Bhansali movie

Gulshan Devaiah could have joined the armed forces, he could have been a hockey player. That is what most of the people around him was doing anyway. But this guy wanted to be a movie star. So here’s what he did, he did a fashion course, dabbled in theatre and when time came he made his way to Mumbai. That was 2008.

2013, four movies down, Gulshan Devaiah might have started later than his counterparts, but he sure knows how to make you get up and pay attention. So how did it happen? ‘I knew a few theatre people, I hung out with them, did lights for plays, filled in for actors,’ says Devaiah talking about how it was. He was on the crew for
Hamlet the Clown Prince
when he got a call from Kalki Koechlin to join her and Anurag Kashayp for dinner. Kashyap was all set to start work on That Girl in the Yellow Boots. Devaiah was also friends with the guy who created the background score of the movie and the guy who played the role of Koechlin’s boyfriend. However, you cannot entirely say that jugaad got Devaiah his first break in B’town. That would not be fair (This guy is a powerhouse of talent)!

He was also one of the last people to come on board for Shaitan, the very movie that made Devaiah a house-hold name. Initially picked to play the role actually essayed by Rajeev Khandelwal (Arvind Mathur) in the movie, Devaiah spent a whole day shooting for a chase sequence amidst a crowd, which, as he recalls, turned quite hostile at moments as they had no clue that a shoot was on. Bejoy Nambiar took his own sweet time to get Devaiah on board, says the actor. He waited for weeks till he got to know that he was finally going to play the role of KC.

‘I was trying to find an inspiration,’ says Devaiah, ‘I am nothing like KC. KC is the crazy, anarchist - he doesn’t give a damn about any rule. He is all about extremes and excesses.’ KC transforms from the self-styled leader of the brat-pack to a jackass phattu by the end of the movie, ‘That’s more like me!’ laughs Devaiah. So, if Devaiah and KC are nothing like each other, how did he manage to play the character like second skin? ‘I got an idea in the bath!’ Eureka?!!

Malcom McDowell from Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, the man with one eyebrow raised and a bowlers hat became Devaiah’s inspiration for KC. McDowell was after all the ultimate anarchist. ‘Once I cracked the visual in my head, it became easier,’ says Devaiah. And that visual is something Devaiah also used for
. He also listened to songs to keep himself in KC zone. Black Schuk by the Darkness became the theme song for all practical purposes. But, here’s the lowdown on Devaiah. He’s not happy with KC even though he benefitted the most from the role and the movie. Here’s why - ‘I could have done it better,’ he says (didn’t we say that this guy is VERY talented?).

‘An actor needs to understand the sensibilities of the director, the language he uses to spell his story out,’ says the actor and adds that he did not understand Nambiar’s technique as well as he would have liked to do justice to the role of KC. ‘Bejoy is a visual guy whereas Anurag lets an actor take over a character and allows him to say the story his way. We shot montages for 16 days with Bejoy, I was so clueless about what was happening. But then when everything came together it made brilliant sense!’

Next came Vivek Agnihotri’s Hate Story. And Devaiah again bagged the role he had not auditioned for! His role in Hate Story was absolutely unlike the ones he had played earlier. For starters it was a proper leading role and it was ‘full on dialogue baazi’ says Devaiah, ‘It was a good role for me.’ He also got along very well with the director which made Hate Story a much easier movie for Devaiah to fit into and he says that a lot of people recognize him because of his role in this movie.

One thing Devaiah makes very clear is that he refuses to be stereotyped. ‘I want to be versatile,’ he says adding that, ‘I turned down a lot of roles because they wanted me to play a dark character “just like KC” and I didn’t want to do that.’

Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela happened to Devaiah by chance. He was seen by the casting director Shruti Mahajan walking outside his house (tip to all budding actors - walk outside your houses all the time! #badone) and Bhansali had not seen any of Devaiah’s movies, ‘I doubt if he will,’ laughs the actor. But a few turban trials later, Bhansali declared - ‘I am ok with this boy’ and Bhavani came into being. 25 minutes, no auditions. ‘I never thought I would be a part of a Bhansali movie,’ says Devaiah. Speaking about the director whose movies and style intimidates almost everyone, Devaiah says, ‘He is very friendly, contrary to popular belief and you don’t want to f&*k up because he sets his standards very high. He is extremely passionate and driven but he gives you the chance to discuss ideas.’ Apparently the first few days on the sets the actor was not shooting. He was just giving cues to others. ‘It helped me fit into the scheme of things. I would often sit next to the director and watch scenes being shot. I discussed with him how Bhavani as a character should evolve.’

So when do we see Devaiah back on screen? His next flick is Hunterrr with Phantom Films, which is already in post-production and Cabaret under Pooja Bhatt directed by Kaustav Niyogi and also a period drama with Pooja Bhatt which he refuses to divulge any more details about. But we assure him that we shall be back with more questions and next time - he will have to answer them all. 

Hunterrr is a slice-of-life kind of a movie. I play a plain, middle class guy who is an absolute player. Not a head-turner at all, but still a player,’ laughs Devaiah, adding as we ask more questions - you have to watch it to find out!

Cabaret will see Devaiah play the role of an invertigative journalist. ‘He’s a bit of a d#@k, tough to get along with but a maverick otherwise,’ the actor explains. We don’t know about others - but we absolutely loved this guy and we can’t wait to see him on 70mm again.
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