Gagan Arora was kept a surprise entry for the viewers of the recently released web series The Fame Game, as he played an obsessive fan to Madhuri Dixit Nene's Anamika Anand in the show. But this surprise is being loved by the audience so much and even I fell in love with the actor after seeing his effortless portrayal of Madhav. I am used to watching Gagan more as that Gabru, Delhi boy who is a little naive and loud, but to see him pull off this intricate part so efficiently was impressive.
As I got into a conversation with him recently, I wondered how he got the mindset of the character right and if he took any references to prepare for the part. As I ask him all this, he gives me an insight into his process.
"A lot of people suggested to me to watch the American series YOU as they said it's pretty close to my character in the show, but I chose not to do it. I don't take references because if I do, then I feel I might start projecting like that character on screen. I watched a couple documentaries though and tried to read up on some instances like these, but it was the basic homework that you do as an actor to figure out where the character is coming from and what their backstory and thought process is. It was an extensive process but I really enjoyed it a lot. After a long time I got to do something that wasn't humorous or slice-of-life, and I love to break that mould."
But playing Madhuri's stalker and being intimidating towards her couldn't have been easy for the actor, considering how much he adores her. But as he tells me Madhuri's reaction to his scenes with her, I can't stop laughing.
"In between takes, I would use to ask her if she had any fan like Madhav in real life and she would tell me that there were people who would come outside her house and stand there the whole day looking at her window, and they did that for years. Madhuri Ma'am has actually had a lot of creepy fans. But even after that, when we did any scene together, she would come to me and tell me that I was indeed creepy, and I would explain to her embarrassingly that it is just the character and not me.
However, it isn't just Madhuri who has had to face such obsessive fans, even Gagan has been on the other side of it and has been loved obsessively by a fan. As he recalls that. a little bit scary, incident, I am left bemused.
The actor reveals,
"There was this person who came on a set of mine following the stories that I had put up on social media. Even I was also stupid at that time and used to put pictures of where I was shooting and all. So, she came on set wanting to meet me, but the security naturally stopped her. But she went into that zone and said that she will hurt herself if I didn't come out to meet her right that moment. Hearing that, the whole set got into panic and stopped working, and she was brought to meet me since no one wanted any mishaps on the set. But since then, I have reduced putting up stories of my whereabouts. Even if I am shooting in a picturesque location, I put up stories about it the next day. I remembered the whole body language of that girl and utilised it in Madhav as well."
Well, this is the flip side of fame as you sometimes run into people whose love for you crosses the level of sanity. And Gagan has brought that out amazingly in the show. I won't discuss much about his character here as I want for people who haven't yet watched the show to see it and enjoy it themselves without me spoiling it for them. But I have to say, first with Tabbar and now with The Fame Fame, Gagan is reinventing himself and I am loving this side of him. Can't wait to see more of it!