EXCLUSIVE interview of Bobby Deol on ‘Animal’ success, criticism on misogyny, Dharmendra and Sunny Deol’s reaction

Bobby Deol has had a solid comeback to the movies after a four year gap between 2013 and 2017, when he wasn’t getting the kind of roles he wished to do as an actor. In the last three years, he has acted in Class of 83, Aashram, and Love Hostel. And with the raging success of Animal, where he played a monster called Abrar, he nailed the performance even in the three scenes he was in.

In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, he sat down for a chat at his sprawling abode with severe headache and yet all gung-ho about the success of the Sandeep Reddy Vanga directorial. He spoke about working with Ranbir Kapoor, the criticism that has come the film’s way for its misogyny and violence, his father Dharmendra’s reaction, cinema changing, and the boom of OTT.

Edited excerpts from the interview

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What do you have to say about the response the trailer and teaser of the film received that helped the film in creating such massive hype?

The teaser and the trailer of the film went viral on the internet and it’s the most impressive trailer I’ve ever seen till date. Sandeep Reddy Vanga is a genius and for me, he’s one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with.

How did you prepare for your role as Abrar, going beyond the physical transformation and getting into the headspace of this monstrous character?

I didn’t think of him as a monster, I thought of him as a person who lost his grandfather in front of him when he burned himself alive and because of that, he lost his voice. He’s a very family-oriented man who swears revenge, and he would kill for his family. That’s how I prepared for my character, for me, he felt invincible so that’s why when you see the body language, it just happened organically because I was feeling the character.

Your entry scene in the film has also gone viral on social media. How was the scene narrated to you?

He told me about it in the beginning. He said there would be this tired and exhausted Ranbir who has lost it and the screen will change to your face smiling. He also made me hear the music for my and Ranbir’s fight sequence, which nobody has done before. That actually brings out the relationship between the characters, there’s love for each other but they also have to kill each other. When people were watching the climax, they didn’t know whom to sympathize with.

What do you have to say about cinema changing, especially with the choices you have made as an actor- Love Hostel, Class of 83, Aashram? Why were such roles not written for actors in the 90s?

In those days, we only used to make action films if one action film did well, we would then move on to romantic films if one romantic film did well, this is how things used to happen because it was regarded safe. I’m always grateful that the OTT platform happened because it gave me the opportunity to grow as an actor and do different kinds of characters and people recognized me as an actor.

People have called 2023 as the year of the Deols. What’s your take on that?

Sometimes, things don’t happen the way they should but suddenly after 22 years, my brother gave Gadar 2 and then me doing Animal. I always had a gut feeling about the film but I never imagined it to be such a huge success or the craze it generated. Most number of reels have been made on the film, people have gone crazy.

The film has also come under the scrutiny for its violence and misogyny. Didn’t you feel these aspects about Animal when you read the script?

Bobby Deols EXCLUSIVE interview Things shown in Animal part of society you cant make up all these things

I’m an actor who’s looking for different characters; we are entertainers and we don’t promote any kind of such things. I’m a part of a story that’s a reflection of what’s happening in the society. You can’t make up all these things, they exist in our society, every film is a reflection of something that’s happening around.

How has your father reacted to the success of the film and the fact that you and Ranbir Kapoor were working together for the first time?

My dad loves him as an actor and he even called him when he did Barfi. He thinks he’s a great actor, and he’s my favorite actor, he’s a phenomenal actor and I was very happy about doing a film with him.

Bobby Deols EXCLUSIVE interview Things shown in Animal part of society you cant make up all these things

How does it feel to be back on sets after going through a tough phase in your career?

It’s an actor’s dream to get this moment in his life and I still feel I’m dreaming and it looks surreal after being in a bad phase in between. It all changed with Class of 83, Love Hostel, and Aashram. According to my brother, Aashram is my Gadar because it’s the most watched show ever. People keep asking me when the next season is coming and even I don’t know the answer. People keep shouting Japnaam Baba and now Animal.

You said in an interview you didn’t feel any shame in approaching people for work when things were not going your way. Today, do you feel you can decline a show or a film if it doesn’t excite you?

I have never said yes to a film if I didn’t like it even before. But sometimes, situations are such you are in the right mindset and you end up saying yes, that’s what I regret. Every actor makes mistakes in selections, I don’t want to play only lead roles because I don’t think like that. I think of characters that have substance and which are powerful.

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