"I'll never work with Yash Chopra again. He isn't a man of his words.
I don't have good memories about him, he betrayed my faith in him."
(Filmfare, Oct. 2001)

Born into an acting dynasty, both he and his younger brother, Bobby, have continued the family tradition. But until the recent success of Gadar - Ek Prem Katha, many were ready to write off Sunny Deol as a has-been.

    A man of strong opinions and forthright expression, Deol makes no secret of his lingering bitterness toward Yash Chopra, the towering film personality who has directed a majority of Bollywood blockbusters during the last twenty-five years. Deol describes his own experience working with Chopra on 1993's smash hit Darr "the worst experience of my life. I was sick of the manipulations and lies. One day in Switzerland, I was so angry that when I stuffed my hands into the pockets, I ripped the jeans I was wearing." (Filmfare, Oct. 2001)

    His anger stems from the way Chopra allegedly misrepresented his role in the film -- in which Shahrukh Khan's villain dominated the spotlight and walked away with the critics' kudos. "I'll never stop being angry about it. I hate being cheated in life. I don't forgive a director who's done me wrong on purpose." (interview with Khalid Mohammed, tcenge.com) Aamir Khan, who was Chopra's first choice for Shahrukh's role, lends credence to his claims when he explains to India Bollywood: "I didn’t do Darr because Yashji was playing games. He was narrating one thing to me and quite another to Sunny Deol, which I got to know. I knew all along that it was Sunny and not me who was being taken for a ride."

    It seems this anger also extends to Shahrukh Khan himself. From an October 2001 interview with Filmfare Magazine:

  Q: Do you have something against Shah Rukh Khan and Anil Kapoor?

  A: I've enjoyed working with Sanju [Sanjay Dutt], Jackie [Shroff] and Sunil [Shetty]... I guess that answers your question. It's not as if I'd never work with Anil or Shah Rukh again. I've worked with them, I know what they're capable of. The next time around I'll be more careful.

    Furthermore, Sunny has expressed open disapproval of actors who dance at weddings for pay -- a practice enacted most famously by Shahrukh Khan. "Only mujrawallis [dancing girls or courtesans] dance at weddings, not actors. I think actors should maintain their dignity. Dancing at a friend's wedding is okay, but getting paid to dance is cheap." (Filmfare, Oct. 2001)

    Still, Shahrukh optimistically maintains there are no bad vibes between them. "If he has a problem with me, he has never told me about it. Anil Sharma told me that Sunny has no problem with me. I don't know what Sunny's problems are with the people he has worked with. It's not my business and I'm not going to interfere. I feel if you don't like something don't do it and if you're doing something then you better like it. It's simple as that." (Filmfare, Feb. 2002)

   Perhaps the laid-back Khan doesn't mind Sunny's assessment of Shahrukh's role in Darr: "If you ask me, that was a very easy character to play. There was nothing to it." (interview with Khalid Mohammed, tcenge.com) Or maybe a little bit of public ribbing is acceptable between, uh, friends.

Sunny Deol
real name: Ajay Singh Deol
born: October 19, 1961
height: 5' 9"

FILMS

1984 Manzil Manzil
1984 Sohni Mahiwal
1984 Sunny
1985 Arjun
1985 Betaab
1985 Joshilay
1985 Saveray Waali Gadi
1985 Zabardast
1986 Insaniyat Ke Dushman
1986 Samundar
1986 Sultanat
1987 Dacait
1987 Paap Ki Duniya
1988 Inteqam
1988 Ram Avatar
1988 Yateem
1989 Chaalbaaz*
1989 Main Tera Dushman
1989 Nigaahen
1989 Tridev
1989 Vardi
1990 Ghayal
1990 Krodh
1991 Aag Ka Gola
1991 Narasimha
1991 Shankra
1991 Vishnu Devaa
1991 Yodha
1992 Kshatriya
1992 Vishwatma
1993 Damini
1993 Darr*
1993 Izzat Ki Roti
1993 Lootere
1994 Majboor
1994 Veertaa
1994 Gunaah
1994 Insaniyat
1995 Angrakshak
1995 Imtihaan
1996 Ajay
1996 Dushmani
1996 Ghatak*
1996 Himmat
1996 Jeet
1997 Aur Pyar Ho Gaya
1997 Border*
1997 Qahar
1997 Ziddi*
1998 Iski Topi Uske Sarr
1998 Salaakhen
1998 Zor
1999 Arjun Pandit
1999 Dillagi
1999 Pyar Koi Khel Nahin
2000 Champion*

2001 Farz
2001 Gadar - Ek Prem Katha*
2001 Indian*
2001 Ye Raste Hain Pyar Ke
2002 Maa Tujhe Salaam
2002 23rd March 1931: Shaheed
2002 Jaani Dushman
2003 Jaal - The Trap
2003 The Hero
2004 Lakeer
2004 Rok Sako To Rok Lo

* acclaimed performance


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