I haven’t jumped at every offer that has come to me: Gulshan Devaiahhttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/gulshan-devaiah-interview-bollywood-mard-ko-dard-nahi-hota-movie/

I haven’t jumped at every offer that has come to me: Gulshan Devaiah

Gulshan Devaiah, basking in the praise for his double role in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, on his journey so far, and why he wants to do mainstream as well as off-beat films.

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Gulshan Devaiah

Your performance in Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, as twin brothers who are so different from each other, has been well-received.

Everyone loves Psycho Jimmy but Karate Mani is closer to my heart. I had to work hard on figuring out Mani. It was critical for us to do that. As director Vasan Bala and I were working together again (they did Peddlers in 2012), it was a lot of fun as well as very satisfying. Vasan and I used to return home after the shoot together every day. We knew the audience would give it a chance. I kind of expected them to like the movie and my role in it.

At the theatres, it’s like a case of a hare and a tortoise, with we being the latter. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is a small release with 400-odd screens while Kesari is running in over 4,000 screens. Its ticket sale is slowly picking up, thanks to the word-of-mouth publicity. I have been getting so many messages that my phone’s battery drains out in three minutes. Of course, I exaggerate (laughs). I’m an actor.

Why did cracking Karate Mani’s character need extra effort?

I had no martial arts background. That apart, I had to do my scenes with one leg. To essay the role of a karate master, it required a certain physicality. I had four months to create that illusion. I knew if I got Mani right, Jimmy would be easy. Like Jimmy, I could do anything since he does not follow any rules. He is an over-the-top character.

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Gulshan Devaiah in a still from Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota still.

Isn’t there an exaggeration of Mani’s misery too?

Yes, both are exaggerations. Both the brothers are suffering more in their imagination. Initially, I was overwhelmed. But I learnt to be truthful to their circumstances — which was already written by Vasan.

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Since Mani has one leg, I was always asked to keep one leg hanging and used to wear a green-coloured sock on that leg. So that the CGI effects could be added later. It was a relief to play Jimmy as I could stand on both my legs.

You have done a fair number of mainstream and off-beat movies by now. Where do you see yourself in the industry?

I would like to be more empowered so that people can count on me to try something different and release certain kind of movies that the audience will watch. I don’t think I’m there yet. What is more important for me is that what I feel about where I am right now rather than where I would like to be. Also, I would like to stop working when I wish to. I have not jumped at every offer that has come to me and tried to maintain a certain versatility.

How heartbroken were you that your film Peddlers didn’t have a theatrical release?

Very. It was not a laugh-out-loud movie like Mard Ko… but travelled to several festivals and received so much appreciation. That was like a proper independent movie. Several people had put money in it after Guneet Monga put up a Facebook post that she is raising money for it. Yet, for it not to have a release was upsetting. We had worked so hard on it. So, it was a reality check for us. Vasan moved on to make ads and write movies while I acted in Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram-Leela (2013) and Hunterrr (2015). There has been a waiting period in between the projects that I have taken up. This is partly intentional as I wanted to do different things. Since I’m not one of the best-paid actors of the industry, I had to be smart about managing my finances.

So, what’s the next project you are working on?

The next season of Smoke, a web series for Eros, will come up sometime soon. I have also done another web series, an eight-part dark comedy show. Though cinema is my priority, I am open to web series if I believe that’s good for my career. It upsets me, however, when a movie directly releases on a digital platform.

How do you sustain yourself in this cut-throat business?

It requires a huge amount of self-belief and clarity regarding why am I here.

Why did you join this industry?

I wish to leave behind the legacy that I’m one of the best actors. I really wish to be the change. That’s why I work in mainstream movies as well as take up a variety of things. The quality of my performance is in my control. So, I give my best to it. I’m a total glory-seeker. And that’s why we are out in the theatre alongside Kesari which is a big release. In a funny way, I relate to their tagline: ‘The bravest battle ever fought’.