Hailed as the thinking man’s actor, Abhay Deol has proved time and again that members of the Deol family can be good at things other than ‘dishum dishum’ when it comes to movies. Known for his unconventional roles and subtle acting, Abhay Deol has also been compared to Amol Palekar from time to time. This Punjabi ‘munda’, who had explored theatre while in school made his debut in the 2005 film Socha Na Tha for which he was nominated the ‘Best Male Debut’. This film was followed by Ahista Ahista an year later.
By this time, the Deol prince was getting noticed and his 2007 release Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd directed by Reema Kagti where he played a nerd turning superhero ala Superman became a box office success. His second film of the year was the comic Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local where Abhay Deol played a call centre executive whose night turns complicated after he misses his last train and comes in contact with a myriad of characters from the quintessential ‘whore with a golden heart’ to a corrupt ‘mantra reciting’ cop to a garishly homosexual gangster. Though the film did not become a huge hit, the movie received acclaim from all quarters.
Abhay Deol then appeared in Manorama Six Feet Under, a desi version of Hollywood noir ‘Chinatown’ which won the Best Film at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival. This crime caper was followed by Dibaker Bannerji’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye in 2008 which was reportedly inspired from the life story of a real life burglar in Delhi who had specialized in burgling upper middle class residences in the capital city. Abhay Deol played a cheeky conman in the movie and it went on to win the National Award for Best popular Film that year.
Abhay Deol’s moment of glory however came in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D the same year where he played the modern version of the heartbroken alcoholic Devdas who finds redemption in the love of a prostitute. Deol had reportedly thought of the concept himself and the movie which had amazing music bagged six Filmfare awards that year.
The year 2009 was not as successful for Abhay Deol where he acted in Road, Movie directed by Dev Benegal which was appreciated at international film festivals but did not raise much eyebrows in India. His next movie Aisha which was based on Jane Austen’s famous novel ‘Emma’ was also not successful and some critics went on to say that Abhay Deol was wasted in the movie. Deol has also starred with Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar in Zoya Akhtar’s male bonding on a road trip’ formula movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which has been praised by critics and fans alike. Abhay Deol shall be back in Dibaker Bannerji’s upcoming movie’ Shanghai where he will reportedly play a negative character…The thinking man’s hero has finally come of age.
He was next seen in Dibakar Banerjee's Shanghai, which was much appreciated by critics and public alike. Up next, he was seen in Prakash Jha's Chakravyuh with Arjun Rampal. Although the film met with mixed reviews, his performance received much praise from the audiences.he also played a small cameo in Raanjhanaa opposite Sonam Kapoor, movie became a massive hit of the year.