With appreciation constantly flowing in for his recently released film ‘Gulmohar’ from the audience and critics alike, actor Gandharv Dewan is in a happy place. However, the film, which also stars stalwarts like Sharmila Tagore and Manoj Bajpayee along with Suraj Sharma of ‘Life of Pi’ fame, came to Gandharv on an off chance, something he never saw coming.
In the film, Gandharv essays the role of a coordinator of a movers and packers company, who helps in the shifting of the house for the family of Sharmila Tagore and Manoj Bajpayee.
The actor told IANS, “When I was given this part, I was very sure that I do not fit into the universe of the film or I don’t fit the part. I thought that they might have made a mistake by considering me for this character.”
The project came to him during the thick of the pandemic when the opportunities and auditions were very sparse plus it had a terrific line up, which sealed the deal for him. He shared, “The team was very good as director Rahul Chitella had worked with Mira Nair and was now putting together his own project and Manoj sir and Sharmila ma’am too were there. So, I thought it’s a good opportunity that I shouldn’t miss”.
When asked about his experience of working with ‘Life of Pi’ star Suraj Sharma, Gandharv said, “Suraj was absolutely opposite of what I had imagined of him. I thought he has worked in Hollywood so he would come with a certain mindset but he is such a humble guy and a very well raised boy. He was the kind of nucleus to get everyone together for the film. Same with Manoj sir, he is so grounded and used to stand for everyone’s cues during close-up shots of other actors.”
Gandharv is the son of a professor and a landscape architect – commissioner with the Delhi government. The second wave was particularly a challenging time for the actor as both his parents contracted the virus. His mother was hospitalised twice, he himself fell sick because of the virus but he “couldn’t afford” to be sick as he had to take care of his parents and their health at a time when Delhi saw the worst uptick in the infection during the second wave.
The repercussions and the mental strain were long-lasting, what helped him sail through difficult times was Hindustani classical music. Talking about how he kept himself calm after his parents came home from hospital and composed during the pandemic, he said, “I started taking lessons in Hindustani music. I found it very meditative and creative at the same time. I learnt and explored a lot of Indian classical ragas. It was a very heavenly experience”.
The actor says theatre acting is the toughest of all forms of acting because everything is so bare. “The performance of an actor on stage can’t be edited or salvaged through VFX or alternative camera angles. And it’s so liberating for an actor to work in that medium because once you’re on stage everything rests on you, there are no retakes in front of a live audience and that’s the reason it’s called an actor’s medium,” he concluded.