Actor Abhay Deol revealed that he was rather ‘put off’ when he couldn’t dub for himself in a South film, where he played a villain. The film in question was the 2019 Tamil flick, Hero, which starred Sivakarthikeyan, Arjun Sarja, Ivana and Kalyani Priyadarshan. Abhay played the role of Mahadev, a corrupt genetic scientist.
Speaking to Bollywood Hungama, Abhay spoke about the incident and said, “It was really tough for me to learn the language — I couldn’t just rattle off anything. I had to say the words. I wanted to dub for myself, but they said my accent was too strong, but he (the character) is a North Indian, let there be an accent. I worked really hard in getting the words, but they said the accent was strong. So I said, you approached me as a North Indian, and have me playing the North Indian, so why can’t I have an accent? That put me off. If I can’t use my own voice, I said I’m not going to do it again.”
Abhay also commented on the ensuing North-South debate and added that Bollywood cinema is a ‘part’ of India cinema, just like Bengali and Tamil cinema. He said, “The South Indian film industry has always existed and have always had their audience. It’s just that if you’re from the North, and watching news related to that—you’re just not watching news related to outside it. You’re ignorant of that existence, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Similarly, someone from the South might not watch Hindi cinema, and is ignorant of the Hindi stars. They’ve always co-existed. Now, we’re embracing a larger Indian identity than just the regional belt — and Bollywood could be considered regional too, as it appeals to the Hindi belt. Now, there’s a bit of mish-mash happening because you realise, oh ‘Baahubali looks great’, or ‘this actor looks interesting, let’s take him in a different language movie’ and vice-versa.”
Abhay Deol also made his disdain for filmmaker Anurag Kashyap known. During a rapid-fire interview he had to give a t-shirt with a descriptive word to celebrities. While praising Katrina Kaif, Farhan Akhtar and Shah Rukh Khan, when it came to Anurag Kashyap, he described him as a ‘gaslighter’. Anurag Kashyap had worked with Abhay Deol for the 2008 film, Dev D, which became a milestone in Abhay’s career. Earlier in this interview, without taking anyone’s name, Abhay revealed how he didn’t like marketing himself when he had started out, as he wanted the film to speak for itself. However, he mentioned that certain filmmakers and producers didn’t approve, and he was ‘gaslit’ into thinking that he didn’t care enough for the film.
Anurag Kashyap has expressed his views on Abhay Deol before, as well. While speaking to The Huffpost in a profile on Abhay, Kashyap had said, “It was painfully difficult to work with him. I don’t really have great working memories with him. And haven’t talked to him much since I finished shooting.”
Kashyap added, “He wanted to do artistic movies but also wanted the mainstream benefits. The benefits and luxuries of being a Deol. He would stay in a five-star hotel while the entire crew stayed in Paharganj for a film that was made on a very tight budget. Also the reason a lot of his directors went away from him.”