Indian actor Abhay Deol popularly known for his roles in successful avant garde Bollywood films Dev D, Manorama Six Feet Under, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, and 2011’s runaway success Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara will be in Toronto promoting his latest release Shanghai. Shanghai has been officially selected under the City to City Program at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, which will shed a spotlight on the city of Mumbai!
Often referred to as a “complete package” Abhay Deol is hailed as being an actor whose journey and career have lived on the road less traveled. Despite his success with films that have been termed “art-house” and “off beat”, Abhay – right from his first shot has continually balanced and found success both with artistic/intelligent cinema as well as hugely successful Bollywood blockbusters. Anuradha Choudhary of Filmfare Magazine says,
“Abhay Deol’s kingdom is a sovereign state where normal rules of movie making don’t apply. Throughout his career, he has found the confidence to trust his choices. And he’s open about the insecurities he has faced while navigating a business, which is run to a large extent like a popularity contest…some call him the prince of darkness, others refer to him as a rebel without a pause. When larger than life cinema ruled the screen, he brought real cinema back into fashion”.
Abhay Deol has created a niche for himself that most commercially driven Bollywood actors have shied away from. Deol said,
“Indian cinema is largely escapist and my effort has been to bring real subjects, characters and plots into the mainstream consciousness. I always wanted to do non-formula films. I wanted to fight terms like “non-commercial” and “art house”. These terms judge films and reduce them to being something that’s either too indulgent or one which no one goes to see. I always wanted to play characters the audience could relate to. For me larger than life is boring, so I automatically gravitated towards scripts, which were real and entertaining. No one believed that realistic and entertaining could co-exist. After seeing me in Dev D, audiences understood that being realistic doesn’t have to be artsy”
Being part of films that run against the popular formula of Bollywood cinema has certainly helped Deol pave the path to new endeavors. Through his passion to tell realistic stories Deol has embarked on a new journey – one that will take him from in front of the camera to behind the lens.
Abhay Deol has launched a new film production company, which he believes will help build a bridge for films not necessarily typical of Bollywood cinema. He hopes these films develop the resources needed to gain proper distribution rights and accessibility – both, which are afforded to films with larger budgets and big time Bollywood actors. His first project will start filming in Vancouver in 2013!