Look who’s with The Moviean today. It’s our Hunterrr – Gulshan Devaiah! He’s trending big for his latest action-comedy film- ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘ (The Man Who Feels No Pain) is garnering great responses in the country and beyond the borders.
The film was selected for the Midnight Madness Award at The Toronto International Film Festival aka TIFF in September 2018. He is quite ecstatic for the latest achievement at TIFF and it is well understood why so. He regretted that he could not be there to accept the award as he was busy working in England.
We asked him why is the Midnight Madness Award special and what it meant for him and he said: “It is special because it is quite a prestigious and cool category. It is voted by the people and not the jury. Films like Tony Jaa’s Ongbak became famous after winning the Midnight Madness Award at the prestigious TIFF which is a very big festival.
“You see, there were two shows of our film and both the screenings went packed house, and the audiences stood up and applauded the film. Audiences outside India have always perceived Bollywood films in a certain way but were surprised in a pleasant way when they saw ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘ and enjoyed every frame of the film. If you are going with the belief that you have something good to show, that people will love to watch, they will respond well. There were other big films like ‘Halloween’ and ‘Predator’, but they voted us to victory. It’s super and motivates us to look forward to good things to happen with ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘.
Vasan is very organic as a filmmaker, his scriptwriting is different, he is specific to the characterization. Vasan is someone who is influenced a lot by the old Hollywood and old Bollywood films.
And for your information, ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘ was the first Indian film to ever get selected for this category at TIFF. We wanted to hear more about it and enquired what was the film about and what’s his character in it- Gulshan replied: I have a double role in ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota’. I played twin brothers who are both karate trained. Gulshan revealed that he got the offer of the film while he was still recovering from a major knee surgery.
“Before the film, I just had a serious knee injury while skiing and had a major surgery, and that’s when Vasan Bala the Director came to me with the script. I shouldn’t have done ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘ but this was an opportunity which I could not have skipped. “After reading the script, I knew that this was going to be great in numerous ways. I have a close bonding with Vasan, I believe in him and his storytelling.
So was he actually trained in martial arts? He was frank to say that: “I have no background in martial arts. I had to train a lot. But even before that there was the physiotherapy post the surgery and relearn how to literally walk again. I could not afford to put the leg in a risky position. I had sixty degrees of flexion and still not yet fully recovered from the injury. There was the functional training and stunts- how to take punches, how to fall, how to jump, stick fighting and all these with a bad knee. The right leg had less stability, less strength, and restricted mobility. Luckily the training paid off. Nothing worth having comes easy.
So that was quite an extraordinary situation to be in. If that was the dedication of the man, we sure needed to know more about the character for which he did all of that and the challenges he faced while playing the role.
Very often I would scare Radhika by telling her that I will have her scenes dropped. As I am senior and being close to Vasan that gave me a chance to pull off the joke and bully her on the sets.
He tells us: “It is a double role that I am playing in ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘. Twin brothers having the same appearance and that was a first for me. In the beginning, I did not know how to fit into double roles, playing myself differently in two different circumstances. But once I figured it out, it went all great. A lot of times I had to be in the frame with both characters, looking at the tennis ball, be precise with the movement and also act, learn to work with the Director of Photography, the VFX team and the director. I do not want to reveal much about the characters or else it would kill all the fun and curiosity. I would very much love to see you all to experience it for yourself.
“I am confident of the effort and the commitment I have shown to this film. Acting is near real and not the real. When we were told by the organizers at TIFF that as they let the audience there know that it was the same person playing the two brothers they were indeed surprised as they never expected that was the case. If I have created an illusion of two people existing even when they are the same person then I consider I have succeeded.
We have known Gulshan through some of his well-known movies like The Girl in Yellow Boots, Shaitan, Hate Story, Hunterrr, A Death in the Gunj to name a few. But there was also a crime thriller called Peddlers in which Gulshan and Vasan worked together in 2012 but it is yet to see the light of the day. He didn’t have a clue about the reasons why the film was not released till date and admits that they were disappointed, but he tells us that with the success of ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘, both him and Vasan are overjoyed. Of course, you cannot reach what is in front of you until you let go of what is behind you.
With the kind of appreciation he had for Vasan Bala, we wanted to know from the man himself what kind of a filmmaker he is. In his words, “Vasan is very organic as a filmmaker, his scriptwriting is different, he is specific to the characterization. Vasan is someone who is influenced a lot by the old Hollywood and old Bollywood films. We bond well as both of us have our roots in southern heritage. We understand when we discuss any films of the South. I understand his influence and his sensibilities. He is a contemporary storyteller influenced by everything which is good about the previous generation.
We asked him about his experience with both the newcomers Abhimanyu Dassani and Radhika Madan. By the way, Abhimanyu is the son of the yesteryear actress Bhagyashree. We learnt that both worked really hard and smart and they have endless energy.
Gulshan said: “I advised them regarding different approaches. They’re young and energetic. I had to calm them and advised to control their energy, but again they are smart and don’t need advice. It was great fun to work with them. Very often I would scare Radhika by telling her that I will have her scenes dropped. As I am senior and being close to Vasan that gave me a chance to pull off the joke and bully her on the sets. Radhika is ambitious, contemporary, career-oriented and a sorted young person.
We also cared to know a bit about what Gulshan Deviah does when not doing films. He told us that: “I mostly stay at home. I have taken up mixed martial art which helps me to get my leg back in shape. I practise three times a week. I do functional training, a lot of physical activities. I do have thirst for knowledge and I watch lots of Youtube videos on boxing techniques to fine-tune my boxing style. I just ordered a new pair of very expensive gloves you know. I do watch cooking videos, videos on making things. I have a fascination with guns and weaponry, I have gained quite an insight on different gages of guns, calibre of cartridges, they are all interesting for me.
And about future projects. Well, ‘Smoke’ which is his first web series is streaming on Eros now starting 26th October’18. Commando 3- is in progress.
We asked if he is playing a negative character in Commando 3, he replied: “For me, the characters are never negative. In Commando 3, from my point of view I am the protagonist, but from people’s point of view, I am the antagonist. Humans have grey character, everybody is imperfect in some way. I don’t want to be type-cast. I will get enough opportunity to show that I can do other things equally good.
His thought rightly sums up to what the famous screenwriter and comedian John Rogers said- “You don’t really understand an antagonist until you understand why he’s a protagonist in his own version of the world.”
The stomach-churning abuses both young aspiring men and women had to go through just to get a role or work is really unacceptable.
We also checked if he had a wishlist to work with specific people in the industry, he said: “Nobody in particular. I am not in the habit of asking someone for an offer, also when you make a list, you are limiting yourself. Yet, there are some names I admire and I would love to work with Dibaker Banerjee, Shreeram Raghavan, Vishal Bhardwaj, David Dhawan, if something comes by.
To conclude we asked him about his thoughts on the ongoing #metoo movement, Gulshan let us know that: “It’s fantastic that it happened. It is a revolution and an explosion. I hope it will clean up the entire system. I am not surprised by the names, though I don’t have any proof, few of my close friends have in the past narrated their ordeal involving industry bigwigs. The stomach-churning abuses both young aspiring men and women had to go through just to get a role or work is really unacceptable. But again every accuser is an accused until proven guilty. “
Gulshan Devaiah is a rare breed actor. He is the protagonist of his own growth who wants to leave an impact of his work with his stringent dedication. We wish him great success with ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota‘ and for all his other upcoming projects and future.