Gulshan Devaiah: Smoke’s appeal is raw and gritty in comparison to Dum Maaro Dum

Bollywood actor Gulshan Devaiah, popular for his role in films like Hunterrr, Shaitaan, Death In The Gunj and Ram-Leela among others, is all set to step into the digital world with Eros Now original web series Smoke.

Written by Arushi Jain | New Delhi | Published: October 26, 2018 11:50:57 am

Gulshan Devaiah in Smoke Gulshan Devaiah’s web series Smoke is now streaming on Eros Now. 

Bollywood actor Gulshan Devaiah, popular for his role in films like Hunterrr, Shaitaan, Death In The Gunj and Ram-Leela among others, is all set to step into the digital world with Eros Now original web series Smoke.

Set in the underbelly of Goa, the eleven episodes series is a crime drama and also stars Kalki Koechlin, Mandira Bedi, Jim Sarbh, Amit Sial, Satyadeep Mishra, Neal Bhoopalam, Prakash Belawadi and the late Tom Alter.

Before the release of the web series, Gulshan in an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com talked about Smoke and his upcoming release Mard Ko Dard Nahi.

Here are excerpts from the conversation:

Q. Tell us about your role in Smoke.

I play a character who comes from Bihar to Goa and decides to stay back. He is greedy and very ambitious. He is extremely flashy in his dressing and his aesthetics are all over the place. He is super greedy for power.

Q. How did you adopt the mannerisms of a Bihari gangster?

I don’t like to discuss too many things about the character traits because as actors we create an illusion of a character. I don’t want to break that illusion because only if the illusion is kept intact then the character is believable. However, there are a lot of things you can do for preparation. For Smoke, I worked mainly on the dialect by listening to the recordings given to me by my producer and paid attention to the rhythm of the language.

Q. You have done Dum Maaro Dum too which was based on the same subject as Smoke. How are the two different or similar?

The only similarity I find between Dum Maaro Dum and Smoke is that both are set in Goa. Dum Maaro Dum was not about what Smoke is about. Smoke is about greed and power and it looks at it through the lives and interactions of seven-eight people and what human beings are ready to do for it. Dum Maaro Dum was about several other things. I would not compare the two because the intention is different, the characters are much more varied than they were in DMD. Smoke’s appeal is raw and gritty in comparison to Dum Maaro Dum.

Q. How is working for web and films different?

It’s not different for me as we shot it like a movie only. At the end of the day, it is about your performance. It’s a creative process. With a series such as Smoke, you have to take more time to tell the story. In terms of craft and application, I do not see any difference. When you make a good quality product, it doesn’t matter if it’s a film or a series.

Gulshan Devaiah in Smoke Gulshan Devaiah in Smoke

Q. Do you think the digital medium has the ability to overpower cinema?

In my opinion, it is possible that the web will overpower the film business someday. But it will be a damn shame if people won’t go to theaters and watch films. I am a bit concerned about it even though it’s a wonderful platform to tell stories and to reach out to the people.

Cinema has always been magical and you experience the story and the characters differently on the silver screen. That is the reason why cinema has lasted and it has been the biggest source of entertainment for the past hundred years. There was a time when people thought television will overpower cinema. But that didn’t happen. I think that these two mediums (films and digital) will coexist and will thrive on each other. They can learn from each other and it would be a lively contest.

Q. Your film Peddlers went to Cannes Film Festival and now Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota has also garnered praises at TIFF and is selected for MAMI too. How does it feel? How does such recognition help you as an actor?

It’s really wonderful when you get a feedback from the audience about whom you do not know much. It’s a great feeling to see an Indian film getting so much attention from the western audience predominantly the white audience. They watched it, stood up and clapped for it and voted this film to victory. It’s a feather in our caps and it has given us the motivation to look ahead.

It is like when you sing in front of your parents, they are always appreciative of your talent but only when you go out and sing in front of 50,000 unknown people, you know whether you sing well or not. So this is that only. We have the experience of responses of the local diaspora but how will other people react to your cinema? Will they be accepting towards it? Will they be entertained? And when they are, its a source of inspiration. In Hindi cinema, we seem to be narrow-sighted and we don’t try to reach out globally. Indian films are now being screened in China and suddenly we have realised the world is a bigger place.

Q. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota is an unusual concept. Tell us something about it. What are your expectations from its theatrical release?

I think it will be a blockbuster. The way it has been put together is very fresh. The way the referencing has been done for the film is fresh but also there are scenes where people can relate to it and enjoy. From the two shows that were there, people had a good time watching the film.

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