Pavail Gulati says, 'I never see Thappad and Dobaaraa as entirely Taapsee Pannu films.'

Actor shares his experience of working with Anurag Kashyap in Dobaaraa, bond with co-star Taapsee Pannu, and more

Rohit BhatnagarUpdated: Monday, August 08, 2022, 08:00 AM IST
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Pics: Instagram/pavailgulati

Pavail Gulati will soon be seen alongside Taapsee Pannu in Dobaaraa. The Anurag Kashyap directorial is a remake of the 2018 Spanish film Mirage. It is scheduled for theatrical release on 19 August 2022. The Free Press Journal caught up with the actor for an exclusive interview. Excerpts:

While Thappad was a social drama, Dobaaraa is about time travel, how did this shift happen?

Dobaaraa was supposed to be my first film since I signed it before Thappad but due to some production hassles, it was rolled post-Thappad. I didn’t choose these films but they chose me. I remember what Shah Rukh Khan said in one of the dialogues from the film Luck By Chance. When I was doing Ghost Stories with Anurag Kashyap, he told me that for now I am casting you in a small role but I’ll give you a bigger role in some other film. That was the deal.

Dobaaraa is your second film with Taapsee. Was it a coincidence or a conscious decision?

She always bullies me all the time (laughs). Our friendship started on the second day itself. We kind of share a similar journey and have a lot of commonalities. The good part is that we kept in touch after the release of Thappad too. She is honest, sometimes her words might hurt you but she is my cry shoulder. There was no one for her when she started but I have her. In fact, she and I were supposed to be together in Dobaaraa but Thappad was just a coincidence.

How was it shooting with a maverick filmmaker like Anurag Kashyap?

Actors who have worked with Anurag know that there is no process since he is very spontaneous. He doesn’t let you prepare and hates when an actor comes with preparation. I had to just trust his process and not really prepare much.

Both Thappad and Dobaaraa are headlined by Taapsee Pannu, do you have any insecurities on that front?

I feel all of us have to break that shell of thought that these two films are female-oriented films. No one calls a film a male-oriented film. It is about what the film demands. In the era where OTT has emerged so well, it doesn’t matter who is headlining the film. I never looked at these films as Taapsee’s films, rather I want to work with good directors. I will blindly do a one-scene role in an Anurag Kashyap film. Thappad has given me so much, however, I want to be the face of the film.

How did a film like Thappad happen to be your big screen debut?

I auditioned for it and Anubhav sir (Sinha) loved it but he couldn’t hear anything since the audition tape had some audio glitch. I straight away landed in Lucknow on the sets of the film from London fully jet-lagged, when one day of the shoot happened too. I met Anubhav sir and Taapsee for the first time. He even mentioned that it is the first time that I have cast a lead guy without meeting him. It was a very unusual casting since I had to look a certain way.

Were you okay with all the backlash you received for your role on social media post-Thappad?

I was thinking that I would be trolled but luckily it didn’t happen that much. I thought I was underestimating my audience. I kept telling Taapsee that people will hate me. I got a lot of love after the release. The best part is that Thappad as a film started a conversation in a household and I think it’s the biggest takeaway of the film.

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