Pratik Gandhi, a well recognised personality in the Gujarati theatre circuit has been crafting a niche for himself in the Hindi film industry. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, he opened up about his love for being a theatre artist, and also shared his sweet real life love story with his wife Bhamini Oza. The ‘Mitron’ actor also shared about his initial days in Mumbai, handling rejections, and the challenges he had come across to make a stand for himself in his journey. Now the actor has been making heads turn with his remarkable on-screen performance in Hansal Mehta’s ‘Scam 1992’ – a biopic on the life of Harshad Mehta. Here are the excerpts from his chat with ETimes.
Experience in Gujarati and Bollywood film industry
Pratik Gandhi has worked in a lot of Gujarati films as well as in Bollywood films. When asked about the experience he had, he stated that regional has its own limitations and Bollywood industry has a bigger and wider reach, but the passion remains equal in both the places. “As far as the canvas is concerned, regional has its own limitations and Hindi and mainstream has a bigger canvas and the reach is bigger. I see equal passion in terms of making a cinema from directors, or writers or producers.The passion is equal, the scale is different”.
Most preferred platforms
The ‘Mitron’ actor also opened up about his love for being a theatre artist, and would prefer theatre and OTT platforms to perform. “Being on stage has always been my first love. Because I have been doing theatres ever since my childhood days. Then OTT platforms because, it’s an exciting new avenue for actors and an exciting place as you get to create a lot of different and realistic characters. And for me all the more reason, because it has given me this high of life”
Inspiration for being an actor
He also opened up about his childhood days and his love for stage performances which drove him to be an actor. “It started way back in my school time. I was in the third standard. That was the first time, when I stepped on stage. There was an inter school competition, and I always had something or the other to perform. So whenever I stepped on stage, I always felt this is my place to be. I loved creating those different characters. I loved playing with lines, the words, the languages. I can proudly say that I’ve grown up on stage, that’s where my heart lies.”
Dealing with setbacks and failures
Embracing everything on the plate, is what Pratik feels would help him deal with challenges. He also stated that there can be no scope for fear. “I was always so content that nothing moved my faith. I know these are small things, and this might sound bookish and cliche..but these were the things which were fed to us at a very young age. So there is no scope for fear. And I believe that, everything that we do in life is driven by one of these two emotions – love or fear. Either you do it because of love or you do it because of fear”
“Anything that fear empowers can go to any extent, and that can even take you to depression. But if it’s because of passion and love, there’s no scope for depression is what I feel” commented Pratik.
Initial days in the Bombay
Pratik also opened up about his initial days in Bombay. He recollects coming to the city with this engineering degree and some sort of theatre experience. “I wanted to be an actor, just like a million people who land up in Bombay, everyday. I started meeting people. My first interest was theatre. I always had this one thing to say ‘
Sir kuch bhi hoga toh batana, maine theatre Kiya hain yahapar’. And I realised, ‘
mere jaise bahut wise log hain, jo unko roz milte hain. So why will anybody get interested in me ? Then I introspected and thought then I had to create more reasons, so that they look out or get interested for me.”
Being a full time actor
As he kept meeting people, he shared that he ended up meeting Manoj Shah who does a lot of experimental Gujarati theatre. “That’s when my journey kicked off. I kept doing a lot of experimental work, so limited audience, limited shows but I had 110% satisfaction as an actor. Though to survive, my engineering degree helped me a lot. I have worked in the corporate world for almost 15 years. Along with that I kept doing my theatre, I kept doing my films. In 2016, I became a complete full time actor.”
Pratik Gandhi also opened up about the struggle of having an own house in Mumbai “I wanted to call my family with me. Me and my brother were here struggling for work. We had to change houses every month. Then I got married in 2008, so that was even more difficult. After 10-12 years in Bombay I could get my own house. That was a big thing for me. Everything helped me to get there.”
He also stated that maintaining a balance between job and passion was also a big challenge as in workplace no one cares about your passion. “Y
aar ab full-time job ke saath theatre bhi karna hain, to rehearsal kab karoge, show kab karoge.The challenge is to have 200% energy with me and give my 100% everywhere. I used to go for my rehearsals early morning 5:30 . Till 7:30 I had my rehearsals then I used to travel for almost 1.5 hours for office.”
He also revealed that he had given up his family time in the name of his passion, for which he feels forever indebted to them. “My family is very very supportive. I don’t want to thank them, I want to be indebted for life to them. My father used to say, “
paisa kam aayega, thoda risk zyada hoga, chhota ghar hoga, chhoti gaadi hogi, but you will be living happily”
First audition experience
Pratik also opened up about his first audition day and reveals that he had a feeling of being at the wrong place. “I saw everybody almost around 6 ft, well built, fair skin, saying very highly about themselves, doing a lead role here and there. They are all so experienced and confident that they are doing something or the other, I won’t be able to make it. But then I realised same set of people were present everywhere, talking the same thing, then I realised that’s how they talk, that’s what they say”
Dealing with rejections
He also shared that he always had something new to learn with each rejection. The actor also shared that, “There have been times, that I see the film and then I recollect..
Arey Maine iska audition Diya tha yaar..Audition ka rejection toh bahut hota hain I guess that’s a part of the industry”.
Contribution of theatre in his journey
“I give all the credit to theatre. Theatre is one place that lets you explore the same character again and again in each show that you do. So the freshness of the character should be as it is even after
50th show, and that’s a very important craft for an actor to learn. All your senses are energised. Theatre for me is a very spiritual and meditative process” said Pratik.
Pratik and Bhamini’s cute love story
The actor also took us down the memory lane as he opened up about finding Bhamini Oza, while performing his first experimental play at Prithvi Theatre in 2006. “I was asked to do acrobatics on the centre stage. While performing, I saw her on the second row, that’s when I thought I want to know this girl, and that’s how it all began. We also had a common friend, and through my friend I approached her. I kept pursuing her for almost 2 and a half years just to meet for a coffee. After almost 2 and a half years we met first time for coffee, and that’s where we both realised we both don’t like coffee.”
One thing that inspires him being a part of the industry
“That curiosity of creating new characters every time. The expression on the audiences’ face is phenomenal and a priceless thing to know, that people are reacting to new characters and faces. Whether I am able to translate the emotion across the fourth wall and reach out to them and their heart is something that really fascinates me. I am experimenting a lot of things, new characters and new complex emotions. This is where my heart lies,” said Pratik.
Message for aspiring actors
On a closing note, Pratik Gandhi shared an inspiring note for aspiring actors stating “if at all you want to get into acting, stick around and keep working on your craft, and I guess theatre is the only place where you can do that. Join theatre groups, always keep working on your craft and be human. Because ultimately we have to sell those human emotions.”
Source From : Times Of India