It is never too easy to step out from a larger-than-life character like Lord Ram in a television serial that has been liked and loved by audiences not only in India but in foreign shores too. But one person who has successfully excelled in doing it is GURMEET CHOUDHARY, having made his silver screen debut with psychological thriller, Khamoshiyan and following up with stellar performances in Wajah Tum Ho, Laali Ki Shaadi Mein Laaddoo Deewana and Paltan. The 36-year-old is not only a great actor and dancer (he won the fifth season of dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa), he is also a trained marital arts expert who featured in the Top 10 list of Sexiest Asian Man Alive in 2017. In an interview with SAURABH TANKHA, Choudhary shares about his dream of becoming an actor as a five-year-old, the future of OTT in India, his life and more…
Why doesn’t the audiences get to see Gurmeet as much as they want him to?
From the moment I entered the industry, I have been clear that come whatever may, I’ll only do quality work with talented people from the industry. But then it so happens that when you want to work with creative and best people, it takes some time. I expect 2021 to go great as one of my movies, which we finished it during the lockdown period, from Zee Studio stable, The Wife, releases in March. Then there are a couple of independent songs about which I am super-excited though I can’t divulge much details about them right now. Sung by reputed singers and directed by equally talented directors, these too will hit screens in the near future. I have finalised two other projects which will soon set rolling too. In this industry, one needs to keep working to send a message to producers and directors about one’s existence else it can become a clear case of “out of sight, out of mind”.
Does it happen that when you portray a larger-than-life character, the chances of getting typecast increase?
I don’t think as it was different with me. When I played Ram in Ramayan (2008) as a 24-year-old as my maiden project, the writers started thinking about me in the same mold as it happens in most cases. For me as an actor, it was a challenge to come out of this larger-than-life character. I knew I had to keep experimenting and be different in every other project, something which I managed doing in Geet – Hui Sabse Parayi and Punar Vivah and later as a contestant in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa which garnered loads of TRPs. I remember reading an article back then that Debina and I are perhaps the only two actors who haven’t got typecast after playing mythological characters. The reason is that I held back myself to a large extent as I didn’t want to look similar in every project I did.
When was the first time that Gurmeet Choudhary decide to be an actor?
Trust me when I say this that I must have barely realised about my existence on this planet – of being Gurmeet Choudhary who studied in class 1 – and I knew I had to be an actor. I believe destiny plays an important role in your life’s path. It takes you there despite anything happening around.
With no godfather, did you have to struggle to gain a foothold in the industry?
I remember this conversation with a few friends some years back and one of them asked as to how much did I struggle to reach where I have. I told him that it took me 30 years for I dreamt of becoming a hero as a kid and got my first film as one only three decades later.
Do you think OTT is the future of entertainment in India?
OTT has already made a place in our lives. Most of us have already switched over to this medium. I feel the more the options for creative and talented people to express themselves, the better it is.
How did the period of Covid-19 treat you, especially when you and Debina tested positive?
The Covid-19 lockdown phase has almost become synonymous with negativity for many but I learnt a lot during this period. It transformed me into a different human being altogether. I realised that life could be spent with limited resources, be it food or clothes. Debina and I were probably the first actors from the industry to donate plasma on our own after we recovered from Covid-19. Personally, it has been a positive period.
Does it happen that if you do not get meatier roles, plump assignments or people do not invite you to their parties, immaterial of the fact whether you are an “insider or outsider”, a feeling of insecurity seeps in and there are chances you get into a phase of depression?
Not exactly. I prefer spending time with family and a close group of friends. I believe you need to do full justice to your craft and it keeps you getting work. In that case you do not have to look around to attend parties or feel insecure. However, I feel nepotism is not bad because if my son or my friend’s daughter would seek my help for work in the industry tomorrow, I would surely extend it. But that person needs to be talented. The same rule should apply to all the newcomers and they too should get equal share of opportunities.
What role has your parents, especially your mother, played in your life?
She made me sanskaari (cultured). And not only her, my dad too has taught me to always respect elders and love the younger ones. Also to never utter a word which hurts someone and for which you have to repent later.