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Opinion: Animal Marks Deol Familys Cinematic Resurgence in 2023 – How Bobby And Sunny Are Carrying Forward Dharmendras Legacy

New Delhi: Like Father, like sons! 2023 will be best remembered as the comeback of the Deols and their onscreen blitzkrieg, as Dharmendra and his sons Sunny and Bobby proved that they were far from being written off.

As Dharamendra the proverbial action hero of Hindi cinema, proved that at 87 years of age, he still retained his onscreen charisma, as he played the octogenarian grandfather in Rocky Rani Ki Prem Kahani. Though his onscreen kiss with co-star Shabana Azmi may have made the headlines, the actor was just happy to have been given a nod of approval. 


A few weeks later the Deol’s celebrated the mega blockbuster success of  Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 was a rap on the knuckles for the many naysayers as well as the industry sceptics who had more or less written off the actor.

When he called out the industry’s hypocrisy you heard him loud and clear. “I was never with film camps or big studios, I was a lone ranger, who likes to work and keeps to himself, there are no regrets”, he had remarked on his 4 decades in the business where he had taken the highs and lows on the chin.

Bobby Deol who openly admitted to being depressed and bogged down by the lack of work, saw a resurgence in his career post his OTT debut in Ashram. However, it was the 54-year-old flaunting his chiseled body in Animal and in a never-seen menacing avatar that had caught everyone’s attention Overwhelmed with the film’s roaring success Bobby Deol shed happy tears. Though Sunny Deol’s son Rajveer also made his debut in Rajshri’s Dono, the film was a blink-and-you-miss at theaters.

Known for their “punjabiyaat” the Deols who more or less stayed true to their roots, the Deols were never socially savvy, preferring to keep their private life out of bounds. The film industry may be a tight-knit circle for a few, but many prefer being on the periphery. The Deol’s are one such unit, who have been together for better or for worse. Conspicuous by their absence at most film events, they are no-shows at  Bollywood’s coveted “ must be seen” soirees neither do they have an overactive PR machinery spamming you with posts and press releases.

Sunny Deol dropped several truth bombs when he said that it was tough being an actor from the film fraternity.  “There is an animosity that comes in. Also, our family has never been a camp family, I remember when I was launching Bobby, my brother, no one was willing to join hands with us. I have no understanding, they meet you, hug you and on the face are very courteous, but there are double standards in Bollywood. People come to hug you and try to shower love but you know they are not being honest”.

One cannot help but recall Dharmendra sharing the same, that how certain actors in the late ’70s had heralded the camp system which had somewhere destroyed the fabric of the film industry. Though Gadar 2 saw the entire film industry in attendance perhaps a first for the family. The  Deol brothers also found their way on a coveted talk show which had more or less ignored their presence in the past. But well aware of the mechanisms at work, the rumours followed of Sunny Deol having hiked his price to 22 Crores, which the actor rubbished.

Bobby who is the current toast of the town is only grateful to have got a second lease of life in his 25-year career. Ask Sunny if we will see the three together on screen post-Apne 2, he is clear it all depends on acceptance. 

“I am very keen, but it’s difficult to find a good story, a director and a producer. It’s easier said than done. Banking on  Gadar 2 if it works, I will be in a situation to pick up stuff I want to do, which I used to do earlier. Maybe bring back that kind of Hindi Cinema back.” 

With the audience giving their vote of confidence and in the times of cleverly positioned star imaging and branding, the Deols have proven that silent roars can often be the loudest.

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