BY ADIL RASHEED (Staff Reporter) / 27 January 2005
Gulshan Grover does not wear his humility on his sleeve. He would rather flaunt his ‘Bad Man of Bollywood’ tag than dispel any wrong notions of a largely credulous audience. But speaking to a bevy of fans at the premiere of his movie ‘Padamsree Laloo Prasad Yadav at the Grand Cinema in Dubai on Tuesday night, Grover was the picture of a gentleman. City Times spoke to the veteran actor about his films, his style of acting and his forays into Hollywood.
Padamsree Laloo Prasad Yadav’ is coming after a long time. The last time the Bollywood audience saw you was perhaps in Boom. Are you too busy with Hollywood that you have little time for Bollywood?
Well, I am dividing my time between both the places.
I am primarily a Bollywood actor and I work in Bollywood. But I keep going to the West to do films there. I had for some time reduced my work in Bollywood, but now I am back doing a lot of work here.
After Boom I did Dil Mange More and one or two more films. Laloo is releasing now and after that there are some very good films coming. A film called Dus with Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan, Zayed Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Esha Deol, Riya Sen, Diya Mirza and me ‘Bad Man’. Then there is a film Tathastu produced by Nitin Manmohan and directed by Anubhav Sinha. They are the people behind Dus as well.
Tathastu for which I was shooting until yesterday has a star cast of Sanjay Dutt, Amisha Patel, Jaya Prada and yours truly. If Dus is an action film, Tathastu is a very emotional and touching film.
Tell us something about your upcoming movie in Hollywood with George Clooney and Matt Damon, where you and Sanjay are playing father and son.
Unfortunately I didn’t do that film because of many reasons. The film was to be shot in Saudi Arabia, but I decided to opt out. However, I am starting work in another Hollywood film — Goldie Hawn’s film called Ashes to Ashes.
Bollywood actors are usually reluctant to do Hollywood films. Why?
When you are successful as an actor in your country, it is difficult to start afresh in another place. Then Hollywood demands trained actors. I for one had the advantage of having done an acting course and being an acting teacher. But there are many actors who have done brilliant work, but haven’t done any course in acting.
But you have refused to settle down into any comfort zone. You have always tried to cast your net wide.
My belief is you have to keep growing. Every three or four years you have a new generation of filmgoers watching films in theatres. So you have to keep growing in terms of your craft, in terms of your approach. You have to make sure that you are appealing enough to the next generation of filmgoers and the gap is not 20 years but it may be just three or four years. Secondly, I believe when you are running, you cannot look back at the milestone and say I have run seven miles. Just keep running and then people will tell you have run 200 miles.
Are you still looking for a heroine for the Hollywood film, which Aishwarya could not get?
The whole thing was misquoted. A studio had asked me to help them suggest some girls from India, which they do from time to time, or if they are taking an Indian actor they phone and ask me to how I feel about it. That’s all. And I’m sure Aishwarya, being beautiful and talented, will do many films. However, that particular project is on hold at this moment.
How do you find Dubai? How often do you come here?
I came here while I was doing Boom. I didn’t get a lot of time to see the city at that time. But I love Dubai because of its energy and because the way it’s expanding. I will like to applaud the government for expanding the infrastructure with the expansion in business and the increase in population. I see many new bridges and roads being built here. In other countries and cities, there is only growth in terms of number, in terms of shopping malls and restaurants. But here the infrastructure is keeping pace with the growth which is commendable.
You have done all kinds of roles. Still you are persisting with the ‘Bad Man’ image. Do you think it is very constricting nowadays to typecast someone especially a talented actor?
The thing is that you are only typecast if you want to be. The casting boundary is like a paper wall. If you have the guts you can kick them anytime, like I have done it many times. You see if there is a brand, such as coke, which is supposed to quench your thirst but it also helps with your digestion it’s alright.
So, primarily if I am known as a villain and people love me for being one, then I love doing it. I am a bad man.