Sunny Deol recalls the time when ‘Ghayal’ was rejected by all producers and how his dad Dharamendra stepped in

In 1990 ‘Ghayal’ was one of the hits of Sunny Deol for which he was even given a National Award (Special Jury Award). But the initiation of this movie was not as easy as it seems. It was Rajkumar Santoshi’s debutant movie as a film-maker and he had faced rejection from producers back then, not many of them were keen to produce the Sunny Deol- starrer at that stage, till Sunny’s father Dharmendra stepped in.

The film was finally produced by Dharmendra, and upon release on 22nd June 1990, and it went on to become a superhit.


In a chat with IANS, Sunny recalled the making of “Ghayal”, a film that paved his position as an action hero.

Sunny told IANS: “Back then Raj was an assistant of Govind Nihalani, and he was yet to make his debut as a director. We knew each other and he came to me to narrate the story. I really liked the story, so I promised him to make it. Of course, Raj was a new director, so getting a producer was a task. Whoever we went to, with the story, every producer said that ‘yeh picture banao maat, chalegi nahi (don’t make this film, it won’t work)’. Almost everyone rejected the idea of the core story and everyone was suggesting changes. After exhausting ourselves with all the ‘no’, eventually, we went to my father.”

“My father saw the potential in the story and he decided to produce the film. Realising that papa has shown confidence and faith in us, we had to work hard and made the film exactly the way we scripted,” recalled the actor.

“Ghayal” featured Meenakshi Seshadri, Raj Babbar, Moushmi Chatterjee, Amrish Puri along with Sunny.

Before the film’s theatrical release, the actor-director kept a screening of the film for film critics and other members of the fraternity.

“I remember that moment, since I am an introverted person by nature. I used to feel awkward in front too many people, and standing in front of critics and receiving feedback of my work that I am so emotionally attached to, was tough. ‘Ghayal’ is close to our heart. Raj and I were so nervous. After the screening, before we came out to meet everyone, I told Raj, ‘theek hai, ab bann gaya hai, badal to nahi sakte (it’s all right, we have made it and cannot change it now). At least we made the film with honesty. Fail ho gaye to aage se aisi story nahi banayenge, aur kya (if we fail, we won’t attempt this sort of a story again in the future)’!” laughed Sunny.

The film went on to be a huge success and become one of the highest-grossing Bollywood ventures at the box office that year. Apart from a Special Jury Award for Sunny, the film was also given a National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.
Sunny and director Santoshi collaborated on films like “Damini” and “Ghatak” after “Ghayal”. Both films were successful.