Gulshan Devaiah talks about being the new-age commercial Bollywood hero to Shubarna Mukherji Shu.
Why compelled you to do CABARET? What about the film struck a chord?
It was a combination of a lot of things that propelled me. Firstly, of course, the people I was working with – Pooja (Bhatt, producer) Kaustav Niyogi (director)… Though it was his first film we built a superb rapport and it was wonderful working with them. Of course, Richa Chadda. I have worked with her before in RAM LEELA, but that was a very small role and we didn’t really interact much. When I heard she might be a part of the film I was really looking forward to it. She is a wonderful actor, and working with good actors only makes you look good. But on a personal level, I had to do the film because of the kind of role I am playing in it.
There’s something that Pooja keeps saying, a quote of her father’s, “Industry doesn’t need new stars; it needs new eyes!” I do believe people will see me differently now. I was offered this before HUNTERRR, and it does portray me in a whole different perspective.
How is it different?
Before HUNTERRR, I was seen as someone who plays only dark characters, grey shades. In HUNTERRR people finally saw me in a fun film, wherein my character, though a protagonist, was very un-hero like. When it comes to CABARET, I think I tread that extra mile which was left during HUNTERRR.
Would you say you have become the conventional hero?
Let’s face it, we have all grown up loving the mysterious, dashing guy who takes the heroine in his arms and makes it all good for everyone. My character is like a new age Bollywood hero. Coming from the independent circuit, to be allowed into a commercial space such as this film was great, more so because Kaustav allowed us to interpret it in our way, our own take on the conventional. Hence I say it is a big step for me, and hopefully this change, if accepted, will be a change in Hindi films in general.
While you have agreed that this is a new trend for you as an actor, would you go so far as to say it changed a bit of you personally too?
Coming from a theatre background, I have often heard people say things like a character and a role was therapeutic for them. That is because in theatre the prep is more important than the performance. A process of self-discovery, you take home something good or bad. The fact is, as an actor, you are walking a thin line. There are some greats like Daniel Day Lewis who walk that line right at the edge but don’t tip over. You are creating an illusion; you must not mistake it for reality.
For this role, I realise that while I do have a few standard things I do for every character I play, this film and my character left me with a new feeling. I suppose that’s as much as it has affected me