Abhay Singh Deol (born 15 March 1976), known as Abhay Deol, is an Indian actor and producer, who works predominantly in Hindi language films. Born in the influential Deol family of the Hindi cinema, he began acting at a young age in theater productions at his school. Deol made his on-screen debut in 2005 with Imtiaz Ali’s romantic comedy Socha Na Tha.
After the modest success of his debut, Deol was praised for his performances in films such as Manorama Six Feet Under (2007), which won him the Best Actor Award at the Indo-American Arts Council Film Festival, and the commercially successful Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008). His breakthrough role came in 2009 with the starring role as Dev in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev.D, a modern-day adaptation of the Bengali classic novel Devdas. Following the success of the film, Deol gained wider recognition. He also played the male lead opposite Sonam Kapoor in the ensemble romantic comedy-drama Aisha (2010).
Deol mainly appeared in independent films early in his career, but that changed in 2011 when he starred in Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a road film that went to become one of the highest-grossing films in Bollywood. His performance was well-received and earned him his first nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor. Deol has since appeared in commercially successful films including the romantic drama Raanjhanaa (2013), and the romantic comedy Happy Bhag Jayegi (2016), while simultaneously working in independent films including the drama Road, Movie (2010) and the war film Chakravyuh (2012).
Deol is noted for his portrayal of complex characters on screen and is vociferous in his support for parallel cinema in India. He has often been labeled as a nonconformist or an unconventional actor by Indian media. Deol owns a production company, Forbidden Films which was established in 2009. In addition to his acting career, he is also an active philanthropist and supports various NGOs.