Mumbai: Notorious for keeping a ‘safe’ distance from the media, Abhay Deol states that he has his reasons nonetheless. However, he acknowledges the mechanics of journalism and has “learned to keep answers short and concise”. For instance, the only thing he is willing to say about his romance with Preeti Desai is “ far, so good”. In a tete-a-tete, Abhay gets philosophical about the need of good films, his next and much more.

How comfortable are you with the ‘Different Deol’ tag?

Not much. If I’m different, I’m different not just from my family but also due to the kind of work I do. Why should I be compared just to my family why not to the entire industry?

And how do you rate yourself as an actor?

(Pauses) Minus nine! (Laughs) C’mon! How can I rate myself? People rate you, not you yourself. Since you’re asking me, I’d say zero. To me, that’s the best place to be (smiles).

This is why you’re a thinking woman’s sex symbol...

Maybe those women should think again (laughs again).

Is it a conscious decision to portray socially relevant roles?

I think it’s important to do so. Our movies need to reflect our culture not merely shaadi, naach, gaana but also that part we aren’t very proud of. It’s high time we highlight that side as well.

What are your views on Naxalism?

First of all, it’s not very simple. We have a major issue in our country today and we must tackle it as human beings. We’re not talking about a disease here. It’s about our fellow citizens. We should try to understand why they are the way they are and what’s needed to bring them within the national psyche.

So you believe that cinema can make a difference?

Not a huge difference, so to speak, but it can at least help showcase that side of India that is in dire requirement of a dialogue. There are different viewpoints that can’t be ignored for way too long. And Prakash sir has shown them through this film.

Is Prakash Jha a taskmaster?

It was a delight to be associated with him. He’s the most prepared and disciplined filmmaker I’ve ever worked with. He made the whole process easier for his actors. We are known for putting in extra hours but thanks to his knowledge about the subject at hand, that wasn’t the case.

What is the status of your long-pending project Rock Da Shaadi?

I’ve got no idea! You’ll have to ask the producers...

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