It’s been a long winter for Sunny Deol fans. We have been buried under monstrosities like Bhaiaji Superhitt, Yamla Pagla Deewana (3 of these!) and an ill-conceived sequel to his 1990-hit, Ghayal. Even the most devoted fans of Sunny paaji will have to attest to this. In fact, the last Sunny Deol film to strike any kind of chord with fans was probably Anil Sharma’s Hero: Love Story Of A Spy. Rumoured to be one of the most expensive films of the time, it had Sunny Deol sporting hideous hairstyles, beards and outrageous eye-wear.
That’s what things have come to.
Deol stars in another film this week called Blank, and it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that you should kill (any of) your hopes around it. After seeing all the drivel that the Deol parivaar has been making for more than a decade now. Here are 5 films to watch instead, so that you can retain at least some of the good memories of Sunny Deol:
Rahul Rawail’s bare-knuckled film about an unemployed young man fighting the system, rebooted Bollywood’s ‘angry young man’ in a post-Bachchan era. In spite of Deol’s attempts to make it as a romantic hero with his debut, Betaab, it was actually this film that firmly established Deol’s dhaai kilo ka haath in Bollywood.
A young JP Dutta collaborating with Sunny Deol for the first time, came up with this desi version of a ‘Curry Western’, where a police officer raises a dacoit’s infant son. Also starring Farha, Danny Denzongpa and Amrish Puri in major roles, this 1988 film has been widely considered one of the best daaku films from the late 80s.
An extension of Arjun in many ways, Rajkumar Santoshi’s film taps into the fury inside Deol as he sets out to find his missing brother. Seeking vengeance against the man who killed his brother and the system that protects him with impunity, Deol went on to win a National Award for his performance in this film. The film fires on all cylinders.
Rajiv Rai’s ‘multi-hero film’ after the blockbuster success of Tridev, had Sunny Deol playing a police officer. Sent undercover to Nairobi along with a criminal, Deol’s character is tasked with nabbing a gangster called Ajgar (played by the late Amrish Puri). One of the most entertaining Sunny Deol films out there.
Armed with Rajkumar Santoshi’s spitfire dialogue, a ‘special appearance’ is all it took Sunny Deol to steal the film from under Rishi Kapoor’s nose. It’s this film where Deol delivered his most famous monologue – ‘Tarikh pe tarikh’. Firmly established as an action hero by now, Deol’s presence alone got the audience to burst into applause.
6. Ghatak: Lethal
The last ‘great film’ Sunny Deol made with usual suspect, director Rajkumar Santoshi. The film told a familiar tale of a simple-minded man migrating from Benaras to Mumbai, and delivering swift justice to those terrorising the locals in his area. This was the last Deol-Santoshi collaboration, and it features some memorable performances by not only Deol, but also Amrish Puri and Danny Denzongpa.