Dubbed as “The New Voice of Indian Cinema”, Abhay Deol is bucking the Bollywood trend with his offbeat movies that he claims demonstrate Hindi cinema with “A ‘real’ element”.
Famous for his roles in Dev.D, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Shanghai and Six Feet Under, among others, Deol is part of a new generation of Bollywood actors and actresses who are keen to portray a true message within a contemporary style that doesn’t fit the traditional Bollywood mold, often tackling edgy subjects that others tend to avoid.
The Nephew of Hindi Cinema legend Dharmendra, Abhay has this week been in Birmingham to take in the Bollywood 100, a month-long festival that is celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema. We were lucky enough to catch up with him at a screening of Dev.D at Millennium Point.
”Media was a part of life, I was exposed to it younger but it wasn’t until later in my life where I decided upon to make it a career.”
The offbeat nature of Deol’s films can sometimes be of detriment to their overall commercial success. He was keen to speak of the importance of distribution and marketing of films in order for them to be enjoyed and appreciated by the target market, whether it be for the classes or for the masses, terminology Deol was eager to explain.
“You need to work with the right people, one that knows if they are making a film for the classes or for the masses. You should be clear as to who your audience is, in India you classify it as ‘is it a mass movie or a class movie?’ that’s the lingo I hear back at home, if it has songs, dances and is happy it’s for the masses, in a movie for the classes the actors and actresses are unlikely to sing.”
Deol stressed the importance of working with the right directors and producers when taking on a role and feels that it is important for the film to have a clear direction.
“An important part of the game is to know how to distribute and market your film, when producers cannot distribute nor market it right, then it doesn’t matter how good your film is, it really kills it.”
An important rule before making a film is to have an understanding of who the audience is. Sometimes it takes years after the film is completed to realise who the real audience is and therefore the wrong kind of target audience means the marketing and distribution lack direction.
Deol also spoke of the difficulties new unproven producers face when selling their film to a studio and the problems they can face with regards to control and freedom. When they do not yet have a proven track record in the industry, they are open to being exploited and dominated by studios who are reluctant to give up control of a film.
“When you are new producer working on a new subject, I’m not sure if you can have any control or say in what the studio wishes to do with your film. Sometimes a studio can bully a producer because the producer is new. You don’t want to be stuck with that.”
The Bollywood 100 in Birmingham continues throughout June and will capture the glitz, glamour, music, dance, drama and style of one of the biggest film industries in the world through screenings, events and workshops.
Words, pictures and video by Film Futures student Yossuana Aguilar