Abhay Deol: Can’t relate to formula based films

Having mostly starred in off-beat films, actor Abhay Deol feels he cannot connect with larger-than-life Bollywood movies as they are often not rooted in reality.

The ‘Dev D’ actor says he is organically drawn to characters because he can relate to them.

“I am most attracted to characters and stories that I can relate to. The traditional formula of larger than life I never found attractive. Beat up 10 guys, win the girl, and yet you are supposed to be a normal human being. I don’t mind doing that as a superhero but not as a real person!” Abhay told PTI in an interview.

The 40-year-old actor made his Bollywood debut in 2005 with Imtiaz Ali directed love story ‘Socha Na Tha’.

Abhay then went on to work in films like ‘Road, Movie’, ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’, ‘Shanghai‘ and ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’.

The star says even when he does commercial films, he makes sure they aren’t the ones which hurt the intelligence of the audience.

“Some films you do because they are dramatic, some because they are entertaining and you love it. I don’t think I was so focused on ‘Entertainment‘ when I was doing ‘Dev D’. I knew the film was entertaining but most people didn’t know that…”

“Or a ‘Shanghai’. I am not sure if it is everybody’s cup of tea. But I liked where it was taking me as an actor. ‘Socha Na Tha’, ‘Zindagi…’ were ‘entertaining’ with formula elements but were original.”

Abhay, who was last seen on the big screen in 2014 in ‘One By Two’, is all set for his upcoming film ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’.

The movie also stars Diana Penty, Jimmy Sheirgill and Ali Fazal, among others.

Abhay says the romantic-comedy surely has ‘formula’ elements but is not brainless.

“‘Happy…’ is more in the space of ‘Socha Na Tha’ and ‘Zindagi…’ It’s about entertainment but it is also not insulting your intelligence. For the film, please bring your brains with you.”

‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ has been helmed by Mudassar Aziz, who last directed Sushmita Sen-starrer ‘Dulha Mil Gaya‘ in 2010.

In the film, Abhay plays Pakistani guy Bilal Ahmed, whom Diana’s character, Happy, meets when she accidentally lands up in the neighbouring country.

For the ‘Aisha’ actor, playing a Pakistani wasn’t difficult as he studied Urdu when he was 19-year-old and also feels there is hardly any difference between the cultures of the two countries.

“69 years of independence isn’t going to change thousands of years of being in the same culture. I am not playing someone who is foreign to me. I am a Punjabi and most of Punjab is in Pakistan. I have the right colour and right accent, if I have to speak Punjabi.”

The actor, who is returning to the big screen after two years, says he is aware that audience is expecting “something good in return.”

“It makes me feel bad taking a break now because everybody is like ‘why did you go, where did you go’. Now they are expecting something good in return. It’s like since you have deprived us, tell us why was it worth it,” Abhay said.

“Now I am feeling bad. But I had done this once before, so its not the first time I have taken Time Out. When I come back from a break then I am also charged with energy and desire to give another 3-4 years of hardcore work.”

‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’, co-produced by Aanand L Rai and Eros International, is set to release on August 19.

Inputs from PTI

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