His priorities as an actor are clear — he selects roles based on his instinct. Not the regular stereotype bad guy, his style of performances are steely and very character driven. Gulshan Devaiah has shown us his dark side in acclaimed films like Shaitan and That Girl In Yellow Boots. Just a couple of films and he’s already garnered plenty of award nominations.
Gulshan Devaiah speaks to Bollywoodirect about his upcoming release Hunterrr, his passion for acting and his future projects. Read on.
Q: From “NIFT” to “Bollywood”, you have experienced a lot in life. How did this journey start for you?
Since the age of 8 or 9 I wanted to be a Hindi film star. Fashion happened because my 12 standard grades were very poor and the only thing I could do well was draw and paint. So a friend suggested I join NIFT, it saved my life. If I didn’t go to NIFT I can’t imagine what I would be doing now. Perhaps nothing. I was very active in theatre right from my early school days and I pursued amateur dramatics with various groups throughout my fashion days too. Both my parents were very active in music and theatre. Fashion gave me a lot of life experience and most importantly it made me some money so I could move to Mumbai and chance my arm as a professional actor. Mr Rajat Kapoor and Mr Atul Kumar gave me work in their play ‘hamlet the clown prince’ soon after I arrived in Mumbai and after about a year and a half of doing that and other plays, I got my first proper film role in ‘that girl in yellow boots’ by Mr Anurag Kashyap. I really enjoyed being a designer and I was very good at it, but I am retired now. I am now living my childhood dream.. well almost .. yet to hit stardom 🙂
Q: You don’t have any film background and as it is popular in the industry you don’t even have any “Godfather” so how did you pave your way to success?
Well, I guess I just waited for the right opportunities and when I got them I gave it my 100%. I never believed that it was going to be impossible because I was not a star kid or that I didn’t have a ‘Godfather’ in the industry. I had a simple plan, be patient and be selective.I truly believe in my abilities and am willing to work for the fruits of success. I don’t consider myself successful quite yet. Yes, I have managed to do a bit that has gotten me a fair bit of attention from the industry but the true success I am yet to see.
Q: You have played so many negative roles in movies like Shaitan, Girl in yellow boots, Raam Leela etc. What is the reason behind inclination towards negative roles?
Well actually there is no strong reason.. oh by the way Shaitan is not a negative role 🙂 I played a crazy guy who did crazy things. I started off my career with such roles because these were the opportunities I got. Yes, I admit it fun to play grey characters but it was never a strategy as such. If it’s fun and if I have a good feeling about the role, then I ‘ll do it. People do tend to slot me as a negative role specialist (even more so after RamLeela) but I don’t bother too much about that. A couple of my upcoming films will give me a chance to be a bit more versatile.
Q: your film “Peddlers” has been recognized in various national & international film festivals but hasn’t got screened till now in India.What are the challenges and how do feel about it?
Peddlers is my personal favorite among all my films. I think I’ve given it my best. It’s frustrating for it to not find a release in India. I don’t know what seems to be the issue here. Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap the producers and I am sure they will find a way to get it released. I will patiently wait till then.
Q: In early years it was hard to break the image for an actor but now when the audience is giving room for versatility how do you adapting your image with characters?
I don’t want the burden of an ‘Image’. To me, acting and actors should look to be limitless. An image creates boundaries. I want my characters to be free from me or my perceived image. People should enjoy the character rather than the performance. The contemporary audience is more accepting to change but still it’s the actors and filmmakers who need to be courageous with their choices.
Q: you are currently working on Harshavardhan Kulkarni’s ‘Hunter’ tell us more about your role?
Hunterrrr( yes with 3 R’s) is a light-hearted comedy about a middle-class man, Mandar Ponkshe. I play the Mandar Ponkshe, who is just about average in everything but still manages to have multiple female partners. His lifestyle gets complicated when he gets engaged to a girl Trupti, who thinks Mandar is a ” doodh ka dhula” types. He is now caught between being loyal to his fiancé and his “urges”. The film also stars Radhika Apte as Trupti , Sai Tamhankar and Neena Kulkarni .
Q: According to you what is Success?
I will consider myself truly successful if one day I can achieve stardom purely through the craft of acting. It’s difficult but not impossible.