Abhay Deol

Abhay Deol (also known as Abhay Singh Deol, born 15 March 1976)[1] is an Indian actor and producer, who works predominantly in Hindi language films. Born in the influential Deol family of the Hindi cinema, he began acting at a young age in theater productions at his school. Deol made his on-screen debut in 2005 with Imtiaz Ali's romantic comedy Socha Na Tha.

Abhay Deol
Deol in 2015
Abhay Deol

(1976-03-15) 15 March 1976[1]
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
  • Actor
  • Producer
Years active2005–present
Parent(s)Ajit Singh Deol
Usha Deol
RelativesSee Deol family

After the modest success of his debut, Deol garnered praise for his performances in films including Manorama Six Feet Under (2007), which won him the Best Actor Award at the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, and the commercially successful Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). His breakthrough role came in 2009 with the starring role as Dev in Anurag Kashyap's critically and commercially successful Dev.D, a modern-day adaptation of the Bengali classic novel Devdas. With the success of the film, Deol gained wider recognition and further praise from film critics.

Deol mainly appeared in independent films early in his career, but that changed in 2011 when he starred in Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a road film that went to become one of the highest-grossing films in Bollywood. His performance in the film was well received, and earned him his first nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Deol has since appeared in commercially successful films including the drama film Raanjhanaa (2013), and the romantic comedy Happy Bhag Jayegi (2016), while simultaneously working in independent films including the drama Road, Movie (2010) and the war film Chakravyuh (2012).

Deol continuously garners attention for his portrayal of complex characters on screen, and is vociferous in his support for parallel cinema in India. He has often been labelled as a nonconformist or an unconventional actor by Indian media. Deol owns a production company, Forbidden Films which was established in 2009. In addition to his acting career, he is also an active philanthropist and supports various NGOs.

Early life

Deol was born into a Sikh family to Ajit Singh Deol and Usha Deol.[2][3] He is the nephew of Film Actor Dharmendra, and the cousin of Esha Deol, Ahana Deol, Bobby Deol and Sunny Deol.[4][5] Abhay Deol stated in an interview with Rediff that he is into acting not because of his father, but because he was involved in theatre since school. "At 18, I decided to take the plunge. It took me 10 years because I didn't want to leave my education to get into films."[5]

Acting career

Debut and early success (2005–07)

Deol made his film debut in the 2005 Imtiaz Ali's Socha Na Tha, a romantic comedy where he starred opposite Ayesha Takia.[6][7] The film garnered mostly positive reviews from critics and was an average grosser at the box-office.[8] Deol's performance in the film was well received. His second film role was 2006's Ahista Ahista. Deol's first 2007 release was the multi-starrer comedy drama Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. which emerged as a box-office success.[9] Deol had two more releases in the year, the crime film Ek Chalis Ki Last Local and the thriller Manorama Six Feet Under. The latter won the Best Film at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival in New York City, and Deol won the Best Actor Award.

Breakthrough and rise to prominence (2008–11)

Deol's sole release of 2008 was black comedy film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. Directed by Dibakar Banerjee, the film had Deol portray a compulsive thief, Lovinder Singh a.k.a. Lucky, and the film's plot follows his exploits.[10] Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! was met with critical acclaim, but suffered heavily because of the timing of its release, a day after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, leading to widespread fear of crowded places.[11]

Deol's breakthrough role came in 2009 when he portrayed the titular character in Anurag Kashyap's 2009 neo-noir film Dev.D, a modern-day adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's classic Bengali romance novel Devdas. The idea behind the film was conceived by Kashyap during a conversation with Deol where the latter spoke about a man frequenting a Los Angeles strip club like a "modern day Devdas".[12] Dev D. received widespread attention for its distinct visual style, experimental soundtrack, and the innovative narrative structure which was unprecedented for any Bollywood film.[13] In a 4 out of 5 star review for Times of India, Nikhat Kazmi deemed Deol's performance in the film as a "class act".[13] Deol appeared alongside Tannishtha Chatterjee in Road, Movie[14] Deol made a cameo appearance for an Item number in the movie Tera Kya Hoga Johnny in 2010.[15] In 2009, Deol launched a production company Forbidden Films, with Junction being the film to be picked up by the banner.[16]

In 2011, Deol starred in Zoya Akhtar's comedy drama road movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara alongside Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. The story that follows three friends, who have been inseparable since childhood, had him play the role of Kabir, an architect. They set off to Spain on a bachelor trip for Kabir who is set to be married to Natasha, an interior designer played by Koechlin.[17] He trained to be a deep-sea diver for the film which was filmed in Spain.[18] The film opened to critical acclaim and grossed 1.53 billion (US$22 million) worldwide, surpassing Dhoom 2 in the worldwide gross, becoming the ninth highest worldwide grosser of all time for a Bollywood film, at the time of its release.[19][20]

New career moves and fluctuations (2012–present)

Deol had two releases in 2012, both of which were political thrillers– Dibakar Banerjee's Shanghai and Prakash Jha's Chakravyuh. In the latter, Deol starred alongside Arjun Rampal as a police informer, but later gets involved in a Naxalite movement[21]. The film received mixed reviews from film critics.[21] Shanghai co-starring Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin was based on the French novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos.[22] The film opened to positive reviews and Deol's performance as a bureaucrat/IAS officer garnered much acclaim.[23] Raja Sen of Rediff.com applauded Deol writing that he, " wears his inscrutability thickly and delivers a strong performance".[22] The film was a surprise hit and went on to gross over 200 million (US$2.9 million) in India.[24][25]

In the media

Deol has been described by the Indian media as an actor who continuously understands how to play complex characters.[2][26] He has appeared on the several magazine covers including the Man's World and the Time Out Mumbai, with titles such as "The New Face of Indian Cinema". In 2009, Deol was included in the list of Zoom's "50 Most Desirable Hotties", being placed seventh.[27] Deol learned the Israeli martial art Krav Maga.[28] He has been an outspoken feminist on social media.[29]


Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Socha Na Tha Viren Oberoi
2006 Ahista Ahista Ankush Ramdev
2007 Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. Aspi
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local Nilesh Rastogi
Manorama Six Feet Under Satyaveer Singh Randhawa
2008 Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! Lovinder 'Lucky' Singh
2009 Dev.D Dev
2010 Road, Movie Vishnu
Tera Kya Hoga Johnny Himself Special appearance in song 'Shaher Ki Rani'
Aisha Arjun Burman
2011 Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Kabir Dewan Playback singer for the song Señorita
2012 Shanghai T. A. Krishnan
Chakravyuh Kabir
2013 Raanjhanaa Jasjeet Singh Shergil
The Lovers Udaji English-language film
2014 One By Two Amit Sharma Also co-producer
2016 Happy Bhag Jayegi Bilal
2018 Nanu Ki Jaanu Nanu
Zero Aditya Kapoor
2019 Chopsticks on Netflix
Line of Descent Officer Raghav
Bounty Hunter Announced
Also co-producer[30][31]
Hero Antagonist Tamil Film
Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kadhai King Vikramaditya Tamil debut

Awards and nominations

Year Film Award Category Result
2007 Manorama Six Feet Under Annual Central European Bollywood Awards Best Actor Won
Indo-American Arts Council Awards Best Actor Won
2010 BIG Star Entertainment Awards New Talent of the Decade (Male) Nominated
2012 Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara Filmfare Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
IIFA Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated
4th Mirchi Music Awards Upcoming Male Vocalist of The Year for "Senorita" Nominated[32]
2014 Raanjhanaa Producers Guild Film Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated


  1. "'Dancer Deol' Abhay turns 37!". Zee News. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  2. Heather Wilson (22 June 2013). "Raanjhanaa Review". Cinema Chaat. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  3. Sandhu, Ajay. "Memories with Deol Family". 25 December 2010. Punjabi Portal. Archived from the original on 30 January 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  4. "What's Common Among Sunny, Bobby & Abhay Deol". 14 July 2011. Koimoi. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  5. Patcy N (2 March 2005). "'Sunny bhaiyya loves soft toys!'". Rediff. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  6. Mukherjee, Tastam (9 August 2016). "Spotting Abhay Deol in KK's Pal will be your WTF moment of the day". India Today. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  7. "Socha Na Tha". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  8. "Flops galore at Indian box office!". Rediff.com. 8 March 2005. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  9. "Box Office 2007". Box Office India.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  10. "Who is Bunty Chor?". India Today. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  11. Karaganis, Joe (2011). Media Piracy in Emerging Economies. Carolina: Lulu. p. 369. ISBN 0984125744. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  12. "The Inspiration Behind Anurag Kashyap's Films". Rediff.com. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  13. Nikhat Kazmi. "'Dev D Movie Review'". Indiatimes.com. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  14. "I try to fight off labels: Abhay Deol". The Hindu. PTI. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  15. "Abhay Deol turns item boy in 'Tera Kya Hoga Johnny'". Entertainment.in.msn.com. 14 December 2010. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  16. "Abhay Deol wants to chart the forbidden territory". The Indian Express. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  17. Press Trust of India (27 April 2010). "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara cast and crew". NDTV. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  18. Sharin Wader Butani (10 April 2010). "Abhay making a splash". Times of India. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  19. BOI Trade Network (3 February 2012). "Top Worldwide Grossers ALL TIME: 37 Films Hit 100 Crore". Box office India. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  20. "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara reviews". Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  21. "'Chakravyuh' Gets Mixed Reaction; Arjun Rampal Impresses Critics". International Business Times. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  22. Sen, Raja (8 June 2012). "Review: Shanghai, a frighteningly fine film". Rediff.com. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  23. Kumar, Manoj (10 June 2012). "Abhay Deol's Shanghai Gets Rave Reviews From Film Critics". International Business Times. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  24. Thakkar, Mehul (13 June 2012). "Shanghai surprises Bollywood trade gurus". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  25. "Shanghai Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  26. NDTV (25 October 2013). "Chakravyuh Review". NDTV. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  27. Madhureeta Mukherjee (8 January 2010). "Ranbir is India's most desirable". Times of India. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  28. Hiren Kotwani (14 December 2009). "Abhay Deol's new moves". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  29. "Abhay Deol to co-produce Bounty Hunter". November 24, 2013. India Today. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  30. "Abhay Deol to co-produce Hollywood film 'Bounty Hunter'". November 24, 2013. Indian Express. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  31. "Nominations - Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2011". 30 January 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
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