In 2005, Abhay Deol arrived on our screens (and in our hearts) as an adorably dimpled boy-next-door who was a far cry from Bollywood's macho leads. Just like him, his debut film Socha Na Tha, was not your usual Bollywood romantic comedy.

Abhay Deol
Source: YouTube

15 years later, not much has changed as Abhay Deol continues to star in, and back, projects that are different than the norm, like his latest sci-fi drama JL50.

JL50
Source: IMDb

A sci-fi drama that explores the concept of time travel in a way few Indian films have, JL50 is a gripping thriller, even if it fails to come at par with international sci-fi films and web series.

JL 50
Source: IMDb

However, Jl50 is also the latest, in a long list of projects, that have established that apart from being one of our most favourite woke celebrities, Abhay Deol is also the favoured star of unconventional projects.

Abhay Deol
Source: Instagram/Abhay Deol

While Abhay Deol has never shied away from the privilege he has enjoyed in the industry, what can also not be denied is that his filmography is more diverse than most.

Abhay Deol fimography
Source: IMDb

Socha Na Tha was a hit with a generation fast losing interest in Bollywood's cliched love stories, and could have been the perfect platform for Abhay to emerge as the industry's 'next big star'.

Abhay Deol
Source: Instagram/Abhay Deol

And yet, he chose to follow his debut success with stories that most people in Bollywood would never have dared to dream of, like Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, and Manorama Six Feet Under.

Despite earning critical acclaim, none of these films achieved commercial success. But that didn't deter Abhay.

He went on to deliver one of Bollywood's finest heist comedies, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!. And followed it with a rendition of Devdas firmly rooted in feminism - the black comedy romantic drama, Dev.D.

Oye lucky lucky oye
Source: Netflix

From the direction to music, both Dev. D and Oye Lucky were nothing like what Bollywood had seen before. Of course, Abhay Deol's performance continued to impress with each film.

After all, he played the boy-next-door 'superhero' in Honeymoon Travels, a sarcastic, almost knavish thief in Oye Lucky, and an entitled, heartbroken lover in Dev.D, with equal conviction.

Abhay Deol
Source: TOI

Simply put, he brought indie cinema to the mainstream audience at a time when few people had access to OTT platforms, and theatres defined the movie-experience for a majority of the population.

Abhay Deol
Source: Instagram/Abhay Deol

And yet, he was just as comfortable in a set-up far removed from the indie productions he'd started being associated with. I'm of course talking about his mainstream ventures like Aisha and ZNMD.

ZNMD
Source: India Today

In recent years, he started taking over OTT platforms with films like Chopsticks and What Are The Odds?

What Are The Odds
Source: technologyshout

Were they perfect films? Definitely not. But were they films that encouraged new talent and celebrated unusual stories and different formats of story-telling? Hell yes.

Similarly, JL50, his film released as a web series, is far from being a sci-fi wonder. But, in an industry where romance and violence take center stage, a thriller that's based on the concept of time-travel is a welcome change.

JL50
Source: All Time Trends

It's fast-paced, intriguing, contains original music (always a win in the age of remixes), and brings together a truly talented starcast. Which definitely makes it worth a one-time watch.

The star whose movies include Shanghai, Raanjhanaa, and Happy Bhag Jayegi, may not be winning awards for 'Best Film' any time soon. But he has been winning hearts for promoting original content for over a decade now. And we don't want him stopping anytime soon.