Having spent three decades in the film industry, Sunny Deol feels that he has been there and done that. From playing a quintessential lover boy in Betaab (1983) to playing a toughie in his upcoming film, 'Singh Saab The Great', 57-year-old Sunny is pleased with his journey but also feels the best is yet to come. Sunny says, “I’ve seen many ups and downs but I’ve never let arrogance or dejection affect me. I’m very calm as a person and that has helped me sustain in this profession and grow as a person,” he informs.
Clad in a pair of denims and a grey jacket, Sunny looks fit enough to give 30-plus actors a run for their money. “It’s more important to feel fit than look fit. I’ve abstained from alcohol, drugs and parties all my life. I religiously workout and follow a certain discipline. Probably, that has helped me feel and look healthy.” We must point out that his self-proclaimed calm demeanour is in complete contrast to his onscreen angry young man. “Over the years I’ve realised that you cannot control everything. My father is the head of the family but being his eldest son I have to manage the family. I’ve been a big brother to my brother Bobby, cousin Abhay and a responsible father to my sons Karan and Rajveer. Yes, certain things do upset me. Like everyone else, even I lose my cool at times. But I think I’ve mastered the art of calming down,” he says.
The Deols have always preferred to live a very low-profile life and have always been known to be a conservative Punjabi family. So one wonders Sunny’s take on his cousin Abhay choosing to move out and live-in with girlfriend Preeti Desai. “The Deols have been inculcated with old school upbringing. Being the eldest brother, I can give suggestions but I will never force my family to follow my rules. They give me a lot of love and respect, which is the base of every relationship. In return, I give them the liberty to live life the way they want. I am aware that the younger generation will have their own ideas and I’ve come to terms with that.” While the Deol men have been stars in their own right, the women in the family, his wife Pooja Deol, mother Prakash Deol and even Bobby’s wife Tanya Deol have steered clear from the limelight. Is it a pattern the men in the family asked them to follow? “That’s not true,” Sunny says, adding, “Neither my mother nor my wife was forced to stay away from the limelight. My wife is her own person. She has always had the liberty to make her own decisions. To not make public appearances is her own call. Like I said, neither my father nor I have forced the women in our family to follow our rules.”
While other actors his age have settled for playing second leads or turned to television, Sunny’s popularity continues to be intact. His fan following up north is actually quite mind-boggling. “My father hails from Punjab. Yes, I agree that the Deols have a bigger fan following up North. People there connect to us and that’s their love for our family. But why just North, I want my films to do well in other sectors too. Respect, love and success are earned, not demanded. They’ve loved me and my father, I hope the same affection is passed on to my sons as well.”
Sunny’s son Karan is now expected to make his debut in a few years. “His debut film is my prime focus. Yes, I do want to act and continue making more films but I’m completely involved in launching Karan now. Contrary to the reports, I’ve not finalised any director for his debut film but I’m reading a few scripts. I want to finish my backlog before I start shooting for Karan’s film. Meanwhile he is doing his bit,” says the proud father....