Updated: February 24, 2018 9:45:17 am
The last time I spoke with Jitin Gulati, he was basking in the success of India’s first silent LGBTQ film Sisak, in which he played one of the leads. Sisak went on to win innumerable awards across the globe. Jitin, who was also a part of films like MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, TV show 24 season 2 and web-series Inside Edge, has taken a U-turn. He is currently seen playing the challenging role of King Tailap in the latest historical drama on television – Prithvi Vallabh. “I’m very lucky that I got such a show which is finite. The quality is maintained and the character is very good. In past one and a half years, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of good projects which have got the right traction from media and the audiences. They’ve been successful and have been accepted critically well too,” Jitin said during an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com.
Prithvi Vallabh is inspired from Prithivivallabh, a Gujarati fiction novel by Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi. The historical show follows the life of two kings – Prithvi Vallabh, king of Malwa, and Tailap, the neighboring king. The period drama also stars Ashish Sharma and Sonarika Bhadoria.
Talking about going through a complete physical transition where he had to gain around 10 kilos, Jitin shared, “That’s the joy I get being an actor. The emotionality and physicality of this character is something I’m enjoying a lot. I knew I had to gain weight for it. My look is very different from my pervious works. People will see me in a different light now. It’s a definitive choice in my career to do different roles so that I can maintain a certain interest in me as an actor over a long period of time.”
Prithvi Vallabh began airing on January 20. The show comprises of 2 seasons, with 40 episodes each. I ask Jitin about his experience of playing a historical character, and he said, “I’m happy that I’m put through that challenge. Firstly, you shoot for 12-14 hours daily. Then, the costumes, the hair, war sequences, the whole aspect of doing a historical is very different. In a normal TV show, I can get ready in 10 minutes. Here, I take one and a half hours. So it all sets the tone very differently. There’s nothing contemporary about it. You are set-up in the 9th century. So it is a great preparation for me for better roles going forward. ”
Jitin sports two hairdos in the show, and he shares the challenges he faces in terms of costumes and attire. “I’m wearing big wigs and I’ve to fight sitting on the horse in this Mumbai heat. So as much as you fix your wig, it still comes off. There have been cases when I’ve been into a fight sequence, into an emotional scene and my wig is getting stuck in somebody’s jewellery and the whole set is laughing while I’m crying. So that’s happened a lot of times. Great thing is I’ve learnt horse riding and sword fighting and Kalaripayattu for this part,” he quipped.
King Tailap is vulnerable and seeks his sister’s support at every step. Jitin however is not similar to his character. “Tailap is a very indecisive guy. His relationships are very incomplete. Personally, I’m very stubborn about things. You can manipulate Tailap. The common thing between us is our affection for our sister. Tailap considers his sister as his mother and in my real life, my mother and sister have played a very important part. So I can connect to that, how a woman can help you evolve and contributes in your life. I’ve started respecting their contribution more in my life after doing this character,” he explained.
Delhi boy Jitin left his banking job and began modelling until eventually he bagged roles in films. The last time we chatted, he hoped post Sisak, people would start taking him seriously as an actor. I ask him if things changed, and he said, “For the longest time I had this limbo of being a model-turned-actor. Now at least people see me as an actor who can understand a character, can evolve into one and deliver. The kind of projects that are offered to me now, I can see a definitive shift in perception.”
After working in all mediums – films, TV and digital, will Jitin consider doing a daily soap? His quick reply comes, “I want to do finite only. (I’m avert to) Just the idea of not knowing where my character or story will go because in soaps the tracks keep changing and a lot happens based on TRPs. As an actor I want to be very sure of what I’m getting into. That isn’t possible in soaps. But, never say never!”
Prithvi Vallabh airs on Sony TV on weekends at 9.30 pm.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.