.”. I was surprised that my dad was asking me something like that. Dad wanted someone who has tough legs and would play his childhood so he asked me. I remember my outfit was made overnight and when I went on sets, I asked them why are they giving me a frock to wear and I was told that this is a look. I faced the camera for the first time, it was wonderful. I also went for the golden jubilee celebration of the film. I went with my uncle as my dad was busy with shooting. I got a special trophy with my name on it. So it was one of the most memorable times.
Your father is already celebrating your silver jubilee on social media, what are your plans to celebrate?
No plans to celebrate as, during the time of corona, we chose to be safe. So we might do a low profile, quiet celebration. My dad is a people’s person, he keeps on communicating with people. I have not met anybody like him on this earth. He is my father but even then, I haven’t met anybody who is so humble and such a down-to-earth person and I am lucky to be his son.
If ever you think of remaking your own film ‘Soldier’, whom would you cast as a lead?
Obviously, I will cast my son.
Your performance in ‘Ashram’ and in the ‘Class of 83’ is getting a lot of praise. Any special compliment that has received so far
I was watching Ashram with my younger kid and he said, ‘pappa, I don’t like that pappa in Ashram. I like you.’ People are appreciating my work in Ashram. My mother’s friends are messaging her to tell that I have done a great job in Ashram. My brother’s friends are also messaging him to tell him about my work. People whom I have not spoken to in ages are messaging me and telling me about the good work. It’s great.