Bobby: Feels like I've just begun my career

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In 2018, Bobby Deol was seen in the multi-starrer Race 3, a film that was touted to be his comeback to the movies in a grand manner. Not that the actor, known for films like Gupt, Ajnabee, Humraaz and Apne, had even planned to take a hiatus, but by his own admission, wasn’t offered any plum projects for many years. Interestingly, in 2020, Bobby ventured into the digital space with MX Player’s much-acclaimed web series Aashram and things turned around for him like never before. His portrayal of godman, Kashipur Waale Baba Nirala, not only fetched him immense love from the audience, but also the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival Award as Best Actor-Web Series.

Talking about this new turn in his career, Bobby says, “I have spent 25 years in the industry and never saw such a response before for my work. It is just phenomenal. It feels like I have just begun my career.”

The actor further talks about the widely-watched web show that presented him in a different light. He shares, “I had never imagined playing something like this on screen. Whatever experiences I went through all my life helped me create a character that you saw me play in Aashram. I am so grateful to Prakashji (Prakash Jha, director) for believing in me. When he offered me this part, I was taking a risk by stepping out of my comfort zone. The best part is that I didn’t expect to get such a positive response for my most negative portrayal on the screen (laughs!). A project like Aashram kept me on my toes throughout the shoot. Not just me, my father, my mother and even Sunny (Deol) has been receiving a lot of calls where people have only said great things about my work on the show. My mom was in tears when her friend called her and told her, ‘Your son played a villain, yet we loved him so much.’”

The actor further tells us how he had been keenly waiting for meaty projects and the OTT platforms gave him a chance to explore the actor in him. “I always dreamt of waking up every day and leaving for work. And that is exactly what’s happening now. I am happy that with OTT projects, I could explore the actor in me, and with movies, I could reach out to the younger generation,” he says, adding, “For many years, I had not worked so much, and the younger generation had not noticed me. I knew that Race 3, which starred the country’s superstar Salman Khan, would reach the masses. Whether or not the film did well didn’t matter to me, because I only wanted to get noticed, and thankfully that happened. Also, the film reached a large section of the audience. Likewise, post Housefull 4 (2019), my friends’ sons and daughters who were not familiar with my work as an actor sent me messages. I got noticed again with these projects, but I was still on the lookout for meatier roles, and eventually, came in the digital projects. Now, I am happy that people can see that I am capable of portraying varied characters.”

Moving on, bring up the subject of the government’s recent efforts to form guidelines to regulate content on the OTT space, and the actor replies, “I believe that people should be responsible and avoid including elements that might not be necessary in the script and are being added just for the sake of gaining viewership. There should be some kind of regulation, but you cannot introduce something so strong that it takes away creativity from honest filmmakers. There are so many honest filmmakers, who want to do good work, and they should not be regulated to such a level that they won’t be able to showcase what they want to express.”

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