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Soldiering on...

From a shy schoolboy to a soldier in "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo" Bobby Deol has come a long way.

Photo: K. Ramesh Babu.

Bobby Deol... a good man this. Photo: K. Ramesh Babu.

WHAT SEPERATES Bobby Deol from many other stars is his ability to recognise, acknowledge and instantly reciprocate the warmth exuded from the other quarter. And to top that, he remembers even the smallest concern shown to him. "You are very caring. Aren't you? Last time also, you advised me to keep away from smoking. I remember, wasn't it two years ago?" he asks a scribe who counsels him not to smoke his heart away. A hospitable soul, he makes sure to treat journalists lavishly; both with liberal interviews and eatables. "You people are constantly on the move; please have something and relax... " is his usual way of welcoming scribes. An instant charmer, Bobby with his baby-pink complexion, gigantic personality and amenable disposition leaves little scope for complaints even if he arrives a little late for the interviews.

Bobby is in New Delhi for the promotion of Hum Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyo. In Anil Sharma's film he plays a romantic soldier, who loses in the war of love. "Mine is a lovable character. It also has complexities and affection as shared in the relationship between a grandfather and a son. The films has references of 1971 India-Pakistan war but that does not form the core of the film," he informs. "Unfortunately, people in India are largely illiterate especially when it comes to watching films like this. They don't see Partition as a part of the history but as winning or losing a battle between two communities. And this film, fortunately is not about winning or losing a battle but an attempt to combat terrorism together," he says.

Films naturally

This commerce graduate from Amrit Ben College in Mumbai had been an avid badminton, squash and soccer player and his parents wanted him to become a doctor. "I tried a lot to become one but it needed lots of study and I had never actually been a book-bug. Moreover, since the environs at home was more associated with films, people would squeeze me in that category only. Take for instance, when I was small, an aunt would come to my house and say for me, `ye to bada sona munda hai, ye to hero hi banega.' Such remarks were quite regular from those visiting my home. So choosing films for a profession was almost a natural decision."

He decided to become a junior artist first but his shy nature provide a hindrance. "I was so shy that I failed in my theatrical test in school." To begin his journey into the world of films he made a documentary film called Manav with Atul Agnihotri and one Bhushan but the film was a disaster. "Kuch aur banana chahte the, kuch aur ban gayi," he laughs.

It was Kareeb that "beat the lazy bone" in him. "It was magic. It changed my routine completely. I used to get up at 11 O'clock earlier. During the shoot, I had to get up at five, do horse riding, attend dancing and theatre classes. Ghar walo ne socha ye to pagal ho gaya. For them the changes in me came as a shock. And he faced criticism for his long hair too. "Logo ne kaha iske lambe bal hain, ye nahi chalgea, but it became a trend," he beams.

And what next?

"I am dying to do a costume drama".

RANA SIDDIQUI

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