‘Bollywood can definitely be a better place'
GLOBAL MOVIE MAGAZINE|November 2020
‘Discussions of favouritism and the #MeToo movement really unearthed a lot.’ ‘I really hope that these movements force people to look inwards and be nicer to each other.’ ‘But it’s definitely not as bad as it’s made out to be.’

Gulshan Devaiah believes in frank talk.

The actor, who has been a part of films like Shaitan, Hunterr and Mard Ko Nahin Dard Hota, had learnt a lot in his nine-year career, perhaps a result of deep thinking and analysis of the movie business.

“I can have endless conversations with people about life, career, art, and be comfortable with myself. I am more sure about myself and a lot happier about who I am,”

Your next film Footfairy is a crime thriller. Do you like watching films from this genre?

Yes. Recently, I watched the film Raat Akeli Hai and I quite enjoyed it.

Tell us more about Footfairy.

I found the script very interesting. It was well written and relatable.

Kanishq (Varma, director) and I had already bonded on David Fincher and our admiration for him.

For a first-time film-maker, I thought his script was very interesting and well thought of.

We didn’t start shooting right away, we had two months of pre-production for the principal cast.

We would read the scenes, have a lot of discussions and that really helped us on set.

I knew my lines backwards, and even the lines of my co-actors!

Even they knew my lines.

We knew what the scene was, who was doing what in the scene, the subtext, the intent, everything.

So we saved a lot of time on set.

The films in your filmography are mostly festival films, with great reviews and smaller releases. Is that the kind of films you gravitate towards or simply what’s offered to you?

I don’t make any distinction between films.

I don’t categorise films as festival or commercial films.

I look at them on the basis of how much interest it generates in me.

Does the story appeal to me?

Does the character appeal to me?

Is it good for me as a craftsmen?

Is it good for my career?

So it doesn’t matter if it’s a festival film or not. I try to have as much diversity in my filmography because that’s who I am as a person.

You made your debut with Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl in Yellow Boots in 2010. How did you get that film?

I was doing a lot of amateur theatre in Bangalore.

I shifted to Mumbai on August 12, 2008 and started working with theatre companies here.

I became friends with Kalki (Koechlin) because some of my flatmates were friends with her.

She hadn’t married Anurag at that time, they were living together.

We ended up having the same friends circle.

I think Anurag came to know of me, and they were making this film.

Kalki had seen my plays, I don’t think Anurag had seen any of my work.

She recommended me, so he gave me an opportunity.

He narrated a few scenes to me and asked me to work on them.

After three days, I did an audition in front of him, which was not recorded on camera.

He liked my interpretation of what I did and cast me in that role in That Girl in Yellow Boots.

It did well in the festival rounds but didn’t get a wide release. Did you feel bad about it?

It released in September 2011, on the same day as Salman Khan’s Ready.

At that time, I really didn’t know how the business worked.

I was very curious to find out what kind of shows we’ll get, how many shows per screen are we getting... I was observing and learning how things worked.

There was no disappointment.

We didn’t have high expectations because it was a very small release.

It was the kind of film that didn’t have a very wide appeal in comparison to Ready.

2011 was a big year for you because you had quite a few releases.

Yes. Dum Maro Dum was the first to release that year, then Shaitaan and then That Girl in Yellow Boots, which was technically my debut film.

It was a great year for me.

I got a lot of attention.

It also scared me because I started getting too much attention and I didn’t know how to handle it.

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