Sunny deol 63rd birthday interview
SUNNY DEOL tells JYOTHI VENKATESH
Today is Sunny Deol’s 63rd birthday. We at bollyy.com and Mayapuri celebrate his 63rd birthday, by reproducing this interview of SUNNY DEOL by JYOTHI VENKATESH which appeared for the first time 29 years ago in The Hitavada issue dt July 17, 1991
Seldom does Sunny open his mouth to talk. He is basically a staunch introvert and sizes up a person before he decides to open up. Since he made his debut with Betaab opposite Amrita Singh, Sunny has worked in nearly 20 films. Unfortunately for him, most of the films have turned turtle at the box office. It is only of late that the box office has been kind to Sunny with Ghayal clicking like nobody’s business.
With Ghayal, Sunny’s personality has undergone a radical change. He has become more confident and what’s more, he does not clam up any more. Of course he does converse calculatedly but then that is not because of high handedness or a swollen head. Sunny has now arrived and is here to stay, if Ghayal is any indication.
In an industry where almost every actor prefers to go in for quantity than quality, Sunny is perhaps the only exception to the rule, who prefers to act in a selected few. Among the few films he has on hand are Bajrang, Vishwatma, Ghatak, Ajay, Kshatriya, Dushmani etc.
I met Sunny on the sets of Dushmani at the Filmistan Studios. Not for him the Stanlovsky type of method acting. On the sets, Sunny has this rare uncanny knack of transforming himself into the character which he has to portray within seconds, without getting himself distanced from his colleagues or getting tense beyond redemption.
How do you feel having won the coveted Best Actor award for Ghayal? Did you expect that you will win the award?
When I started working in the film, I just wanted to be part of a good film. I did not want to work with the intention of bagging an award. I do not differentiate one film of mine from the other. To me every film in which I am working is equal. When Rajkumar Santoshi came to me with his script, I liked his frankness.
He confessed that he had already narrated the story to P. Subba Rao who had refused to make the film with Kamal Haasan and hence he had come to me to do the film. I liked the script and straightaway asked my dad. He listened to the subject and decided to make it though he had planned to make Narsimha with N. Chandra as the director.
Has working in Ghayal made you a better actor?
Certainly an actor’s outlook changes with every film. Ghayal has made me a complete actor. An actor learns by experience. I was thrilled when I came to know that I was selected for the national award for the Best Actor award by the President. It was an overwhelming feeling when I heard that I had bagged the award.
I want to work in a selected few films these days. Not for me the run -of- the -mill kind of films. I want a change. Without defying the image with which I find myself saddled of late, I want to experiment, to prove my worth as an actor, to show the stuff I am made of.
Is it true that you cannot dance at all? Do you regret that you are not able to dance in films the way others do?
It is wrong to say that I cannot dance. Far from it. I can dance. I am basically shy by nature and an introvert. When I know that the director is literally trying to force down my throat a dance number, I retaliate. If he tries to impose a dance number just because he feels that the hero has got to dance, I refuse to do it. I agree only when I am convinced, like I did Paap Ki Duniya for Pahalaj Nihalani.
Everyone knows that the role that you are doing in Rajkumar Santoshi’s Ghatak had also gone to Kamal Haasan in the first place. What made you accept a left over role?
I strongly object to the insinuation. Tomorrow I may refuse to work in a film after signing and some other actor may step in that film. That does not mean that the other actor is stepping into a left over role. Even before Ghayal was launched, Rajkumar Santoshi had only one ambition in his life.
That was to work with Kamal Haasan. He was very eager to do the film Ghatak with Kamal but he could not go ahead with the project because of some reasons and when he asked me to step in the project, I readily agreed to do so. The role in Ghatak is very challenging. I am glad that I am doing the role which was slated to be done by Kamal Haasan who I hold in high esteem.
Does that mean that you are game to do any and every film just because you can be emotionally blackmailed by people?
No. Not at all. Earlier there was a time when I used to accept films for emotional reasons. People used to go to my dad and cajole him to persuade me to work in their films failing which they used to tell my dad that they will not be able to earn their rozi roti.
In the process, I did saddle myself with many inane projects, which did me harm as an actor. I have learnt a bitter lesson and today I have learnt to say No when I see through people’s games. However, I prefer to decline those offers politely and firmly without offending people.
You recently walked out of a prestigious project like Kalinga in which you had the opportunity of a lifetime to be pitted opposite a Titan like Dilip Kumar, who incidentally was also directing the film. Why did you walk out? Has it got something to do with your recurring backache? Or are you not happy with the way your role had shaped up in the film?
I am glad you brought out this question. I wanted to clarify several rumors about my backache. Vested interests from rival actor’s camps have been spreading false stories that as a result of my chronic backache, I will not be able to act in films at all. How can anyone be stupid enough to believe such stories? I am hale and hearty and working on as many as eight projects right now. Yes.
I did walk out of Kalinga which was to be produced by Sudhakar Bokade and directed by Dilipsaab. I regret having lost an opportunity to work under a stalwart like Dilipsaab but I couldn’t help it because they wanted me to reshuffle my dates as per their schedule and I was not able to do the same, because of my backlog of dates as a result of my operation in London.
My doctors have advised me to go slow as far as stunt and action scenes are concerned. Bokade wanted me to perform certain risky stunt sequences for Kalinga which is essentially a film about family feuds with Dilip Kumar playing the central role of Justice Kalinga. Earlier I had lost an opportunity of working with Dilipsaab in Mashaal and now I have lost an opportunity to be directed by Dilipsaab. I am looking forward to working under his direction sometime in the near future.
Is it true that you have decided to cut down on your assignments in future?
Yes. It is true. I want to become exclusive for makers who matter. I do not want to be a part of the rat race.
What is your plan for the future?
From next year, I have decided to work in just three or four films every year. This year the films of mine to be released are Narsimha, Shankara and Vishwatma. Vishwatma will be a typical Rajiv Rai kind of entertainer like Tridev while Narsimha will see me cast as the next angry young man. In Shankara too I am having a well defined role.