After 'Gadar' very much the hero...
Sunny Deol may not have yet acted in off-beat cinema. He may never be in the scheme of things for a director looking for a romantic hero. But give him a patriotic film, an author-backed role and Sunny Deol is a changed man with a soaring popularity graph.
SHY GUY: Sunny Deol
"WHY ARE you so shy?" His cheeks turn pink, his eyes droop, the palm clouds the face, hiding beneath a pearly, coy smile, transforming into a big grin, accompanied by acquired, feeble laughter. "I don't know, I really don't know. It is intrinsic... .," he leaves the sentence incomplete, making him all the more vulnerable.
An unusual combination this - powerful muscles, ready to take on any arduous task, yet an extremely shy temperament. It makes him occasionally ungainly in romantic scenes and leaves him at the receiving end of not-so-polite reporters. "Yes, I have been like that since my childhood. Even now, most difficult scenes for me are the romance shots. I feel it is not me while enacting them. I wish it to end in one take only."
The film does not seem much different from his other patriotic films and so the role - of a man ready to take on his enemies for the love of the country. "Yes, but here I am a spy." The film shows him in six different shades, bearded, clean-shaven and a foreign looking.
Some dance sequence in the film? "Jab mukkon se kaam chal jata hai to thumkon ki kya zaroorat hai?" When fists do the needful, what's the need of spins.
Isn't he bored of doing similar roles and films? A deep sigh and restlessness plays large on his entire face.
"I think my physique is to be blamed for that. How long can I avoid such roles. These are the only roles that I keep getting. Ever since people liked me in Gadar, they want to see me in a similar character."
But then, his extracting of a hand pump in the film has proved to be a major reason for mockery. Now television mimicry programmes show a look-alike digging the hand pump out on the slightest provocation. "That is because of jealousy. They forget that it was the feeling of patriotism and saving his beloved that makes Tara the hero in Gadar do the act. Let them make a mockery of it. It does not affect me a bit."
Incidentally, if after the stupendous success of Gadar and not so bad showing of Indian if Sunny Deol needed any evidence of his rising popularity graph, it has come from the most unlikely of quarters. Distributors and exhibitors across North India have hastened to revive Sunny's old films with brand new publicity, hoping to attract his die-hard fans. If moth-eaten Kasam was revived after Gadar, this time Darr, Veerta and Insaniyat are being readied for revival. A big compliment comes his way through the posters of these films which portray only Sunny everywhere though in Darr, Shah Rukh Khan had the more powerful role, in Insaniyat his co-star was none other than Amitabh Bachchan and in Veerta his lady love was Jayaprada. Obviously all that does not matter. It is Sunny who matters as of now.
It is also learnt that Anil Sharma's The Hero Sunny has done stunts himself. He also jumped from height of 11-feet. "Yes. But when I saw the ground from 11 feet, I asked myself, `Hey Sunny yaar, kya kar raha hai. I felt breathless while doing the shot. Once I was on the ground, I opened my eyes to see if I was all right."
He wears all those designer clothes in The Hero. "My dress design and make up is being taken care of by Simple Kapadia. As for designer dress, well, maine to kaha tha ki mujhe dhoti-kurta pahnao, main Punjabi hoon, but they won't budge."
What's new about his newest film? There have been lesser films in Bollywood based on spies... Moreover, the Indian audience is all about emotion-packed films. So at the end of the day, it is the film based on sentiments that goes down well with their temperament. While abroad, technology-based films do a good business. The trend hasn't still caught up in Bollywood."
It is said that video piracy has eaten into the market of new films?
"Yes, Bollywood, unfortunately is not united on the subject. It is very sad. We keep talking about piracy but hardly stand united to do away with it. I am also a part of it, I admit," Sunny says without mincing any words.
What does he feel about the crossover cinema making waves in India? "Well, the change seems good, leaves scope for exploring newer ideas. But Bollywood is largely fed on sentiments that play a vital role in their day-to-day life. They are not only fond of such films but also are habitual of watching them. We should not forget that NRI-related films have lesser number of audiences that represent a small fragment of real India. So I feel it will take time for crossover cinema to have foothold in India."
Why patriotic films seem to malign one community by the end. "You view it this way. It is just a victory of good over evil, not a community over the other." That might be meek defence considering the slant of his films but Sunny is keen to play the innocent. And ride on the success wave of Gadar with The Hero. But whether the film succeeds or not, Sunny Deol remains very much the hero.
RANA A. SIDDIQUI
Send this article to Friends by