“I know, honesty is a very difficult path to move ahead but that is the only path I know” Sunny Deol
Ajay Singh Deol, popularly known as Sunny Deol, known for his action films, unique dialogue delivery and dance steps has begun a new innings. He has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and immediately the ruling party fielded him from Gurdaspur as a candidate for the Lok Sabha Elections, the high profile seat, till recently represented by another star Vinod Khanna. This one step has charged up the atmosphere in Punjab and Sunny Deol contesting elections can prove to be a decisive factor in the election results.
BJP’s candidate from Gurdaspur Sunny Deol during his election campaign
A polite, soft-spoken Sunny-Paji as his fans all over Punjab cal him, is certainly a reluctant politician, even now he does not behave like one. After a hectic day long schedule of three road shows in Rajasthan, he flew down to Uttar Pradesh, visited Rai Bareili and Prayagraj to do canvassing for the BJP candidates. Returned to Gurdaspur only at 1 am again to start early in the morning for roadshows already planned. A rally with the top BJP leadership of the State, addressed by the BJP President Amit Shah, finds a new Sunny who is ready to engage with the issues of his constituency. After returning to the makeshift residence cum office in the outskirts of Pathankot, he finds thousands of fans waiting for him, either to just get a glimpse or shake hands with him, he does not disappoint them. Amidst this election frenzy, Sunny Deol spoke to Prafulla Ketkar, Editor, Organiser on issues ranging from his entry into politics to the issues he would like to address if he gets elected to the Parliament. Excerpts:
Sunny Deol with PM Modi
Why did you decide to join politics and specifically BJP?
First of all, I was not very keen to join politics, simply because I was always in love with my profession. But we keep saying that our country needs this, our country needs that; we just keep discussing about this. Many a times we do not understand what it means but we want to make things better. And we feel that we know better. I was also going through similar feelings. Now these elections provided with an opportunity for me.
BJP is my obvious choice. BJP has been the party we have always supported; my father was also a Member of Parliament from the same party. I may not know much about the ideology, I am trying to understand about it slowly and I am appreciating it the more I learn about it. But initially you go where your father goes and your family goes. In fact, that is the way I have always been whether it is my career or any other important decision of life. Anything I have done is influenced by my family. And under that influence you have to take a judgement.
I got messages from the BJP to join party. I met Modi ji years back and then also he asked me to consider joining politics but I said that is not my field. Now also I said the same. Eventually a point came where I started debate with my own self and I said there is no doubt that I believe in Modi Ji and I want him to be the Prime Minister again and therefore, this is the best time to take a decision and join politics. This I thought this is the best way to support him and see whether I can actually do what I say and I think in my heart what I want to do.
There is a perception about you as a person who plays strong and nationalist characters. BJP is also known as a nationalist party. Was this a common ground that brought you towards BJP?
Rather than calling it just nationalist, I am a person who stands for certain values. If I believe in something I stand for it, I fight for it. This has been my family value also. From nationalist point of view I did just two films, Border and Indian but if you see my characters in other films fight for family, certain values and in real life also I believe in the same. That is what has connected me with the people. When I meet people, they talk to me about the influence of my characters in their lives. Then I suddenly realise the responsibility unknowingly I have taken up. Now the time is to carry forward the same thing in real life, to stand and fight for something you believe in. This again I have learnt from my family; we have grown up like that.
I know, honesty is a very difficult path to move ahead but that is the only path I know. I cannot change and that is what I am going to be. This is perhaps the reason for taking a call on joining BJP and supporting Modi ji was natural to me.
You cannot solve problems with false promises but through dialogue and understanding their needs. I don’t know how far I will be successful but this is the way I take things and like to do things. I am not the person who gives up.
You have dealt with politics and politicians in reel-life and now you are experiencing politics in real life. How difficult is this transition?
See cinema is certainly a reflection of what we see in real life. I have just started off. I know in politics everyone has their agenda. I just hope that I will find some people the way I think they should be. Otherwise, even in our professional life we have to deal with different people and circumstances, I feel the same is true with politics.
Ultimately, you are contesting an election from constituency and you need to communicate certain issues for the constituency beyond your party and the Prime Ministerial candidate. What are the issues you would like to convey to the voters?
Within me, through travels, through films, I know that Punjab has got lot of problems. Youth are going through lot of flux. I have interacted with many youths, even my kids and their friends talk to me. I have always been a sports guy and I am always very much towards the youth because I see them with full of energy which is not utilised and therefore, get diverted here and there. So in Punjab, I think we need to work a lot on youth related issues and sports is one of the ways I would like to deal with it. I have heard about the drugs problem, though I have not seen it as I have not stayed here. But I would like to see and understand it. For me whoever has got into drugs is actually got into a disease, I need to find a cure for it. More than that, I would like to channelise the youth towards positive aspects of life. If they get the right point to work on, they will not get diverted. I would like to provide them with that point. Once I settle down here, i would like to visit schools and colleges, discuss with the children, and understand their issues. Thought discussion we can find out what is exactly missing for them. Once you know the problem, you can also find a solution.
Once I take up something, I take it to the logical conclusion, whatever may be the difficulty. This is my driving force. I think the same is true with politics and the same driving force will help me to serve the people and our country.Punjab is the land of agriculture, you and your family has a strong connect with the soil. How are you going to address issues related agriculture?
We are still into agriculture. Wherever we have been, my Papa and we are connected with our farms. Addressing the issues related to agriculture is not very difficult thing, if you are into it. Mother Nature has certain rules, you need to understand them. At the same time, it is a process and we cannot have overnight solutions. One has to go and understand it as with the crop of sugarcane. I am sure once I am into it, I will talk to the farmers and they will only help in finding right solution. You cannot solve problems with false promises but through dialogue and understanding their needs. I don’t know how far I will be successful but this is the way I take things and like to do things. I am not the person who gives up. So I will find the way.
How would you compare a life of an actor and politician?
Whatever people see from outside, the reality is both politics and films are very taxing professions. They demand hard work. Though I am new to the politics and just campaigning now, we also do campaigning for our films. Hard conditions do not bother me. Now I am doing a film with my son ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke paas’. The film we are doing in high altitude but I move ahead and the unit moves with me. Waking up in minus temperature and ensuring that everybody follows the shooting schedule is not an easy task but I keep doing that. I am doing this for the last two years. Once I take up something, I take it to the logical conclusion, whatever may be the difficulty. This is my driving force. I think the same is true with politics and the same driving force will help me to serve the people and our country.