Five years back, when Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 was about to release, I remember telling a friend that Bobby Deol looks the fittest and youngest amongst all the leading actors in their 40s. Five years later, the actor is looking even more fit and sharp and the world is acknowledging that. The actor made a comeback of sorts in 'Poster Boys' which released last year but now, he seems to be seriously looking at the possibility of a second innings in films. He has given solo interviews to leading journalists and publications, talking about the phase when he has getting no work and was down in the dumps. He honestly talked about not being serious enough about his career and turning to alcohol during this phase.
Bobby Deol was supposed to make his debut with a film called 'Barsaat', which was to be produced by his home banner Vijeta Films and directed by Shekhar Kapur. Karisma Kapoor was signed on to be the leading lady. After shooting for a couple of days in the year 1991, Shekhar Kapur opted out of the film leaving the cast and the crew in a limbo. The film was revived four years later with a new heroine (Twinkle Khanna) and Rajkumar Santoshi who agreed to helm the film as a director. The film was a fairly good entertainer with some striking camerawork by Santosh Sivan and a mellifluous soundtrack by Nadeem-Shravan. Apart from being a commercial success, 'Barsaat' also fetched Bobby Deol a Filmfare award for 'Best Debut'. Bobby was noticed for his charming looks and unlike the other two Deols (Dharmendra and Sunny) he could shake a leg. Two years later, in 1997, he had two releases. While 'Gupt', a musical thriller by Rajeev Rai turned out to be a success, 'Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya' (best remembered for being Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's debut film and a lovely score by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) was a dud at the box-office. He had a major solo hit in the form of 'Soldier' (his biggest solo hit till date) which established him as an action hero.
'Yamla Pagla Deewana' was directed by Sameer Karnik, whom Bobby had earlier delivered three flops ('Nanhe Jaisalmer', 'Heroes' and 'Vaada Raha') with. The comedy was a box-office winner. This was a time when Bobby was getting big films but there were certain things that indicated that filmmakers were losing faith in him. Abbas-Mustan, who had cast him in lead roles in films like 'Soldier', 'Humraaz' and 'Naqaab', offered him a much inferior role in 'Players'. One did not get to see him post the interval in the film. He had a fairly substantial role in 'Thank You' but the film was driven by Akshay Kumar who had started his career around the same time as Bobby and was now a much bigger star than him. 'Yamla Pagla Deewana 2' could not replicate the success of the original and this was the time when Bobby realised it was time to introspect.
I have not seen 'Poster Boys' but I do know that the actor portrayed the character of a simpleton, far removed from the kind of heroic characters he had played throughout his career. The actor was clearly in a mood to reinvent himself. Now, with Salman Khan lending him support, a big release ahead of him and two important films to follow it up with, Bobby Deol seems to be telling the world - "I am back and I am here to stay."
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