Bobby Deol has spent the last couple of years reinventing himself through the characters he plays — a feat highlighted most through his role as a conman godman in Aashram, directed by Prakash Jha and streaming on MX Player. The show has seen massive success; according to the director, the second season of the series raked in 100 crore views just a month after its release. Ahead of Aashram Season 3's release this Friday, Bobby Deol gets candid with Sneha Menon Desai.
Did you at all expect the kind of blow-up Aashram got? I mean, I could very well be talking to India's most-streamed movie star.
God has been really kind. I was looking for opportunities and trying consciously to find different kinds of characters to play because I was stuck with an image; I really didn't want to be the same Bobby Deol that has always been there. And, in a way, I had lost a few years; I had lost out on being able to use that image because, after a point, you cannot play those characters. And then people don't have that faith or belief in you because they have never seen you do something besides being the typically-casted 'hero' of a film. It's never easy to get characters which are so far off from your personality. I think OTT platforms were a blessing in disguise. I started with Class Of 83, which was completely character-driven and people appreciated my work in that. Aashram was released just one week after that and it became a phenomenon. I never expected Aashram to reach this level, to reach 1.6 billion viewers. And the fan-following follows you everywhere you go — every part of India. Even when I went to America, the doctors I met there, the families — they wouldn't stop talking about Aashram.
A big reason why you said you wanted to get back into the grind is that your kids looked at you and they asked you why you weren't going to work. How are they doing now? Are you back to being the cool cat?
Yeah, I mean, you set an example for your kids. When you're going through a bad time, you forget all those responsibilities. For me to grow up as the youngest in the family to being a parent — it makes you realise a lot of things. I think my wife has been my strongest pillar, she has supported me through everything and I give complete credit to her. Now, everybody is happy, I see happiness in everybody's eyes: my father, my mother, my sisters, my cousins, my staff. Everyone is happy to see me happy.
We've had the long-haired, Soldier Bobby that I grew up with and then you have the grey-haired Love Hostel Bobby that we're all loving right now. What's a piece of advice this guy would give that guy?
I learned never to pity myself. When you pity yourself, the whole world becomes a cruel world — nobody loves you, nobody cares about you, no one wants to help you. That's stupid. Everybody is living their lives, everybody has issues, why are all of them going to get together and help you? They're just doing their stuff.