Right from his debut in 'Socha Na Tha', Abhay Deol has always trod a different path. Abhay is one of those rare actors who didn’t succumb to the pressure of being the quintessential Hindi film “star”. Unconventional films like 'Dev D', 'Oye Lucky Lucky Oye', 'Shanghai' have only cemented his status as an actor who isn’t afraid to experiment with cinema.
“The idea wasn’t really to usher any great change,” he says, flashing his dimples. “I knew that a large number of people would’ve wanted me to look all muscular and play the angry young man, like my uncle Dharmendra and cousins Sunny and Bobby (Deol). Thankfully, I wasn’t aware of the consequences of following my own path. Back then, the thought of falling flat on my face never occurred to me.”
Apart from being the youngest of the Deol men, Abhay can also claim to be among the youngest producers in the Hindi film industry. “That was the next and the most inevitable step for me. The kind of work I do and the films I believe in, I had to take charge of making that kind of cinema. After being an actor, producing 'One By Two' was a natural progression,” he explains.
In 'One By Two', Abhay is paired opposite girlfriend Preeti Desai. Abhay clarifies, “Contrary to reports, I didn’t rope in Preeti. She was signed on before I stepped in. I’m a producer and I’ve done everything in my capacity to make our pairing on screen work.”
Talking about Preeti, we ask him if the larger-than-life Deol family has come to terms with the fact that he moved out of their shadows and has been living in with his ladylove. “The Deol family is very close knit and emotional,” he says. “Yes, they weren’t too happy with my decision to move out. I made them realise that it wasn’t a hasty decision and I wanted to be independent for the right reasons. I’d like to believe that they are now comfortable with the current set up,” he adds, laughing. “I might live in a different house but I have to go home (Dharamedra’s house in Juhu) twice every week. Or else my parents and my chacha get all worked up.”
Among all the Deol men, Abhay revels that he shares the strongest bond with his superstar uncle. “Right now, I’m closest to him. I keep hearing these rumors about us coming together for a film. Honestly, when we’re all together under one roof, we never discuss cinema. There is so much else to talk about,” Abhay says. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of teaming up with the rest of the family for a film.
Other family members Abhay shares a good equation with are Hema Malini and her daughters Esha and Ahana Deol. Less than two years ago, Abhay had filled in for Sunny and Bobby, on the eve of Esha’s wedding. Apparently, Abhay had played the dutiful brother all through Esha’s wedding. With Aahana’s wedding in February, will he play the ‘big brother’ again? “Of course,” he says. “Aahana is my cousin and I’ll be there for her and the rest of the family.”
With his maiden home production releasing at the end of this month, Abhay is yet to decided on what he’ll wear for Aahana’s wedding. “I’ve asked Preeti and my friends to put together the clothes for me,” he shares.