Only once in a few years, there comes a Bollywood movie that moves your heart. And sometimes in such a torch-bearing movie, we come across an actor who makes the audience smile, brood, cry, frustrate, surprise and inspire – all at the same time.
The recently-released “Rukh” has similarly brought to us a new acting star – Adarsh Gourav. The power of his craft can be ascertained simply by the fact that throughout the movie, despite the strong presence of Manoj Bajpayee and Kumud Mishra, the audience is finding it difficult to take their eyes off of this young boy.
Ourtitbits got an opportunity to get close and personal with Adarsh. Here are the excerpts of our candid chit chat, just for you:
OTB: We would like to know everything about the boy behind Dhruv of “Rukh”?
AG: I was born in Jamshedpur. I grew up there till I was 13, after which my father was transferred to Mumbai. I attended Lilavati Poddar High School till 10th and then went to Mithibai College for 12th and NM College for graduation. I studied Bachelor in Financial Management.
I was learning classical music since I was a kid. When I was in ninth standard, during a stage show (where I was singing) somebody saw me and asked whether I am interested in acting. From there I started auditioning for ads and films and then “My Name Is Khan” happened, which was my first break.
Soon I started doing lots of ads while in college. I did my first proper feature film “Banana” during my second year in graduation. It was only after that I started taking acting seriously and considered it as a career option.
OTB: Are you still interested in music? Do you still sing?
AG: I had a band in college called Oak Island. We did lots of shows, used to perform hard rock on stage and also came on MTV Indies for a show. But the thing is that once you are done with college, you have to take a decision as to where you want to focus more. When it came to deciding, I thought acting is something I enjoy more. And it is something more viable as a career option. Also, because I was getting a lot of opportunities from the acting side.
But I like both the things equally.
OTB: How did “Rukh” happen?
AG: I was shooting for “Madly” with Anurag Kashyap in 2015. I was in Mukesh Chhabra’s office and Pawan Singh, the casting director of “Rukh,” saw me there and suggested me to meet Atanu Mukherjee (Rukh’s director). At that time, Atanu was about to make a small treatment scene which he wanted to send to Drishyam Films’ screenwriters’ lab in the hope procuring funding for the film that he wanted to make. But at that point of time, I was not aware of these things.
So I met Atanu and spoke briefly about what the scene was going to be. He told me that I would get paid as well. I said, “Wow, that’s a bonus!” (laugh)
Yeah, it was as simple as that. Next day, we set out with 8-10 people and shot in Bandra. For me, it ended there. But 4-5 months later, Atanu called me and said that the treatment scene has been funded. I was so happy for him as Atanu is such a genuine guy.
I said, “Congratulations, I am so proud.” Then he told me that he was planning to make the film with me. And I remember I could not speak anything for next 4-5 seconds. It took me some time to digest what I heard.
OTB: How was it working with Manoj Bajpayee?
AG: Manoj Bajpayee is a legend. I have grown up watching his films. He is such an incredible person. And he is so simple. He has no airs about who he is.
Aaj bhi who utney hi shiddat ke saath kaam kartey hai. He is so vulnerable as an actor even now. And it is so important for an actor to protect his vulnerability. You have to be unpredictable and keep surprising yourself. And that’s what Manoj Sir does so perfectly.
He is very dedicated. And he does not need to as he has already done those brilliant films that people will remember him for next 30-40 years. But he still has that undying hunger and thirst. And I think that’s what makes him a legend.
OTB: With your unconventional looks, do you see yourself fitting well into mainstream Bollywood?
AG: I don’t know. I haven’t explored much. I have done just four films. I don’t think that I should restrict my options by saying that I won’t do this or that. I don’t have the liberty to say that as of now. But I am very proud of the work I have done so far. I am extremely proud of it.
OTB: With the current wave of content-driven cinema fairing well, we think you are…?
AG: Content-driven cinema- this wave has been coming and going for 30-40 years. It started with Govind Nihalani in the 1980s. But it happens usually that the wave dies out.
Wave aati hai aur fir chali jaati hai. So I am just hoping that this time it stays. My generation has grown up watching good international cinema. We have grown up watching “Game of Thrones,” “Dexter,” and “Entourage,”- these are world class. I think benchmark has become really high now. Now everybody is aware what kind of shows are coming out across the world.
So this time the wave that has come, I hope it sustains for a very long time. People like me are just riding on this wave and let’s see how far it takes us.
OTB: What is next in the pipeline?
AG: Honestly, I am still studying scripts but I am not in a rush. Only once in a while, you get to do a film like “Rukh” or “Mom.” Also at this stage, I cannot afford to be picky and choozy. Still, there are some ideas which you want to work with.
In the meantime, I am reading as much as I can, watching movies, attending workshops whenever I can and directing plays. As an actor, you can’t restrict yourself to being only an actor. You have to be involved in everything, especially when you are starting out. I try to incorporate everything I do and keep increasing my skill set till I become of a certain age when I start getting roles like that.
OTB: How easy or how tough was it to enter Bollywood as an outsider?
AG: Since I started quite early, mujhe kabhi aisa feel nai huya ki I am doing something very hardcore. I had friends, I had my school. I had so many distractions. I had this advantage that I started very early. But yes, it is something that requires a lot of patience.
Just believe in yourself. And keep working on yourself. You can’t afford to become stagnant. There are 10,000 people ready to replace you in a second. And there are people as good as you or better than you- it’s just about an opportunity that they are waiting for.
Shahrukh Khan aaj Shahrukh Khan isiliye hai ki woh 18-19 ghantey kaam kartye hai din ke. Toh hunger nai jaana chahiye kabhi bhi.
OTB: You said you gave your first audition in ninth standard. Who was the one who motivated or inspired you?
AG: Obviously, my parents are super supportive of what I do. And they always encourage me. And it is very important to have that sort of support from home and mental peace. And out of everything, the most important thing that keeps me going is self-motivation. You have to be as motivated as you can because if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will believe in you. You have to keep working and moving forward.