Love Hostel: Bobby Deol turns into a ruthless mercenary.


The actor reveals why he loves experimenting on screen and gives a shout out to fans for appreciating his efforts.

Bollywood star Bobby Deol is on a roll. After his award-winning turn as a manipulative godman in hit web series Aashram, he’s back with another avatar that’s sure to grab eyeballs. In new ZEE5 Global release Love Hostel, he plays a brutal mercenary, ’Dagar’ – who is hunting down two young lovers (played by Vikrant Massey and Sanya Malhotra).

We last interacted with Bobby around this time last year, when he had just picked up Dadasaheb Phalke award for Best Actor in a web series for Aashram. A year on and basking in the success of Aashram, he seems determined to take on roles that involve a considerable amount of risk.

‘Dagar’ taps into the dark side of humanity and Bobby referred to the part of a ruthless hitman as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, in a conversation with City Times over Zoom.

“I just found it very intriguing and different – the whole look, the way he talks, everything about it. And I knew that I would get the opportunity to do my best and challenge myself while playing this character.”

An on-screen antagonist must look and sound the part and Bobby left no stone unturned in making sure the rustic, North Indian character of ‘Dagar’ came across as authentic, and menacing, as possible.

“The most challenging part was that I had to learn Haryanvi and get the dialect right. I really enjoyed the process because I really wanted to perfect it as much as I could.”

He said people’s appreciation of the way he spoke his lines after watching the Love Hostel promo was a “great feedback” and described how getting into the whole look of the character was “very interesting”.

“I had prosthetics, a burn mark, a bent nose, grey hair and an unkempt beard and way of dressing.”

And as far as Dagar’s personal traits are concerned, Bobby described him as “very cool, calm, composed”, adding, “Nothing can divert his mind from his direction, what he believes he needs to do. He has strong beliefs and if anyone goes against them he would go to any end to destroy those people.”

Entertainment with a message

A violent film with a dark theme, Love Hostel while fictional brings to the screen the real-life dilemma of couples who wish to marry but face hostility and the threat of violence from their families or communities. The ‘love hostel’ in the film streaming now refers to safe houses appointed by the government .

Bobby reflected on the importance of balancing entertainment with any kind of “message” in order to engage an audience. “Movies and web series are all about entertainment. At the end of the day, you need to get entertained. There could be a film with a really important topic but if it’s not made well, you won’t enjoy it. So I think creatively, you have to draw people’s interest and intrigue so when they go watch it (your product) they will definitely become aware of what is happening in society; every film is written because it’s influenced by what is happening, by stories that have happened around us. Love Hostel is basically fiction but still influenced by society so I think there is something great about the film.”

Vikrant Massey and Sania Malhotra in Love Hostel

Vikrant Massey and Sania Malhotra in Love Hostel

The Love Hostel trailer drew several complimentary comments from fans who were appreciative of Bobby’s efforts to reinvent himself.

Commenting on this, he remarked how sometimes when one plans something in life and wants to achieve it, people don’t always respect or enjoy it, and called this latest feedback “nice and encouraging”.

“Because I am working so hard people are actually accepting me doing different stuff, giving me that respect. That is my goal in life – to do different kinds of work and not get monotonous. I’m just trying as hard as I can.”

The actor is happy to be part of the new wave of entertainment that is OTT and said he “never imagined” the success he would achieve in his second innings in the entertainment industry.

“I’m so thankful to God to get this opportunity, to get a second chance. It’s not that easy. You have to really work hard and now thanks to OTT platforms, everything I’ve done till date (on them) – a film (Class of ’83) and a web series (Aashram) were both appreciated and Aashram was a phenomenal success, one of the biggest web series ever.”

‘It’s all thanks to my fans’

He emphasised that he owed his success to a new viewership as well as an evolving loyal fanbase that was prepared to see him experiment on screen.

“I was more interested in being accepted for doing different kinds of roles and the acceptance I’ve received is really encouraging. What can I say – it’s all thanks to my fans who believed in me, who want to watch me in different roles; they don’t want me to be just the hero. They want to see actors they love doing different things – that’s how a new generation of viewers has come.”

On the flip side there is also a great wave of nostalgia that rears its head now and then, for the unabashedly romantic big budget films of the past. Would Bobby ever consider being the protagonist in a Bollywood romance again?

“I mean yeah, if they make a mature love story; no one has tapped into mature love stories as yet. They only do the teenybopper love stories. There are so many stories bout mature love, so I’m sure I would get a chance to do something like that.”

He joked that he didn’t know if he would “get a chance to run around trees” again.

Personally speaking, while we do get a kick out of the new menacing Bobby, we wouldn’t complain at all if the charming Bobby from films like Barsaat, Kareeb and Badal graces our screens once more…

The actor concluded our brief chat with a shout out to his fans in Dubai. “Whenever I’ve come to Dubai, people have always met me with so much love! There are people from different parts of the world out there and the amount of love I’ve seen, it just feels that this whole world is one every time I am in Dubai. I love that feeling and I just want to say, I wish all your dreams come true and I send you all loads of love.”

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