After Scam, the number of people who were interested in my work multiplied manifold: Actor Pratik Gandhi

'2021 made me a wiser man. It showed me how success and failure are two sides of the same coin. I know I have got a lot more to learn. And I think now I am more prepared for both the ups and downs,' Pratik Gandhi says.

Subhash K Jha January 10, 2022 08:06:41 IST
After Scam, the number of people who were interested in my work multiplied manifold: Actor Pratik Gandhi

Pratik Gandhi in Scam 1992

Actor Pratik Gandhi, who found overnight fame after starring in the hit series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, talks about his life after the success of the series, his take on OTT platforms, upcoming projects, and much more, Excerpts:

How would you assess 2021 personally? Was the year as rewarding as 2020 when Scam made you a household name?

Well, 2020 gave me fame after Scam and the fruits of that fame started coming in 2021 in terms of mainstream Hindi films, web series, and all the awards, approximately 10-12 awards, for Scam. So I would say 2021 was the year of rewards for me.

In hindsight would you Scam is a hard act to repeat nothing you do can compare with it?

As I come from a theatre background I would love to play the same character again and again and would love to find newer nuances every time, but that's doesn't happen in films and series. But one thing is for sure, something like a Scam happens once in a while where all the departments excel together, where everyone in the team with the same energy delivers their best.

How did you handle the sudden upsurge in your fan following?

Well, this sudden upsurge in my fan base overwhelmed me. After Scam the number of people who were interested in my work multiplied manifold. But then, 2021 showed me the other side. If Scam showed me massive adulation in 2019, my Hindi release Bhavai showed me the other side of success. 

It's been nearly two years of the pandemic. How has it changed your life? What are the things you miss the most during a lockdown?

The last two years have taught a lot of things to the whole world. The one lesson that the pandemic has taught me is, you don’t need too many things in life. We were running after the most irrelevant things in life. Back to basics, is what I’ve learned. I’ve now adopted a minimalist attitude to life. I practiced this minimalist policy on stage all my life. When you are on stage performing it’s just you and the audience. I am now applying the same minimalist attitude to my life.

So are there are positive takeaways from the pandemic?

Oh yes, I have mixed feelings about it. Although it played havoc in everyone’s lives, the lockdown also meant that people stayed home and watched me in Scam. So the pandemic was a scam-demic for me.

What are the things you missed the most during a lockdown?

What I missed the most were my friends and loved ones. Before the pandemic, I avoided get-togethers because I was tired or just lazy. But now I realize what I was missing out on in life. After this ordeal is over I have promised myself to not miss out on the little joys of life.

What are your criteria of selection?

Post the success of Scam 1992 my criteria of selection has not changed. I thought a lot about it. What I have concluded is, I still want to do the scripts that I have a gut feeling about. I did the same earlier also. If I feel a script is not going to offer me anything challenging and if I feel it won’t give me anything new to offer to the audience, then I don’t want to do it. Period. I am excited about my forthcoming web series with Tigmanshu Dhulia and my film with Vidya Balan with whom I’m working for the first time. I am also excited about a film titled Do Bigha Zameen which is co-produced by my Scam director Hansal Mehta. Right now I am shooting for Woh Ladki Hai Kahan with Taapsee Pannu.

Who are the directors on your wish list and which is the one role that you are dying to play?

There are many directors on my wish list. Two of them Hansal Mehta and Tigmanshu Dhulia I’ve already worked with. To name a few others: Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Mani Ratnam. I’ve seen their works and I am dying to work with them. The one genre that I’d like to explore is action. I haven’t done any action films. So it’d be interesting to do one. The drama of course I always love. I would love to play the Amul man of India, Dr. Verghese Kurien. And I’d love to play Sanjeev Kumar in his biopic. He is the one actor I love the most.

What are your career plans for 2022?

2022 is completely packed for me. I am just hoping that the pandemic situation would settle down, so we can all get back to working the way we want to. This year I also want to do a play. I want to do a lot of stage shows which I couldn’t do last year because of the pandemic.

With cinemas in a state of suspension do you feel the OTT is the only way ahead?

Yes, looking at the situation of the world over, the OTT would have to be the major source of entertainment the world over for actors and audiences. Having said that, I am also of the opinion that movie theatres are not going away anywhere. This could be the worst situation the theatres are going through. It can only get better from here. The same is true of life in general. I so want to go out there and perform on stage. And I so want my movies to release in theatres. But for the time being that isn’t happening.

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.


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