Films | Artist Interviews | Gulshan Devaiah – Bollywood’s Find of 2011

Gulshan Devaiah – Bollywood’s Find of 2011

Posted by barkha on August 2, 2011 | No Comments

Every so often we have a new face and a new perspective which lights up Bollywood and makes us sit up and notice.  The same is true for Gulshan Devaiah. He is the talent of 2011. Ironically and contrary to popular belief it is not about being the lead, it is more about being noticed in the time you do come on the screen. Gulshan did that in DUM MARO DUM and  GIRL IN YELLOW BOOTS. He has stepped seamlessly into the lead in SHAITAN. There too it was not the traditional, in the true Bollywood sense, lead, it was more of a grey lead.

Here meet this fashion designer turned extraordinary actor:

 A little about your journey from Bangalore to Mumbai, when was the decision made to become an actor?

I think I wanted to be an actor since I was ten years old. I remember we had a lot of Hindi music at home as my parents loved them and among them was ‘Yaadon Ki Baaraat’ which had on the cover Dharmender in his tight clothes flashing a switch blade. It set my imagination free and I visualized myself looking like Dharmender all sturdy and macho on billboards. My parents , in particular my mother was into theatre and I travelled with her shows so I was exposed to theatre pretty early. I was involved in plays and other performances in my school and college days. I was part of  Amateur English Theatre in Bangalore. I went to National Institute of FashionTechnology . Studying Fashion saved my life.  It helped me make money. I did everything ranging from teaching to consulting work.  So, i did not have to burden my parents at 30 years of age for financial support to pursue my dream of being an actor. I arrived in Mumbai  on the 12th of august 2008 with two suitcases, fire in my belly and dreams in my eyes.

 You instantly caught the attention of the audience in IFFLA(Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles), in Girl in Yellow Boots, talk to us about that amazing performance?

I was having a casual dinner in Versova with Kalki and Anurag, when out of the blue he gave me a short description of a scene in the film that he and Kalki had co written. I had two days to show him some improvisations of the scene with Kalki. This was also a sort of an audition for me. The only instruction he gave me was that he wanted a Kannada speaking gangster and that the song ‘If you come today’ should be somehow incorporated in the improvisations. The next two days went by in me breaking my head about my audition and in watching that song 20 to 30 times. I had no clue what to do, I was extremely anxious. When I finally performed  the scene two days later he loved it and wrote the rest of the scenes with me. Growing up in Bangalore I had seen and even interacted with a few local small time gangsters. Chittiappa Siddanna Gowda is my interpretation of them.

I believe that if you have fun doing something then you tend to do it well. Here I was living my dream and was having a whale of a time while at it. Anurag has such an amazing energy on set and I would always feed on that. I felt trusted, that gave me a huge boost . The organic process of filming also helped me realize the part well I think. It is also my favorite part so far.

 In Shaitan your chracter has various shades, from good,to grey, from caring to carefree. How did you prepare for this one?

I had a strong attraction towards KC right from the beginning. Its the part I would have picked, if I was given the freedom to. I loved the idea of him being the opposite of me like a brother twin gone wrong. I was trying out various moods and images for KC when I remembered the very famous poster of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange. That image gave me the starting point to building KC. A song called Black Shuck by Darkness also helped me flesh out more of KC. We also rehearsed all the important scenes with the director and that greatly contributed in to the realization of all our characters.

I don’t like to go on set without having done my home work. Preparation is everything. If the process is good and enjoyable then the final outcome will also be good. If you know who you’re playing and why that person is the way he or she is then it becomes really easy to act. People are grey and I just try to play that out where ever i see an opportunity.

Is it goodbye to stage for now, or do you think you will maintain a balance between films and theater?

No No… it’s never adieu to stage. I am currently doing shows of ‘The Real Inspector Hound’ in Mumbai and we will be travelling with for shows in other cities as well. To be honest I love cinema, I feel more at home on a film set than on stage. It’s funny because I’ve been doing theatre since childhood and I love it. Theatre is my teacher and film is my lover. I shall try to always keep some sort of balance but film will once in a while get priority over stage.

 Your view on the current slate of independent and non Bollywood films coming out of India?

There are a lot of films and different kinds of films being made here in India and I feel that they all have their own place. Our audiences are diverse and so should be our films. There is no doubt in my mind of the immense talent film makers here posses but I believe that we should start focusing on the quality of our films. Like I said before the process is the most important thing and that should be enjoyable and solid. With my limited experience this is what I have to say.

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