Birthday Love: Sunny Deol’s award-winning performances

Kirat Raj Singh



Born as Ajay Singh Deol, the actor-director–producer, more commonly known as Sunny Deol, turns 64 on 19th October. Best known for some of the most memorable dialogues ever heard in Bollywood – (who can forget masterpieces such as Yeh dhai kilo ka haath jab uthhtaa hai na, toh insaan uthhtaa nahin…. Uthh jaata hai… and Taareekh pe taareekh, taareekh pe taareekh, taareekh pe taareekh milti rahi hai; par insaaf nahin mila my lord!) – Deol is currently a Member of Parliament from the Gurdaspur constituency in Punjab.

As our favourite Punjabi Puttar celebrates his birthday, looks back at some of his biggest blockbuster performances.

‘Ghayal’ (1990)
Filled with high voltage action, ‘Ghayal’ introduced Deol not only as an action hero but also as an actor who took on the mantle of angry young man from the superstar of yesteryear Amitabh Bachchan. After a string of producers rejected the film, Deol’s father and veteran superstar, Dharmendra, stepped in to back the film which turned out not only to be the biggest hit of that year but also won seven honours at the 36th Filmfare awards including Deol’s first for Best Actor. Filled with high voltage action, the film introduced him to the industry.

‘Damini’ (1993)
A critically acclaimed blockbuster, ‘Damini’ is still regarded as a path breaker, praised for breaking social taboos as well as portraying women empowerment in cinema, a rarity in Bollywood at the time. It is equally memorable for Deol’s extended cameo as an alcoholic lawyer who fights the case on behalf of a rape victim. Deol, who has never touched a drop of alcohol in his life, became an overnight icon for his performance in this film and went on to win the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.

‘Border’ (1997)
Setting the benchmark for portraying patriotism on the silver screen, the film ‘Border’ was based on the real life events of the Battle of Longewala in 1971. Playing the role of Major Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, Deol portrayed the loud and fearless leader to perfection. But the actor was more than just his screams and shouts – there were two moments in the film which allowed the audience to see the vulnerability of the character; when his wife attempts to stop him from going to war and secondly, when the war is over and Chandpuri realises the loss of some of his bravest soldiers. By seamlessly blending both the drastic emotions in the film, Deol cemented his place as one of the greatest talents of his time.

‘Gadar: Ek Prem Katha’ (2001)
Based on a love story around the time of the partition, the now cult film did not have a smooth ride initially as distributors had refused to pay the quoted amount for the films release. However, that did not stop the film on becoming the highest grossing film of those times, even breaking the long held 90s record of ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!’ Despite a clash at the box office with Aamir Khan’s ‘Lagaan’, ‘Gadar’ went on to sell over 50 million tickets at the box office, with some showings starting at 6am to fulfil demand. would like to wish Sunny Deol a very happy birthday.