Mumbai: Newcomer Karan Deol, who is actor-politician Sunny Deol's son, has opened up about being bullied in school for being a star kid, and says children as well as teachers would either judge him or make fun of him.
"The first memory I have of school was when, in first grade, we had a sports competition and I was taking part in a race. I was standing there, when suddenly a few older boys surrounded me. One of them lifted me and, in front of everyone, smacked me down. He then asked me, ‘Are you sure you're Sunny Deol's son? You can't even fight back'. I was so embarrassed," Karan said.
He continued: "It didn't get any easier from there. Most kids would either judge me or make fun of me. Even the teachers were the same. Once when I didn't do well in an assignment, a teacher came up to me and said in the middle of the class, ‘you're only capable to write your dad's cheques, and nothing else'. I was heartbroken."
Karan says he found support at home. "My mom was my only support through all of this, she'd keep telling me, ‘They're saying these things because that's how they are as people, it says nothing about you'. That kept me going. It was tough but I had to stand up for myself, and answer back instead of giving up and backing down. I had to understand that no one else but I had the right to decide my worth," he said.
A talent competition was the turning point in Karan's life.
"I think my turning point was when my school was hosting a talent competition, and I decided to take part. I realised that this was a chance to prove myself. I spent night after night preparing a rap -- because that's the only thing I knew I was good at. On the day, I remember walking up on that stage, and there was a sea of people, with all eyes on me. But I took a deep breath, and performed my heart out. All the years of being bullied, ridiculed, and of being identified as nothing but ‘Sunny Deol's son', came out when I was up on that stage. The audience thoroughly enjoyed -- and roared along, too. I felt liberated, as if I had finally broken free from the shackles. It took time, but that moment changed my life," he said.
He said he realised that sometimes "it doesn't take people and situations to make your life better. It takes a strong belief in yourself, the power to see yourself for who you are, and not the way others want you to be".
"You're not made to fit into moulds, you're made to create your own identity -- one that's unlike anybody else's," he added.
Karan's debut film "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas", directed and produced by dad Sunny Deol, will release on September 20.