Abhay Deol

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Abhay Deol
Abhay Deol in 2021.jpg
Deol in 2021
Abhay Singh Deol

(1976-03-15) 15 March 1976 (age 47)[1]
  • Actor
  • producer
Years active2005–present
RelativesSee Deol family

Abhay Singh Deol (born 15 March 1976)[1] is an Indian actor and producer who is known for his work in Hindi films alongside Kannada and Tamil cinema. Born in the Deol family, he made his on-screen debut in 2005 with Imtiaz Ali's romantic comedy Socha Na Tha.

After the modest success of his debut, Deol was praised for his performances in films such as Manorama Six Feet Under (2007) and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). His breakthrough role came in 2009 with the starring role as Dev in Anurag Kashyap's black comedy Dev.D, a modern-day adaptation of Devdas. Following the success of the film, Deol gained wider recognition.

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

Deol is noted for his portrayal of complex characters on screen, and is vociferous in his support for parallel cinema in India. Deol owns a production company, Forbidden Films which he established in 2009. In addition to his acting career, he is also an active philanthropist and supports various NGOs.

Early life[edit]

Deol was born into a Jat Sikh family to Ajit Singh Deol and Usha Deol.[2][3] He is the nephew of actor Dharmendra, and the cousin of Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Esha Deol and Ahana 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[edit]

Debut and early success (2005–07)[edit]

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 romantic drama Ahista Ahista opposite Soha Ali Khan. Deol's first 2007 release was the ensemble 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.[10] 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)[edit]

Deol's sole release of 2008 was dark 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.[11] 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.[12]

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".[13] Dev.D. received widespread attention for its distinct visual style, experimental soundtrack, and innovative narrative structure which was unprecedented for any Bollywood film.[14] In a 4 out of 5 star review for The Times of India, Nikhat Kazmi deemed Deol's performance in the film as a "class act".[14] Deol appeared alongside Tannishtha Chatterjee in Road, Movie.[15] Deol made a cameo appearance for an Item number in the movie Tera Kya Hoga Johnny in 2010.[16] In 2009, Deol launched a production company Forbidden Films, with Junction being the film to be picked up by the banner.[17]

Deol promoting Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara at a UTV event

In 2010, he portrayed Arjun Burman, an investment banker opposite Sonam Kapoor's eponymous lead in the ensemble romantic comedy Aisha, which also starred Ira Dubey, Cyrus Sahukar, Amrita Puri, Anand Tiwari, Arunoday Singh and Lisa Haydon.[18] In 2011, Deol starred in Zoya Akhtar's ensemble comedy-drama road film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara alongside Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. The story follows 3 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.[19] He trained to be a deep-sea diver for the film which was filmed in Spain.[20] The film opened to high critical acclaim and grossed 1.53 billion (US$19 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. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara won Best Film among other awards, and Deol received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film.[21][22]

New career moves and fluctuations (2012–present)[edit]

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.[23] The film received mixed reviews from film critics.[23] Shanghai co-starring Emraan Hashmi and Kalki Koechlin was based on the French novel Z by Vassilis Vassilikos.[24] The film opened to positive reviews and Deol's performance as a bureaucrat/IAS officer garnered much acclaim.[25] Raja Sen of Rediff.com applauded Deol writing, "he wears his inscrutability thickly and delivers a strong performance".[24] The film was a surprise hit and went on to gross over 200 million (US$2.5 million) in India.[26][27] In 2014, Deol hosted few episodes of Channel V's crime television series Gumrah: End of Innocence.[28]

In 2021 Deol was seen in series 1962: The War in the Hills as Major Suraj Singh, a character inspired from Major Shaitan Singh, Disney Channel original film Spin, hailed as Disney's first film centered around an Indian-American family, wherein he played the role of Arvind Kumar, the father of the protagonist Rhea Kumar, a teenage girl who learns that she has a passion for creating DJ mixes and crime comedy film Velle.[29][30][31]

In the media[edit]

Deol has been described by the Indian media as an actor who continuously understands how to play complex characters.[2][32] He appeared on 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.[33] Deol learned the Israeli martial art Krav Maga.[34] He has expressed feminist views on social media[35] and has also been vocal about minority and migrant rights in India.[36]



Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Socha Na Tha Viren Oberoi Debut film
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 Special appearance
2019 Chopsticks Artist Netflix film
Hero Mahadev Tamil Debut
Line of Descent Officer Raghav ZEE5 film
2020 What Are The Odds Valmik Also producer[37]
2021 Velle[31] Rishi Singh
2022 Jungle Cry[38] Rudra Lionsgate Play film


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Connected Hum Tum[39] Host
2014 Gumrah: End of Innocence[40] Host
2021 Spin[41] Arvind Kumar Television film

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role
2020 JL50 Shantanu
2021 1962: The War in the Hills Major Suraj Singh
2023 Trial By Fire Shekhar Krishnamoorthy

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Film Award Category Result
2007 Manorama Six Feet Under 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[42]
2014 Raanjhanaa Producers Guild Film Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated


  1. ^ a b "'Dancer Deol' Abhay turns 37!". Zee News. 15 March 2013. Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b Heather Wilson (22 June 2013). "Raanjhanaa Review". Cinema Chaat. Archived from the original on 3 March 2014. 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. 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b Patcy N (2 March 2005). "Sunny bhaiyya loves soft toys!". Rediff. Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. 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. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Socha Na Tha". Bollywood Hungama. Archived from the original on 3 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Flops galore at Indian box office!". Rediff.com. 8 March 2005. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. 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. ^ "I want to retain my individuality: Abhay Deol - Indian Express". archive.indianexpress.com.
  11. ^ "Who is Bunty Chor?". India Today. 11 January 2012. Archived from the original on 9 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  12. ^ Karaganis, Joe (2011). Media Piracy in Emerging Economies. Carolina: Lulu. p. 369. ISBN 978-0984125746. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  13. ^ "The Inspiration Behind Anurag Kashyap's Films". Rediff.com. 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  14. ^ a b Nikhat Kazmi. "Dev D Movie Review". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
  15. ^ "I try to fight off labels: Abhay Deol". The Hindu. PTI. 4 March 2010. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ "Abhay Deol wants to chart the forbidden territory". The Indian Express. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  18. ^ Ganguly, Prithwish. "Abhay Deol is spitting fire! - Times of India". The Times of India.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Sharin Wader Butani (10 April 2010). "Abhay making a splash". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara reviews". 19 June 2012. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  23. ^ a b "'Chakravyuh' Gets Mixed Reaction; Arjun Rampal Impresses Critics". International Business Times. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  24. ^ a b Sen, Raja (8 June 2012). "Review: Shanghai, a frighteningly fine film". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  25. ^ Kumar, Manoj (10 June 2012). "Abhay Deol's Shanghai Gets Rave Reviews From Film Critics". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  26. ^ Thakkar, Mehul (13 June 2012). "Shanghai surprises Bollywood trade gurus". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Shanghai Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Abhay Deol to host TV show Gumrah". India Today. 21 August 2014.
  29. ^ Keshri, Shwet (15 February 2021). "1962 The War In The Hills trailer out. Abhay Deol's Indo-China war drama looks epic". India Today. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  30. ^ "Abhay Deol: 'Spin' is special as it is a departure from my own status quo". www.mid-day.com. 29 June 2021.
  31. ^ a b "Abhay Deol, Karan Deol's Velle to release on Dec 10 in theatres". 18 November 2021.
  32. ^ NDTV (25 October 2013). "Chakravyuh Review". NDTV. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  33. ^ Madhureeta Mukherjee (8 January 2010). "Ranbir is India's most desirable". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  34. ^ Hiren Kotwani (14 December 2009). "Abhay Deol's new moves". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  35. ^ Adrija Sen (5 June 2017). "Abhay Deol Doesn't Care If You Call Him a Feminazi, It's Not Going to Stop Him". VAGABOMB. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  36. ^ "Abhay Deol slams 'woke Indian celebrities' talking about black lives but not minorities, migrants in India". Hindustan Times. 3 June 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  37. ^ "Watch the Trailer for What Are the Odds?, Out This Week on Netflix". NDTV Gadgets 360.
  38. ^ "Jungle Cry trailer: Abhay Deol promises a riveting sports drama". The Indian Express. 13 May 2022. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  39. ^ Ramnath, Nandini (25 May 2013). "Lounge Review | 'Connected Hum Tum'". Mint.
  40. ^ Gupta, Boski. "Abhay Deol to host Channel V's 'Gumrah - End Of Innocence'". DNA India.
  41. ^ "Abhay Deol starrer Spin to release in India on this date". The Indian Express. 27 July 2021.
  42. ^ "Nominations - Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2011". 30 January 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.

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