Actor Gaurav Chopra opens up on his beliefs, tastes and inspirations, and the journey behind making him a versatile actor. He also draws insights on his latest role in the most anticipated film of the year Gadar 2 in an interesting conversation with Dr.Priyaankaa Mathur.
Being a Delhi boy Gaurav is brought up in a highly cultural environment and is a staunch believer in inculcating good aesthetics, and tasteful viewpoints in children, which his parents gave to him.Eventually, that is what lead him to get inspired and make the right choices of roles.
Talking about his inspiration he says” We get inspired by our tastes,whoever we like or idealise is due to our taste, which is although inherent but can be polished. My mother was a die-hard Dilip Kumar fan and would talk about his looks, and performance. Once she brought my attention to how in Ganga Jamuna Dilip Saheb, although being a Pathan from Peshawar spoke such fluent Awadhi, delivering beautiful dialogues.”
He further adds, “My father took my attention to Guru Dutt who was influenced by French cinema and how beautifully he used the light and shade and the silhouette standing against the light in Pyasa. He took me to kavi sammelans and Mushairas and I did not know, then that I was picking up Urdu. Sometimes he would recite a sher like ‘Main to akela hi chala tha, log sath ate gaye aur karwa banta gaya’ and I would recognise it to be of Sahir Saheb. So these were the little influences which stayed with me.“
Being a self-taught actor, Gaurav is introspective about his roles, tells,” I think that being actors, we somewhere draw from our emotions to enact on screen. If you draw your characters honesty, it touches your audience’s heart and if you pretend,they somewhere get to know!”
Having portrayed as an angry young man for many years, was it a conscious decision to play a responsible army officer in Gadar 2, he tells ” Although I was successful and being paid well, I certainly wanted to explore new characters and break the monotony. I choose to say yes to three roles because of this experimental thought namely Bachchan Pandey where I played the antagonist against Akshay Kumar, second was Prince in Rana Naidu and third was Col Rawat in Gadar 2, all three being extreme contrasts to each other.“
He further adds,” These characters ranged from an absolute negative to one with multiple shades to a completely positive and patriotic character of Col Rawat in Gadar 2 which covered an entire spectrum as part of the experiment to look different, act different and showcase my versatility as an actor.”
How was it to groom into an army man’s discipline, he tells, ” Well firstly I wanted to look authentic as a strong army officer. But when I first wore the uniform, which is an authentic 1970 uniform, I looked very frail and boyish. Since it required me to be a strong man (the man of 1970s) and not of a metrosexual, cool young man of today.”
Gaurav explains what took him to get into the shoes of a real army man says,” I changed my diet and gym routines and adapted traditional appetite with lots of Desi Ghee, Milk and Paranthas what army men feed on. I eventually managed to put on 8-9 kgs overall and my face and body changed and looked stronger to suit the role. It also took me to get the moustache right, as I wanted it to look like a world war two fighter pilot, which was the little visual in my head for this character.”
Throwing light on his character Col. Rawat in Gadar 2 and what’s most challenging about the role, he says,” Every time he comes on the screen he comes to protect and does something monumental in the story. But, there is nothing like you are warming up into that moment. You come and you bash, that’s his power as a responsible soldier of the country. Every time you see him in Gadar 2 he’s there to protect, take care of you, and that’s the vibe the audience should get from him.”
Talking about the environment on the sets and during preparation time he adds, “To groom myself and have a knack of the life of Col.Rawat, I wore the uniform and moved around in the cantonment area. I used to spend a lot of time with the army officers, I lived with them and had food and tea with them. Even the Jawans in my scenes in the film are actual Jawans, who would salute to me and I would salute them back.”
What would he say about Sunny Deol who plays Dara Singh in the film, pat comes the reply, “Sunny Sir is actual Dara Singh in real life. What you see in Dara Singh as a loving grounded passionate man, who keeps his loved ones close to him, he’s the same. But when he explodes …it’s a Boom!
So, what is it that the sequel adds to the brand ‘Gadar’, he tells, “I think it takes it to the right direction and maintains a continuity after 17 years. It will not disappoint you and give you the same flavour, and same characters.You will feel nostalgic, as if you know these guys. Each character enacted by Sunny Sir or Ameesha Patel or Utkarsh look the same reminding you of the first part.”
Gaurav concluded by sharing any dream role which he fantasies to play and again pat came his reply, “Oh Yes, I want to go back to God Father, Scarface, Al Pacino zone,which is my space and I am hoping to do that.”