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Interview By: TEAM SUPER CINEMA

Gautam Gulati climbed the ladder of fame with Bigg Boss 8. Now, he is debuting in Bollywood with ‘Azhar’, which has just released. He is playing a significant role in the film. Gautam recently visited Super Cinema’s office and we had a very nice interaction with him about his preparations for his first film, his experiences and his journey till now.

“I have come to a point where money doesn’t attract me”

What made you think it is right for you to do ‘Azhar’ as your first film?

When I came out of the Bigg Boss house, I met Ekta ma’am. She asked me to stop acting for TV soaps and do films now. She asked me to meet her director Tony. Tony explained the role and storyline to me. I am accustomed to always reading the script first, understanding the character, establishing the role and then put it into the physical form. So, when I read and understood the role, I felt I can improvise on the character and make it interesting. So that’s how I picked up and said yes to Tony and that’s how I signed the movie with him.

Did you ever feel insecure because of this being such a big film? Were you confident enough to do it for the first time?

I just feel one thing that if someone likes your work, if you have something in you, then people will see it even in 2 scenes. I was actually very happy that I am doing my debut with Emraan sir, because my brother and I are big fans of his. We have been spending our time talking about Emraan sir since childhood and I didn’t know that I’ll be getting a chance to work with him in my first film. So, the moment Tony told me about it, I was excited about it but as an actor I focused on my lines and character as well. If I wouldn’t understand the character, I would have said no. I said yes because I felt I can play well with the character.

How was the experience shooting the first scene with Emraan as you said you are big fan of him?

Actually, when you are doing a scene like that, you have to feel that scene. When an actor performs for you, you react at same time. I remember when we were shooting; Emraan sir was always in his character. He is elder to me in age, I am a big fan of him- these things made me feel a bit awkward to act at that point of time. Even I was so much into my character, that both of us talked in the character is supposed to. So, that time, I did not get the very feeling of a fan and a star. Continuing to do this, we were eventually comfortable with each other. Also, he is a great actor, so it was fun to work with him. He was very supportive all the time. He gave me my space to cope up with the character. For instance, whenever the director didn’t find his shots, we took our time and practiced. This is how we used to finish shoots in just one go at times. It was fun working with Emraan sir.

What about the character, how did you manage to model it on someone existing, like Ravi Shastri?

Basically, this Character is inspired by Ravi Shastri. This character is ‘RAAVY’ and not exactly Ravi Shastri. I had to see a lot of commentators because it is not easy to give commentaries the way they do. You need to get the feel that now the bowler is going to bowl and even if you have lines in between, you need to have that in continuity with the dialogue. For that you need to prepare the scene as a whole and only then it will be possible to say it in the flow and shoot it as well. This is because its chronology is match and commentary and then again match and then again commentary.

How do you model yourself on an existing character, what kind of mannerisms did you have to pick up?
When Tony told me about the character Ravi, I wanted to read about it. Later on, I saw all the videos of Mr Ravi Shastri, Mr Kapil Dev and Mr Harsha Bhogle. I had to go through lot of videos but I wanted to do something different, I wanted to pick up their way of talking. I had to concentrate on how Ravi Shastri speaks, I attended workshops. The guy who was training me for speaking and mannerisms, used to take my interviews every day. I used to go and he would ask me any question and I had become like that, I use to behave like that character. Then one day he said now you are exactly behaving like him. Now, you just have to work on the scenes. Then we started working on the scenes. Let’s see now how it goes. Exactly I didn’t copy, because you have to put little bit of content of yours. You have to take a bit of liberty if you want to entertain people. So, I have taken liberty to an extent, but at the same time behaved as it is like the character. I have mainly prepared for the commentary.

“Ekta Ma’am has a different kind of vision and she can recognise who’s capable of doing what and where”

Has working on television helped you in your transition to films?
To be very honest, working in TV was not helping me earlier when I was doing TV shows but I think one thing works for you the most is when you believe in yourself. In TV, the work or the shots are done in several cuts but actors like Ram Kapoor, with whom I have done a show or someone like Ronit Roy, these people work in single take. I used to think that these people have quality of films. I will also do something like this in future, I used to think like that. I used to tell myself I will always work in one shot, just in a single take. It was in my mind somewhere that I want to do films, so, slowly it came in practice and I use to ask director “One take na”? So, the director use to be like “Don’t know”. Then I was like “Please, take in one shot na”. I had a strong desire to work in single take. I was lucky that I got two international films. One was for Sri Lanka government, ‘Siddhartha The Buddha’ and there is another film which close to my heart because it took me Cannes Film Festival, 2014. I was really happy and the director also was very good who liked one shots. It’s like a practice. I always wanted to practice in that way, so that if I would do any Bollywood movie in future, people shouldn’t have any problem because of me. I didn’t want anybody to say that I take too much time. I have prepared myself for 6-7 years like that and even I never use to try for films earlier. Azhar just happened to me and now I would say that I am trying. I want to do good films. I don’t want to do films which don’t release properly or they don’t get publicized properly, I fear of it and that’s why I am careful in my selection of movies. Otherwise, I have no problem in doing films in which whoever the hero is with me. I just know I have to concentrate on my role and do justice to it and I’m use to work like that.

Tell us that one thing that you have taken back from ‘Azhar’.

I would say it’s just the memories which we take back with us and is important. This is my first film and the actors I have shot the film. If anything good happens in future with this film, if people will like my work and I get to work with good people in future, so, these memories I can never forget, and as it is I remember during the shooting the people who use to train me Tony sir and everyone else use to push me forward and say that I’m doing a good work and that I’m doing more than his expectations. I use to be very happy. I like it when people recognize me with my work and say yeah he does a good work. Big Boss was another thing it was a reality what happened; happened. Now, I want that work wise also people should appreciate me that I do a good work as an actor. So, through this team I’ve got to see and they have given me a lot of good memories. I remember each moment while shooting and all the people are so good and the team Balaji, I’m really happy of being a part of this film. I would say it’s just the memories that are everything, it’s my first film and I’m very happy to be a part of it and I would like to say thanks to Ekta mam. It’s a little weird I remember my first break was also given to me by Ekta mam which she wasn’t aware of it, it was much later when she saw me and then again I got to know that I’m doing another show. That’s how she had given me work. Till the third show that she gave me we had not even met. It was just that she knew I was doing a good work. This time also it’s the same case, it was Ekta ma’am who gave me this film so I’m really happy and god bless her that she’s been so kind. It’s not that we even talk much, it’s just a Hi hello. She has a different kind of vision that she can recognize who’s capable of doing what and where and I’m very happy that I’m a part of such big banner and these people are taking care of my work. They have signed me in a three movie deal. I would just like to say thanks to Ekta mam it’s all because of her.

What do you see yourself doing in future what, kind of movies excite you, what kind of movies do you want to do?
See, the kind of film I did which went to Cannes film festival – it’s a story about a guy who’s mother had been raped and it was quite difficult for that guy to help his mother because he was just 14 years old he couldn’t do anything at that point of time even when he was watching it happening despite having knife in his hand. Even if you see the film online you’ll definitely feel that character. It’s a film of 23 minutes and films like that, to that matter films like ‘Badlapur’ in that he takes revenge of his wife and in this film this guy takes revenge of his mother. It’s just that it’s a short story; a very good London’s production house Rose milk and Cinevistas shot this film here. I was happy that I got the chance to play the role and I was very serious about it I use to not even talk much on the sets as I was lost in my character I was actually depressed because a guy who’s come across such a tragedy, how can he be happy? I use to feel the character because it was beginning for me and I had made my mind that I have to perform it in a nice way, so I will get into the character, feel the character and I will perform and I literally after the shots I use to cry sometimes because I started feeling the character to an extreme. Even today when I see the film I get into the scene again where I was crying. This happens actually in anything where you start thinking from your heart then you get emotional towards it.

So that’s the kind of films you would like to do, more commercials, more ‘Azhar’ like also?

Yes, I would love to. It also depends on what type of scripts I get because once I get a script and if I like it, then only I’ll do it. It might be a comedy, rom-com which I might do, but I should like the script from heart. I am training myself in various things. I have been a Shiamak Davar student, I am currently training for fighting from the one who has trained Tiger Shroff and at the same time I guess I have done lot of work because I have been in acting since a long time. So if I feel that I am lacking somewhere then I should prepare myself because anything might come up just the way ‘Azhar’ came to me. So in the future if I like any script and also the banner is good, then I will definitely go for it.

From the three film deal that you have signed with Ekta Kpoor, would you be doing the lead roles?

Even I feel that in should have my own songs as a hero (laughs), but nothing is that easy in life I feel. Also for the opportunity that every human gets has to have patience and you have to take it easy. Even if you know that you have those qualities, it doesn’t matter. Even if you get a small chance anywhere and if you feel that you can do it in a different way, you should go for it. I am not in any hurry to become a hero, if people like my work then eventually I will star as a lead even if it takes time. Even today I receive many offers for a lead role but those do not belong to any established production houses. So I cannot sign any film which does not have a proper releasing date because it is very dicey. I am of the opinion that I should work with established people and good production houses irrespective of the fact that if I am a hero or not. I believe that if there is any heroism in me that you will get to see that even in one scene. Even today many people ask me if I am going back to doing TV series to which I formally reply saying that I have work and it is completely my choice that I don’t want to do it. I want to give something back to the people because many people have supported me and given me their blessings. I have come to a point where money doesn’t attract me. So I just want to entertain people through my work.

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