Turning into a producer has made Abhay Deol more candid than ever before. Known for his blunt and heartfelt comments, often misunderstood and interpreted as arrogant, Abhay these days is calling a spade a spade. From revolting against the norms to cracking a joke at his own expense, he did it all en route to the release of his debut production, One By Two, towards the end of last month. Bollywood Hungama’s Joginder Tuteja caught up with the emerging producer to quiz him about developments in his career.

One By Two was your first true-blue romcom, almost a decade after Socha Na Tha (2005). That must’ve been special, right? Yes indeed. What happened was that I called (director) Devika (Bhagat) at home as I had certain ideas that I wanted to share. She told me that she too had an idea.

So before I could start, she ended up giving me a narration. I thought that her idea was better than mine and she said – “Yeah, I know that!” (laughs) … So she took some elements from my idea, put some of her own in there and this is how One By Two moved from inception to development.

Of course the core concept was her own and that’s good because it was complete, unlike mine which was still under development.

You were not being a hero-hero in One By Two even though you could have done so by virtue of being the producer. Was that a conscious call? I guess we have had a hero-worshipping culture for way too long now. We keep showing that a hero and heroine are better than a regular person.

Now that is not being real, we just project it as real. That’s unfair. See, what makes a movie entertaining? Situations. It is best to have characters that confirm you in real life as well.

Entertainment quotient comes from the plot while empathy comes from real characters.

So in real life, just like the character you played in the film, do you feel liberated now? It is all about the mental space that we are in. It is either something that we decide for ourselves or perhaps an external stimulus can act as a catalyst to liberate us.

I can share with you something personal about myself. There was a time when I was too pressed about not having enough support. I looked at others who had that advantage and felt sorry for myself.

Fortunately, I was still working with new talent. I focused on the positives and negative and automatically, liberation happened. It is just that someone may reach a destination before you and then you may reach that point a little later in your life.

One By Two is about a youngster trapped in a box. Ever thought that in your own professional life, you have been boxed into certain roles and parameters? Well, let me put it this way – that I was put into a box (laughs). I am into an alternative box here. I was being tagged as this face of independent cinema and this whole movement – and all for way too long.

Don’t get me wrong though, in a way I was happy to be doing that. I was one of the few people doing that and hence when placed in the box, I humbly accepted that as long I was happy.

However, it isn’t as if I want to be boxed into anything in particular. I want to be moving freely and not caged in there. So tomorrow, if I do something out-and-out commercial, then that would be out of the box for me (laughs).

Meanwhile, you have reached a good point in your life, what with real-life partner Preeti Desai. Wasn’t it weird to be in a relationship and still play these perfect strangers in the film? (Laughs) It could have been weird even if we were not playing strangers. After all, we were not playing Abhay and Preeti but two altogether different characters.

For me, that was weird enough!

– bollywoodhungama.com