Bobby Deol on playing young Dharam, the similarities between him and his father, and reuniting with him and brother to take the Yamal Pagla Deewana franchise forward
Roshmila Bhattacharya (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 9, 2018) 

What was it like to reunite with dad Dharmendra and brother Sunny for the Yamla Pagla Deewana franchise?
It’s always exciting working with dad and my brother. I wish I could do more work with them but it takes time to find good a script. This franchise itself is returning after four years.

This is the fourth film, if you include Apne, to feature the three Deols. Does it get easier working together over time?
During Apne there was some nervousness because I was facing someone I’d looked up to all my life, someone who is a father before an actor to me. But dad is an amazing co-star. He motivates you, gives you space and encourages you to improvise. He’s full of surprises as an actor.

Apne wasn’t your first film together. You had played the young Dharam in Dharam-Veer in 1977...
(Laughs) I was around six then. Dad was looking for someone to play his character as a child, someone fit, with strong legs, and since it was difficult to find one, asked if I’d play the role. I was game, completely uninhibited. I just wanted to be an actor and was really excited to go on the set. I remember picking up the hammer which was too heavy for little me. They reassured me, saying, “Don’t worry, they have made a lighter one for you.” It was a fleeting appearance, not even 30 seconds, but it made me feel on top of the world. I dubbed my own lines and during the golden jubilee celebrations, since dad was not in town, I went with my chachaji to collected his trophy. They gave me one too.

In the first Yamla Pagla Deewana you had recreated your dad’s iconic scene from Sholay, lurching drunkenly and threatening to commit suicide. Director Navaniat Singh informs that you have recreated it thrice in Part 3.
This time it was different. Yes, there are moments that resembled what dad had done in his films, including Sholay. It’s fun, who better than his sons to do what he has done before We look alike and there are similarities…

How similar are you?
(Chuckles) I’m as gullible as dad. My brother too is a lot like him, at times.

There are moments in the film when you’re upset with him for not paying rent. What makes you angry for real?
I don’t like people who lie and who are fake. Humans get angry easily (laughs). We are more angry than happy, we only need reasons to get upset.

Earlier, we knew Bobby as the Deol who could dance and was good in action films. Now, we are getting to see your comic timing too.
Given a choice I’d still like to do more action films and thrillers. Even as a viewer that’s what I enjoy. Comedy was the third choice but it’s the flavour of the industry today and I don’t want to be left behind. I enjoy the genre. Dad’s comic timing is on another level and that motivates me. It can be difficult or easy depending on how you feel and the script. Some scripts are not funny and you wonder why you’re doing what you are. It works when the writer, director and the actors work as a team.

You’ve just returned from the first schedule of Housefull 3. That must have been fun.
I’ve known Akshay (Kumar) and Riteish (Deshmukh) for years, Sajid Nadiadwala since my first film and Sajid Khan since college. All of them have great chemistry having done a lot of films together and it was fun being a part of that. It was fun understanding and learning their brand of comedy during those 12 days. The main shooting will start in September in India.   

Do you believe in punar janam now, given that the film deals with reincarnation?
(Laughs) As a kid someone told me a story about rebirth and it upset me. I insisted I’d only return as my mum and dad’s son as I couldn’t live without them.

Twinkle, your first co-star in Barsaat, is now married to Akshay. Did you find time to catch up when in London?
Tina hardly comes to the sets but my wife (Tanya) and she went with the kids to Hyde Park. Aarav (Akshay, Twinkle’s son) and Aryaman are around the same age and bonded well. I was working most of the time and Tina was doing her art course.

Are your sons, Aryaman and Dharam, showing an interest in the craft?
There is no business like showbiz and my sons are definitely inclined towards it. But at the moment I want them to concentrate on their studies so that they have options open to them.

Sunny’s son Karan is gearing up for his launch. Any advice for your nephew?
Nobody likes advice. As a youngster even I thought I knew everything. As long as they listen to what you say and follow it, it’s okay. Everyone learns from their own experiences. I just tell the kids to be focussed on their work, everything else will fall in place.

In a song with Kriti Kharbanda “Nazar Battu”, you don’t look older than 20. What have you done to set the clock back?
(Laughs) I’ve just started taking better care of myself — eating right, working out, being focussed. Luckily, I have great genes, my dad doesn’t look 80. And when you are positive from within, the energy makes you look younger and fresher.

Race 3 brought Salman Khan into your life. Any other collaborations on the way?
I hope so. We are constantly in touch, he’s monitoring my workouts. He is always so concerned and motivating. He’s such a superstar, yet he cares so much for others. I don’t have words to express what I feel for him.

Karan Johar is all set to revive the Dostana franchise. What memories does the 2008 film bring back for you?
Karan is a great producer. He took such good care of us. And it was so much fun being on the set with John (Abraham), Abhishek (Bachchan), Priyanka (Chopra) and the director, Tarun Mansukhani. I was wondering why it’s taking them so long to spin a sequel and now finally they have a script. I’m looking forward to seeing Dostana 2.