Just a day prior to the release of Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, Gulshan Devaiah (who plays Bhavani in the film) was at the MissMalini HQs. With Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, Gulshan has entered the big league. We sat down with him to talk films, working with stars, the possibility of him being typecast in the ‘bad guy’ mould and what you Tweeple think of him. Highlights from the interview follow:
Team MissMallini: What was it like working with Deepika Padukone, the ‘star’?
Gulshan Devaiah: I really didn’t know how to behave with her. When you meet ‘stars’, like bonafide stars and two of her films hadn’t released then. She’s a bigger star now. She was already a pretty big deal when she showed up on set. We were shooting lahu and I was, for 3 hours, sitting around her and wondering what I should say. I wanted to say something really intelligent and I wanted to make a good impression, “Oh, I come from the Theatre!” (laughs) I just couldn’t come up with anything and finally, she said hello. That’s how. I might have just melted away. I don’t know. Maybe it was my make-up melting because, I was, sort of, racking my brains to come up with something really intelligent.
I get terribly embarassed when I meet famous people. I wouldn’t know what to say. I remember meeting Quentin Tarantino once. I just shook his hands, I was wearing a white jacket. It was in Venice. “A white jacket, huh, something different,” he said. But that’s all I could say, ‘thank you’. Everybody was going up to him, talking to him, shaking his hand, taking pictures. I just felt that almost not worthy of meeting someone who’s that great.
Team MM: Is it more fun playing the bad guy than the good guy?
GD: It’s more fun to do anything if you’re given an opportunity to create and contribute and experiment and come up with ideas. I don’t like a straightforward approach to anything. I like to step out of the box as much as possible. I think the term, bad guy and good guy, is very subjective. It depends on how you perceive it. Human beings are not perfect. Everybody has a little bit of a good guy and everybody has a little bit of a bad guy. Sometimes the bad guy is more prominent, sometimes the good guy is more prominent. But I think the roles that I have done so far, have very prominent, sort of, grey characteristics in them. It’s been fun because of the kind of directors I’ve worked with, the kind of films I’ve been part of.
Team MM: Are heroes in a story incidental and the villain actually the one that takes the story forward?
GD: It makes sense. It’s about creating balance. If you look at some of the mythological scriptures. If you look at some of the mythological scriptures, I’d like to refer to the Mahabharata. This guy, Duryodhana is one of the greatest villains of all times. He has so much in him. He has so many great qualities. At the same time, his ego always get the better of him. His end was because of his gigantic ego. These are the influences I grew up with. Later, I saw aspects of that in other great villains through comic books or cinema. I think the good looks good because there is a bad to complement or contrast that. We wouldn’t appreciate the good things in life if we didn’t go through the harsh realities of life. I have a wonderful opportunity with these films that I’ve done to create that contrast.
Team MM: Aren’t you afraid of being typecast?
GD: I think people are comfortable in categorising. I’ve been put in this category that says I am the grey guy. He plays all these roles. I’m okay with that because it is not going to affect me. It’s not going to make me believe that this is who I am. As long as I know what my capabilities are and I keep pushing myself to explore my capabilities and my craft, I’m okay with these slots. They are not going to chain me down. It’s not a shackle. With the kind of cinema that we’re doing, it’s impossible for us to play white or black. It doesn’t exist in the world because it’s not human nature. It boils down to whether it’s a lighter shade of grey or darker shade of grey. When you look at Forrest Gump for instance. Tom Hanks did a fantastic job of playing a guy who was so imperfect. In real life, people would never accept or love the guy so much. That is the greatness of cinema. Hopefully, people will look at me as a guy not just doing negative roles but as someone who can be more versatile.
And we got him to answer some of your Twitter questions as well. Watch what he had to say:
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Pix: Ranjit Rodricks for MissMalini