Interview: ‘I wanted to do something like Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance’: Karan Deol
AT THE AGE of 18, Karan Deol summoned up the courage to tell his parents about his dream of becoming an actor. Nine years later, at the age of 27, he is making his debut with Pal Pal Ke Pass, a film directed and produced by his father, Sunny Deol. But, what took him so long?
“As an actor, it is important to remove your inhibitions otherwise you can’t be in front of the camera — it captures everything. So, I started with different workshops besides attending an acting course from Ealing Film School in London. It was there that I started feeling like an ordinary person because I wasn’t Sunny Deol’s son anymore but one amongst the many students. That’s when I grew as an actor,” says 27-year-old Karan Deol who’s film releases on September 20.
While one might find this statement surprising, Karan recalls how being an actor’s son led to him being bullied in his childhood — so much so that he had to change his school. It wasn’t until he reached his mid-teen years that he started finding himself worthy. “Since I was shy and wouldn’t retaliate, I became a soft target for my classmates — they would pick on me and there would always be a new joke. It affected me badly, I started dreading going to school. There were times when I would come home crying and confide in my mom,” he recalls and adds, “Bullying is not right. It is very easy for you to be mean but imagine what that kid is going through. He might stay away from chasing his dreams because you are undermining him, so much so that he has also started believing that he is not good.”
It is during this period that he started finding solace in the world of cinema. He would choose DVDs from his father’s collection and watch them on loop, imagining himself being the hero.
In his debut film, Karan will be seen playing a young boy who runs an adventure camp and homestay, and takes people for various expeditions. “He is a simple guy who loves nature and draws inspiration from survival instructor Bear Grylls. He gets an adrenaline rush from doing rappelling, river crossing, hiking and other activities. Then comes a girl (played by Sahher Bambba) from Delhi who is a travel vlogger. She hears about him and thinks that there must be something bad about this guy and that he can’t be all nice and good. And, that’s how they meet,” he informs.
The film shot in parts of Himachal Pradesh like Spiti, Rohtang Pass, Chandra Taal and Kibber involved Karan doing a lot of adventure sports — something that he recalls was very taxing. “I knew we would be shooting in Himachal but never in my wildest dreams had I imagined it to be what it was! The places that dad had shortlisted were beyond my imagination, there was no civilisation — there was no one around us. I was fine with rappelling but then it started including other adventurous sports and it was physically taxing,” says Karan.
Was there any apprehension in working with his father since Sunny is bound to push him to the farthest end? “It was my dream to work with my father but yes, he was very blunt. At times, when he wouldn’t be happy with a shot or sequence, he would say, “let’s pack, we will do it again tomorrow.” At times, it was difficult and there were some places where I felt like telling him that you are being too harsh but I couldn’t. I did understand where he was coming from. He was also trying to push me because he wants me to give my best and he wants me to be prepared for the criticism. Nowadays, being a star kid is more negative than positive,” says Karan, while admitting that he got this launch only because of his father. “I am here because of him but don’t judge me without seeing my work,” he adds.
But, is this the ideal debut that he had on his mind? “I wanted to do something like Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance (1993) and initially, we thought we would make something on these lines but then it was changed over the course of writing. But, yes, I am on the same page as my father when it comes to the genre. He says that I have my whole life to explore different kinds of roles, but there is a certain innocence and freshness, which comes out in one’s debut film without them even trying. That must be explored. Young, naive love is like that — it is unfazed by everything else. That was the major reason why we went for a romantic film,” avers Karan, who is in the process of signing a rom-com by Indra Kumar.
Is the romantic genre becoming his comfort zone? “Honestly speaking, I would really like to do something serious. Contemporary work excites me more than commercial projects. And, the way Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are pushing boundaries — where you can really go out and create something from heart without worrying about box office result — is amazing. If a Netflix project comes, it will be another kind of dream-come-true situation for me,” he concludes.
— Heena Khandelwal