Karan Deol in Dubai: I would love to shoot a film here

The actor who is currently in the city talks about expectations from his famous surname, and his new film Velle, streaming now.

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Enid Grace Parker

Published: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 6:09 PM

A handsome star kid from one of Bollywood’s most famous acting clans, 31-year-old Karan Deol first caught our attention when he made his film debut with the adventure-romance Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass in 2019.

That was also the year the somewhat social media shy actor treated fans to a pic of himself on a balcony admiring the Burj Al Arab at a distance.

The city of Dubai seems to have caught his fancy - he’s spending some time here once more, enjoying a break from what he called his “hectic life” back home in India.

Being in the city for the festive season of Christmas and New Year’s proved to be amazing for the actor who is a self-confessed foodie and enjoys the diverse culinary fare our metropolis has to offer.

“I love the food here - there are so many different cuisines! I’ve got a couple of friends here, and the weather is great during this time of year. It’s a change from the heat and humidity that I get back home! So it was just a nice and relaxing change. I come here pretty often because it’s convenient. I love it here.”

When asked about his favourite places to visit, clearly gastronomy was uppermost on Karan’s mind as he rattled off a list of restaurants that he insisted was not exhaustive.

“There’s Zuma, a Japanese place called Clap Dubai. Then I went to Sukhothai for Thai food which I love. Every time you come here there is always some new restaurant or the other opened up. There’s also this place called Carine that I like; I can go on, if you ask me to name places!”

“I’m never content”

Though his Dubai trip is a welcome hiatus for the actor, he’s more determined than ever to make an impact through his work. While Karan’s Bollywood debut may not have caused any major waves, his second film Velle, a crime-comedy available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video, was appreciated for its twists and comic moments; the actor’s performance (the first alongside his uncle Abhay Deol) did not go unnoticed either.

He admitted that his second film was a means of rectifying some of the mistakes he made with the first; acting, he shared, was always a work-in-progress.

“As an actor you have to constantly work on yourself; you’re always learning. So you have to keep everything in mind, and do a critical analysis because you can always do better. It’s a constant thing. I thought about what I needed to work on and improve about myself. You have to see it through that harsh viewpoint.”

He added that he tended to be “overly self-critical”.

“I’m never content - I always think, if I did this in that way, it would have come out better; if I had done this line, or if I had emoted in a certain way, it would have kind of helped the overall scene.”

It’s no surprise then, that he used the pandemic lockdown to work on certain key aspects of his craft.

“Just different things - body language, dialogue delivery. I just kept on reading, learning and doing some online workshops. For Velle, I worked closely with the director Deven Munjal and we did an intensive workshop with the script. By the time we used to go on to set and shoot, we could really just play with the scenes because we were in the skin of the characters already.”

Having dabbled in comedy with Velle, Karan feels he’s ready to give it another shot, even though two years ago it had seemed like a distant dream; he admitted he had never considered himself a comic actor.

“Comedy I would say is the most difficult (genre to do)! I was scared initially because comic timing is not the easiest thing to get. In our day to day life when we’re talking and by chance you say something funny, someone laughs; but we have to make that (kind of thing) natural in front of the camera. So it was definitely difficult, but the feedback I got was really warm and uplifting and a lot of people have been telling me I should do comedy more.”

Family matters

Coming to the subject of his talented family of thespians that include grandfather Dharmendra (Sholay, Phool Aur Patthar), father Sunny Deol (Betaab, Ghayal), and uncle Bobby Deol (Barsaat, Dostana, Aashram), Karan agreed that while Bollywood pedigree spawns tons of expectations “you need to just get out there and be yourself”.

Working with his uncle Abhay Deol (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara, Aisha) proved to be an important learning experience. “From just observing him on the Velle set I got to learn a lot because of his caliber as an actor and his great body of work. He was really easy with me on set; it was a lovely time and the opportunity was like a blessing.”

How does he deal with pressure and remain focused on achieving his goals?

“It’s only natural that people will compare me to dad, to my uncles and dada because they are all great actors. But it’s important to not let that tie you down. I think the more work you do and eventually carve your own way, the more people start recognizing you as ‘Karan’. I think it takes time for people to accept you for who you are.”

Which of his family members’ films are his favourites?

With my dada its Chupke Chupke, with my dad it’s Arjun and with Bobby chacha it’s Gupt and with Abhay, it’s Oye Lucky Lucky Oye.

On contemporaries

When asked which contemporary Bollywood actors he appreciates, Karan singled out Ranveer Singh and Ranbir Kapoor, describing them as “favourites”.

“They are just amazing in the way they tackle and get into the character; and they’re so versatile, each role is completely different. They both are doing really brilliant work. Actually all the youngsters out there are kind of breaking boundaries and trying to up their game.”

He feels most actors are taking risks nowadays as far as roles are concerned.

“We become actors because we want to be different characters, and the more you step out of your comfort zone, the more you kind of grow as an actor. You are pushed to go out there and find different scripts, and those scripts are coming to the forefront. Unlike typical commercial movies back in the day, boundaries are being pushed: it’s a great and really exciting time for cinema. Especially with OTT, you can really pick and choose whatever content you want. I would love to eventually play a negative character. It’s a very exciting time to be an actor.”

Nowadays social media has become an important, if not essential, medium through which celebrities communicate with their fans and make their presence felt. As someone who in the spotlight, how important is this medium to him?

“Right now you obviously can’t run away from it - it’s an important part of our lives. I’m slowly coming to terms with it because I am a little bit of a private person but I think it’s now part and parcel of life. You have to be out there, you have to be seen. Fans want to see more of you because they love you. And this is a medium for you to connect with them. So I’m slowly getting to grips and I would say it’s equally important in today’s time.”

Starting 2022 with hope

He spoke about his hopes and dreams for 2022 amidst the pandemic, the resurgence of which has caused films to be postponed as well as theatres to shut again in India.

“On that note I would say that we’ve already fought this once and we will fight it again. It’s important to be safe, and take your precautions, and with time we will get over this. My hopes and dreams would be just to get more unique roles and characters, and keep on going at it; hopefully you see me in different roles for years to come. I would just be grateful to get more work, that would be my main hope.”

The charming and soft-spoken actor ended our conversation by expressing the hope that he gets to shoot a film in Dubai someday, a city he loves. “I would definitely love to come and shoot a film over here, given the opportunity.”

More news from Movies