Sunny Deol's 10 CAREER BEST performances
With his drawling voice and blameless gaze, the famously shy Sunny Deol seems like the last person one would associate with intensity and rage.
But it's this very 'against-all-odds' bravado that's one of his greatest strengths. The superhuman manner in which the mild-mannered Jat explodes on screen to seek justice renders him invincible and a huge draw among die-hard fans.
Although the 56-year-old's career is ridden with shabby, forgettable scripts and long gaps of absence owing to nagging health issues, Deol still has the ability to surprise once in a while.
With the sequel of Yamla Pagla Deewana, co-starring daddy Dharmendra and younger brother Bobby, ready to hit the screens this Friday, we look at his Top 10 works.
Back in the 1980s, when it was mandatory for star kids to be launched by their father, 26-year-old Deol made a confident debut under dad Dharmendra's banner, Vijeta films opposite Amrita Singh.
There's nothing novel by way of story in this Rahul Rawail-directed romance about economic barriers and multiple misunderstandings.
But his breezy treatment of the bright, new duo and Rahul Dev Burman's ravishing soundtrack lend it abundant freshness for long-lasting repeat value.
Image: Sunny Deol in Betaab
Sunny Deol's partnership with Rahul Rawail resulted in another career best for both – Arjun.
In this sleek yet raw exploration of unemployed, waylaid youth by corrupt political system that boasts of one hard-hitting scene after another, the actor attracts attention for his brooding performance and simmering force as the pawn turned protestor.
Image: Sunny Deol in Arjun
Despite Raakhee's overbearing hysterics and the general over-the-top tone, typical of the eighties, Rawail's Dacait creates a compelling ambiance as a revenge drama of an outlaw.
Interesting to see how unabashedly Deol channels his idol Sylvester Stallone's Rambo as well as his increasing comfort in angry, avenging roles.
Despite critical appreciation the bandit caper, however, didn't meet with much commercial success. With its almost alike tone, Dacait drew comparisons with another Deol starrer -- J P Dutta's Yateem which released to similar response year after.
Image: Sunny Deol in Dacait
With Rajiv Rai's Tridev, Sunny Deol flexes his muscularity alongside the nuanced artistry of Naseeruddin Shah and uber charismatic Jackie Shroff resulting in box-office bonanza.
The action-packed multistarrer offers equal footage to the troika and employs their unique individuality to lead into some glorious dishoom dishoom.
Image: Sunny Deol and Naseeruddin Shah in Tridev
Deol made a major breakthrough with his unrestrained delivery as a wronged boxer and brother retaliating by taking on the law and order administration in his home-production Ghayal directed by Rajkumar Santoshi.
So impactful was his powerful dialogue delivery and palpable frustration in the volatile drama it earned him both a Filmfare and (Special Jury) National Award for Best Actor.
Image: Sunny Deol in Ghayal
While his shouting skills remain undisputed; it's Deol's electric performance as a sharp, voluble lawyer in Santoshi's Damini that underscored his talent for potent monologues as well.
From 'Dhaai kilo ka haath' to 'Taareekh pe taareekh,' it's as though the Meenaksi Seshadri-centred drama comes truly alive only after Deol makes his entry sometime in the middle.
Image: Sunny Deol in Damini
Few actor-director partnerships are as rewarding as that of Sunny Deol-Rajkumar Santoshi.
While Ghaatak, it can be argued, never attains the grand heights of Ghayal or Damini, it sure boasts of some superlative performances from Amrish Puri as well as its leading man.
Deol's transformation from the naive small town wrestler to the hot-blooded, revenge-seeking Kashi is simply staggering.
Image: Sunny Deol in Ghaatak
There's much more refinement and restrained in his aggression as a Sikh army man in J P Dutta's celebrated patriotic drama, Border.
Set against the 1971 India-Pakistan war, Deol along with Sunil Shetty, Akshaye Khanna, and Jackie Shroff represents the face of courage with his stunning dynamism and iron will.
Image: Sunny Deol in Border
Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
Hate or love, you simply cannot ignore (or deny) Deol's extraordinary conviction in single-handedly battling out an entire regiment of the neighbouring country with his trademark might in Anil Sharma's unapologetically jingoistic film around partition.
Image: Sunny Deol in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
Yamla Pagla Deewana
Though the Deols -- Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby came together for the first time in the family melodrama -- Apne, the actor shines best in the part droll, part absurd events of Yamla Pagla Deewana.
As the burly Sardar out to reunite his family, the October born blends in a perfect mix of warmth and amusement in a performance that unanimously dubbed him as the 'best thing' about YPD.
Will the sequel do the same?
Image: Sunny Deol, Dharmendra and Bobby Deol in Yamla Pagla Deewana