Adarsh Gourav: Learning from the greats

Budding actor Adarsh Gourav talks to NIKITA WADHAWAN about working with senior actors like Manoj Bajpayee and Sridevi, his experience and his new movie ‘Rukh’

Starting out as an actor in the Indian film space, Adarsh Gourav may have landed in the world of films accidentally, but with his varied selection of roles; he is trying to stand out in this congested industry. At a time when newcomers are waiting to become the next romantic sensations, Adarsh is relishing in this unconventional arena which is has led him to work with some of the best names in the industry today. Born in Jamshedpur, Adarsh then shifted to Mumbai after his debut in My name is Khan at the age of 15 years and completed his education in Mumbai. The last time we saw him was in MOM, playing a baddie opposite Sridevi. In Rukh he plays the protagonist who encounters many hurdles trying to find the reason for his father’s (Manoj Bajpayee) death.
How was it working with Manoj?
It was amazing to see that in spite of having so much experience, he is still very venerable as an actor. He is open to suggestions, and for that matter anything. Working with such an actor you get to learn a lot. Manoj sir is someone I have followed since childhood; to be on set with him was a very surreal feeling. He was the one who convinced me to go to drama school as I was hesitant about it, but he just told me to concentrate on my craft and I went ahead and joined a drama school.

Any words of wisdom from Manoj that you would like to share?
Yes, he said be patient. Since I am just 23 years old, and there are very few good roles written for someone of my age, I tend to be impatient. He also told me to do selected, but good roles.

At such a young age you managed to work with actors like Manoj and Sridevi, were you ever intimidated by them?
When you see these actors on the screen, and suddenly they are in front of you, you do then take a step back. But the key is not to get too excited and remain calm. Once the camera starts rolling you need to be your character. This is something that I have learnt from all these experienced actors, they may have a very different bonding off camera, but once they start shooting, they are different people.

How did you get this role?
I didn’t have to go through an audition process. I met the casting director Pawan Singh, and he told me that Atanu wanted to shoot a treatment scene for this movie. I shot the scene, and after few month Atanu called me and offered me the role. It was a very big news for me, and I was very excited. This film is being produced by Drishyam and they have some very good content based films.

Your character in this film is very intense, did it leave any effect on you?
When you do any role, there is a part of you that you give and take from the film. The thing to remember is not to get carried away, it should not change you as a person. There are different kinds of actors in this industry, and they have very different approach to their craft. This role did leave an impression on me, but I did have some breathing space, thanks to my family, it helped me do justice to the character without it getting to my head.

It has been eight years for you in the industry, are you happy with where you have reached right now or do you feel frustrated with your career sometimes?
I do feel a bit impatient sometimes, the kind of role that are written for boys my age, are very stereotypical and monotonous. I am waiting for good things to come by, and in the meanwhile I will keep working on myself – by traveling, and exploring world cinema.

Staring out in this industry at such a young, was an advantage or a disadvantage?
It was not a disadvantage, as for me at this age, roles are very limited. Only after a certain age is when directors start taking you seriously. Everything that I have done has been a was a learning experience.

So, you did not have any negative experience being exposed to the limelight at such a young age?
This can be true for child actors in Hollywood, as so are exposed to so much money at such a young age, that it had deprived them of their childhood. That was not the case with me, I come from a middle class family and have always lead a very ‘saada’ life. Nothing much changed for me after MNIK, except maybe I became more exposed to cinema, which has been great for me so far.

Apart from films you have been doing a lot of ads as well, did they help you have a peace of mind in the workspace while you wait for good projects in feature film?
There are different ways to look at it. There are some ads that you do for monetary gains, and some because they have a very good concept, and has a lot of scope for experimentation. Having said that, I think with every shot, there is a lot you can learn as everyone has a very different working style.

Any favourite ads?
(Laughs) There was an Airtel ad that I did five years back, which was a one-rupee campaign, which was my most commercially successful ads. Recently, I also shot an ad with Nitish Tiwari (Dangal) for TedX and that was a very different experience, especially working with a filmmaker like Nitish was also an interesting experience.

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