Each part of my series will consist of basic facts about each actor, as well as my impressions of them. Dharam is obviously proud of the fact that his sons are actors. As for Esha, who’s very close to him… he’s expressed the opinion that Bollywood is not a place for young women…. but she’s acting anyway, so good on her.
So let the series begin… today’s star is Bobby. Ain't he cute??
Ooh, forgot to mention that each part of this three-part series shall be accompanied by an original (and very bad, I must warn you) song, ‘Dharam’s Children’ to be sung to the popular tune of G. F. Handel’s classic, ‘Canticorum Iubilo’ (or ‘Zion’s Daughter’, if you’re into Boney M). Daft, I know, but I like it… here is the first part of the song…
By Hema or by Prakash
Almost all of them are actors
First in line is Bobby
Kicking off this song
He’s not such a bad actor
He likes his hair long
Bobby Deol was born Vijay Singh Deol on 27 January 1967 (he recently turned forty), to Dharam Singh Deol (Dharmendra) and his then-wife, Prakash Kaur. Bobby’s first movie was ‘Dharam Veer’, a star-studded epic starring his father, Zeenat Aman, and many other stars. He played the young Dharam, and was only 10 years old when the film was released. He is listed in the credits as ‘Bobby Junior Dharmendra’, which I think is pretty darned hilarious.
Anyway, since ‘Dharam Veer’, Bobby has gone on to become a fairly successful Bollywood actor, though not exactly one of the stars of the industry. Incidentally, after ‘Dharam Veer’, he didn’t act again until the mid-90s, when he was already almost 30 years old – quite a late start by Bollywood standards (I’m still trying to find out why). Anyway, with his late start in mind, I think he’s done well for himself.
Bobby is over six feet tall (this surprised me for some reason – maybe because all the extremely ugly and loud shirts he likes wearing make him look shorter - it was soo hard to find pictures for this feature because most of his pictures are of him in ugly shirts!), and unlike Sunny, doesn’t look very much like Dad. He’s still quite good-looking though, though not in a conventional way – I think he has very nice eyes, but I'm not sure about that hair he seems to favour - and he sometimes looks a little oily - but anyway, he's not bad-looking. He is married to Tanya Ahuja (daughter of wealthy finance guru Dev Ahuja) and has two little boys, 4-year-old Aryaman and 2-year-old Dharam (named after his Dad – awwww). He’s very close to his family, especially his big brother Sunny.
He is listed on IMDb as having appeared in about thirty movies, the latest being ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’ (apparently he and Preity Zinta had a fight during filming – over a curling iron LOL! Actually, it was apparently a prank by Preity that Bobby didn’t think was funny – she hid his curling iron – LOL!). Interestingly, he’s made two movies of the same name – ‘Barsaat’ (1995) and ‘Barsaat’ (2005). Some of his more popular movies are ‘Soldier’ (with Preity Zinta), ‘Ajnabee’ (with Akshay Kumar) and ‘Gupt’ (with Kajol). He’s done both action roles and and ‘softer’ romantic/dramatic parts. Bobby is known for not being a good dancer, a trait shared with his father and brother, although I personally think he’s the best dancer of the three (that’s certainly not saying much!) I think his dancing’s not that bad, actually (but many think otherwise).
Despite the fact that he has won a Filmfare Award (in 1996 for ‘Best Newcomer’ in the first ‘Barsaat’) and was nominated for another in 2003 for ‘Best Actor’ (for 2002’s ‘Humraaz’), Bobby is generally thought of as a fairly good actor who can make a fairly ok kind of movie – and who has had his fair share of flops. I happen to think he’s quite good as an actor, but he just hasn’t made great choices of material (or hasn’t been offered really great material). I know, I sound like his PR person… but I mean that. I also like the fact that he seems to just keeps trying…
Anyway, let me just talk about the two (measly number, I know) Bobby Deol movies I’ve seen. Both were made by Suneel Darshan.
‘Dosti – Friends Forever’ (2005): This film stars Bobby and Akshay Kumar. There are also rather lackluster performances by Kareena Kapoor and Lara Dutta; as well as a very cute, nicely-executed little role for Juhi Chawla.
Bobby and Akshay play childhood friends who grow up together into adulthood. Bobby is a spoilt, neglected rich kid on the outs with his parents (he took a poor kid – Akshay – under his wing as a kid and has lived with him since). So anyway, Akshay falls for another childhood friend, played by Kareena, and wants to marry her, but due to some family drama, things go awry. Meanwhile, Bobby is led a merry dance by the lively Lara, who later dumps him (with good reason). Things get even more angst-ridden later in the film, but perhaps I shouldn’t reveal why. Eventually, anyway, Bobby and Lara reconcile, and Bobby finally gets his act together, makes up with his family, and becomes a better man – all thanks to Akshay.
To be honest, the story of the film is a bit blah. It’s an uneven, lumpy mishmash of several Bollywood staples – rich kid/poor kid, love/betrayal, dying young, two lifelong friends blah blah. It doesn’t really work. There are other problems with it – like the fact that the kids apparently are 10 years old in 2005 but are also 30 years old in 2005.
What really works for me, though, is the way Akshay and Bobby interact as friends. I really like their performances and their chemistry together – the way they bounce off each other, support each other, and give each other space to ‘be’. One thing I picked up strongly on in this film is that Bobby is that rarest of the species – a generous actor. He really lets Akshay do his thing (but doesn’t use it as an excuse not to do his own part well). I love the scene where he’s railing at God – he doesn’t go over the top as almost any other actor would – he keeps it restrained and actually makes the moment a bit profound.
I really liked that I could follow the arc of Bobby’s character in this film, and see him grow and develop, and I liked the way he and Askhay did comedic bits and sad bits with equal aplomb. I enjoyed Bobby’s performance in this film – it was quite muted but I would not (as others have) call it half-hearted – I think it was really mature and interesting. And even his dancing wasn’t that bad.
‘Barsaat’ (2005): Finding out that Bobby actually won awards for his performance in a film of the same name over a decade ago makes me sad – because this second ‘Barsaat’ is just not good. The story, basically a remake of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, is paper-thin. Bobby (funny enough, the role was meant for Akshay initially) plays an NRI who has ‘outgrown India’ and basically wants to live a rich and fabulous life with a rich and glamorous heiress called Anna, played Bipasha Basu. Unfortunately, the silly cad is already married to his childhood friend, played by Priyanka Chopra, who he’s left behind in India. He claims he is no longer interested in the marriage – so he tries to get a divorce during an emergency trip home.
If this story had been treated differently, it could’ve been ok. But it turns into a boring sequence of scenes with Bobby very rudely and horribly demanding a divorce from Priyanka over and over again, treating her like trash. Priyanka eventually gets to show Bobby that she actually has some substance to her, but even that is half-hearted and unconvincing. And Bips is just terrible in this role – it’s totally wrong for her and she comes off very fake and insincere.
What made this film a bit watchable for me are a couple of sweet scenes with Bobby and Priyanka – I like the one right at the end; and the fact that Priyanka looks and sounds great (she does some singing on the soundtrack) even if she is unconvincing as well (not half as bad as Bipasha though).
These two films, though neither is really a good movie, have made me want to see a bit more of Bobby – I think he has acting talent and there is a sensitivity to him that I like – very modern-noughties-man.
So that’s it for Bobby… up next in the ‘Dharam’s Children’ series is either Esha or Sunny…
Here are just a few of the gazillion resources on Bobby Deol available on the internet (I’ve read them, and they make me think he must be quite a nice guy in real life)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Deol - his Wikipedia entry
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0219967/bio - his IMDb entry
www.rediff.com/entertai/2001/sep/18bobby.htm (a good interview from way back in 2001, just before ‘Ajnabee')
www.bollyvista.com/article/a/34/5370 (‘I have not been lucky’ – good interview)
www.bollywood.com/archives/2006/07/celebrity_inter_56.html (a more recent, upbeat interview)
http://www.movietalkies.com/interviews/view-interview.asp?InterviewId=29 (he’s defending himself all the way here – in a very classy way, I think)
(he talks about family, film and other interests)
www.bollywood.tv/free/Bobby_Deol_Interview--3125 (if you want to see him talk…)
(I think he’s quite down-to-earth)
(an oldie, quite sweet I think)