When you mention the name of Gulshan Grover, a feeling of fear and loathing overcomes you. After the likes of Pran, Amjad Khan and Amrish Puri, he is easily the most hated villain of his generation. So powerful has been his reel performances that in real life too many have got scared of him. Once when he was in Canada for a stage show with many actors, female fans of Shah Rukh Khan would go to his room confidently for his autograph. But when they would come to Gulshan Grover’s room they would be accompanied by their uncles or brothers! Not known for mincing his words, Gulshan Grover was in Noida at Marwah Studios to deliver a talk to the students.
Excerpts from the interview:
You started your career by doing Ramleela in Delhi. How do you look back at those early days?
I was born and brought up in Delhi’s Tri Nagar. I studied in local schools. Schools where even English was taught in Hindi. My love affair with acting started with Ramleela in Tri Nagar. I used to be in thevanar sena then moved on to the Raavan ki sena and then eventually graduated to bigger roles. I participated in college plays and later joined the Little Theatre Group before coming to Mumbai.
Most actors come to Hindi cinema to become a hero. Why didn’t you try to be a hero as well, more so with your good looks?
Yes, I agree with you but I wanted to become a villain and wanted to create a brand. I even left four films where I was offered the role of a hero. One such film was N.T. Rama Rao’s “Nache Mayuri” and another film which was made by Padmini Kolhapure’s husband Tutu. Anil Kapoor, one of my best friends got me a very good role and even after some meetings I refused and ran away. After this incident Anil was so angry with me that he did not speak to me for three to four months. I was very clear about becoming a villain.
You were probably among the earliest Indians in Hollywood. Do you think the path for actors like Anil Kapoor and Mallika Shehrawat became easier because of you and Kabir Bedi?
I can proudly say that I am the first Indian actor who went to Hollywood and acted in their films. I did my first Hollywood film in 1994 with Columbia Pictures and the name of the film was “Jungle Book 2”. It was the time when Hollywood knew nothing about Indian actors and Indian cinema. I used to carry loads of videos and magazines with me. I kept showing them our films, exposing us to them. Now I can say that I created a mud path between Bollywood and Hollywood and this mud path was later cemented by people like Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Irrfan Khan, Aishwarya Rai and many more.
Tell us a little about your current international projects.
I have just finished an Australian film with cricketer-actor Brett Lee and one Canadian film and another one is going on in Los Angeles.
You had a fruitful interaction with the students at Marwah Studios in Noida. What are the tips you would give to aspiring actors today?
I told them about the importance of learning and training because this time is not going to come back. Grab every good thing that comes your way. When I went to Mumbai to start my career, I joined an acting school for laying a good foundation. There my classmates were Anil Kapoor, late Mazhar Khan, Madan Jain and many more. I was the first person to enter the class and the last one to leave. I paid full attention as I was very clear, focussed and determined about my aim. The circumstances you face come after that. At times I had no money in my pocket to buy something to eat. For a period of time I used to go to Anil Kapoor’s house to eat. But all this never deterred me. In fact it made me more confident.
So, I must say, to succeed one must be focused, determined and clear in his/her mind.
Source: The Hindu