Deol made his debut opposite fellow debutante Amrita Singh in Betaab (1982). He received a Filmfare Best Actor Award nomination for his performance. Subsequently, he went on to star in numerous successful films in the 1980s and 1990s. He made his debut as a director and producer with Dillagi, in which he starred alongside his brother Bobby. His critically recognised work includes Manzil Manzil (1984), Saveray Wali Gaadi (1986), Sultanat (1986), Dacait (1987), Yateem (1988), Veerta (1993), Imtihaan (1994), Ghatak (1996), Salaakhen (1998) and Farz (2001).