The Deols are one of the most-loved Bollywood families. After Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby, the third-gen Deol, Karan made his dream debut in Bollywood with ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas.’ The actor spoke exclusively to ETimes on working with his family in ‘Apne 2’, his failed debut in Bollywood, nepotism, among other things. Excerpts:
How’s the lockdown treating you?
I had actually just returned to work when things went bad again. So this time I’m just trying to keep myself as mentally preoccupied and motivated as much as possible. Besides that, I’ve been playing a lot of games and watching a lot of different things just to keep myself entertained and have a little bit of a fitness regime.
Even as the city was grappling with Covid, we got hit by a cyclone too…
Yeah, we are having a tough time and my heart goes out to everyone out there. I would just ask everyone to stay safe. There is a light at the end of the dark tunnel, and hopefully, things will get better from here. The city is already getting better.
Have you taken the first dose of the vaccination?
Yes, I got jabbed; it was like getting a tetanus shot. You go take a jab and that’s about it. They give you certain instructions to monitor blood pressure, oxygen level, and everything. Besides that, for me, it was like any other normal shot that I’ve taken in my life.
What made you join Bollywood and how did you zero in on your first film?
As a kid, I was attracted to filmmaking after watching ‘Star Wars’. I got lost in that world, and for those two-and-a-half hours, became the character. I watched that film about 20 times and right then, I knew that I wanted to be a part of the industry. My love for filmmaking only grew as I grew up. I started seeing more stuff; there was a point that in my life when I used to go to theatres alone to watch films because plans with friends don’t always work out. So there were certain films that I have actually gone to the cinema first show in the morning, I sat there, and I saw it alone. So it was just a growing passion in me that is kind of grown from the first time I saw ‘Star Wars’. But when you’re a small kid, you don’t know what you want to do at that age. So when you grow around movie sets, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, why they take the shot from different angles again and again.’ But as you grow older, and as you get more acclimatized with things, you start understanding it and you start enjoying it even more.
So when you first faced the camera, were you nervous?
Oh, my first shot was actually a nerve-wracking experience, because I was very nervous. I broke down and from there, it just got better. I thought to myself, ‘Rocky, is this what you want to do?’ And then I was like, ‘No, I love this. I want to do this.’ And luckily from there, things got better. But yes, my first day was kind of intense.
Your family has a huge fan-following. How did your father and grandfather react when you decided to take the legacy forward?
When I took the decision, my dad, told me that this path comes with a lot of responsibility. There’s an emotional and mental journey, there’ll be times when things will not go according to plan. There’ll be times where you feel like your life is upside down, but you’ve got to be ready for the highs and lows of life. My dad told me that if I’m ready for that, then he will always support me. My Dada (Dharmendra) basically just told me that an actor is always learning. You just see the characters like you never know when you’re going to be with the character. So just absorb and take everything in like a sponge. So an actor’s growth never stops, the moment you think you know it all, that’s where you stop growing. You can always do better, there is always a sign of improvement in everyone.
You’ll be seen with your family in ‘Apne 2’. Tell us about that…
Oh, as of now, it’s still in the early stages. I’ve started my boxing training, and that’s a lot of fun. Like I said, as a kid, I always wanted to do a boxing-oriented film. So this is kinda a dream come true moment for me. I really like the training process, it is vigorous, it is intensive, but it gives you a different kind of high like it gives you a different rush that completely drives me. For this role, you have to understand a boxer’s mentality and physique simultaneously. So the physique is one part of it. But when a boxer goes into round 12, or round, 10, you have to conserve your stamina; you can’t just go out and do pow-pow. If you use all your stamina the first time, your opponent will come and knock it out in the second round. You have to study your opponent’s movements, his fight style, his strengths and weaknesses. So I’m just kind of actually touching on it and learning everything as possible. It’s pretty exciting for me because I’m trying to get into that character’s skin at this moment.
Apart from you, Sunny, Bobby, and Dharmendra, which other Deol will be a part of the film?
As of now, only the four of us are confirmed.
Can we expect some special appearances like Salman Khan’s did in ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se’?
It’s in very early stages, so I can’t say how exactly it will turn out.
What was your reaction when ‘Apne 2’ was narrated to you?
When we were shooting YPD (Yamla Pagla Deewana) 2, I told my dad and my dadu at that point of time that it would be my dream to share screen space with you guys. Cut to fast forward right now, and it is a dream come true moment for me. We didn’t plan it, but after I heard the narration, it was very emotional to me, because we’re living in uncertain times, and for me to share screen time with my dada, dad and chacha, at this given moment, it’s a blessing for me. I had tears. It was an emotional moment for me, and it is very exciting because this is something I’ve dreamed of. And hopefully, it all turns out well.
Sunny and Bobby Deol’s dialogues have lent themselves to several memes. How do you look at them?
It is light-hearted, funny, I enjoy it. People interpret such iconic moments in different ways. We do share such memes in the family; however, I don’t share my father’s meme with him, as there is a certain boundary or respect for him as a father.
How do you look at social media? Do you enjoy meme-fests?
Everything has two sides to it and you have to take everything with a pinch of salt. But it is funny too. When it comes to memes, people come up with a lot of creative ideas so it gives you a moment of laughter.
You made your debut with a romantic film, but would like to try genres like comedy? It’s hard to make anyone laugh, isn’t it?
I would say that it’s the most difficult thing to do. On paper, it might seem funny, but you have to make it funny with the perfect comic timing, and cracking the correct comic timing isn’t easy. You have to make that line hit, emphasising that it connects to the audience and starts laughing. It is difficult because to tickle someone’s funny bone. Technically on paper, it’s happening for the first time, but when you go and shoot, there are multiple ways to which you will shoot, and you have to keep that magic alive, from the first day to the end. I honestly think that comedy is one of the most difficult things to do. But I would love to do everything. If the story and the character interest me, then I’m game for it.
Being an actor’s son, what’s your take on nepotism?
See, I can’t run away from the fact that I got the launch platform, but at the end of the day, it’s your talent that speaks. So if you’re not good, or if you’re not up to the mark, the amount of competition that is out there, you will get lost in it. You might get your first film, you might move a little bit ahead after that, but then you will be just dropped and you will go away. So I believe that it’s your work and your talent that speaks the most.
You are been vocal about dealing with failure…
‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ didn’t turn out the way we expected it to, and then the law first lockdown and happened and I was in a weird space of my life. Then I saw the first time I’ve acted in front of the camera, and I said to myself that, ‘Look Rocky, you look so happy. Remember that you’ve done it because you love it. And that’s the happiness that shows on your face. Things might have not gone your way. But you know, you have it in you. See where you have to improve and just push on from here.’ So then I just try to work on myself as much as possible, keep a positive outlook and just go ahead because, in my house, there’s so much inspiration itself. My dad had his ups and downs, and he’s the biggest role model for me. Life isn’t a smooth journey; it will keep on putting obstacles in front of you. If the world was so nice, then we would be living in a very different world to be right now. So I just took it upon myself. If this is really what you want, just push on from here and just be positive and move ahead. But yeah, there were moments that kind of keep on replaying in your head, there are situations that you wish you could have done differently. But you’re here right now and see what you can do right now and see how you can better yourself This is just the step first, you have a long journey from here.
Your father is now a politician as well. Will you be following in his footsteps and try to enter politics?
No, I am happy as an actor. It is my first and only love.
Is it true that you’ll be working with Ajay Devgn and Abhay Deol?
I know there’s some news but I can’t say much about it but you’ll hear something soon.
We have talents gaining worldwide recognition like Naseeruddin Shah, Priyanka Chopra, and others, would you like to extend your market by going international as well?
I would definitely say that going international gives good recognition to the artist because you branch out to the world, you show your talent to the world, and cinema technology is becoming a global thing. Language is just a barrier. If the emotion connects to you, you understand the story, the language doesn’t matter. Thanks to digital media, we’re becoming a very global thing through Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, and all of these OTT platforms. So, I would love someone to see the talent in me.
Do you get inspired by actors like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, who made it big in Hollywood?
Hats off to them, because it shows that we have talent in our country. And this gives you a platform to show the world that we’re here. Thanks to these actors, it’s kind of showing the world that we’re here to stay. It is a very positive thing, in this country as a whole, we’ve got so many people, there’s so much talent that is brimming from inside our own country and with these platforms, and these actors going over there being appreciated over there kind of opens the platform for all of us.
What do you have to say about Bollywood’s Dream Girl, Hema Malini?
She has had a brilliant and prestigious career from start to finish. Yes, I’ve seen one or two films of her; she’s a brilliant actress.
Apart from your family, who’s your favourite actor in Bollywood?
I would say Vicky Kaushal, Ranbir Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao. Hats off to them, they are breaking ground, and trying new stuff, and they want to take risks. They’re kind of pushing boundaries.
If you got to choose to work from the above mentioned actors, who would you want to work with?
It is difficult, I would like to work with a lot of them, but I would say Vicky Kaushal I would say I would love to like them because I would learn a lot from him. Like he’s a brilliant actor, and I think I would learn a lot by working with him.
Your favourite actress?
I would say Alia (Bhatt); her versatility is really good. And she’s done all sorts of roles.
Which has been your favourite Bollywood film?
I would say ‘Ludo’, which was one of the last ones that I really liked. I would love to do something like one of those characters.
This Article was First Published in Daily News Junction