Meet the sexiest man in the Gujarati film industry, Gaurav Paswala. It is said that hard work leads to success which is extremely true in Gaurav’s case. From serving tea and biscuits to co-actors to working in a Hollywood film, Gaurav has come a long way. Budding actor from Surat city shares bits from his life. Have a look.
Tell us something about you.
I am still figuring out how to answer this question. Maybe one day I will come up with something that will make sense.
How does your childhood look like?
My childhood had been extremely eventful. I was a very stubborn child, very impulsive and a very quick thinker. I always used to break boundaries and rules without getting caught. Having done my education in a Gujarati Medium school, I loved learning languages but hated Math a lot and I still do! I was an average kid at school. My dad was always worried about me not being turning into a successful businessman or a successful work person as I was not serious at all. I used to spend my summer vacations in Dahod as my maternal grandparents used to live there that I am very close to. I was a very shy kid at school. I had a phobia of being on stage and speaking to a large group of people. I never performed anything on stage during school and college days. Back home, I would stay glued to my video games. We could not afford buying it so we had to rent it. Playing a lot of this always led to punishments from parents.
Now being a professional actor, how much do you miss Surat?
I love coming to Surat. It feels safe; after all it is home. I feel some sense of belonging in Surat which I do not get in Mumbai. Surat’s cutting chai and Sai Nath Dosa are my favorite food apart from maa ke hath ka khana. I miss Surat very much and I make sure I keep coming here every 4-6 weeks.
You studied commerce and then went abroad for further studies. So how did acting come into the picture?
When I was in college I tried talking to my parents about acting and got told off. Belonging from a middle class family, my parents wanted me to have a safe and secure life. I did tick all the boxes that society approves of. I studied BBA, went to Australia and did my Masters of Accountancy and worked in advertising for a few years and in accounts department in Sydney. I still had a feeling of ‘something missing’ in my life. May be it was my call to try out acting. So I took up part time acting classes with NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) in Sydney. That is where and how my acting journey began.
How different is Gaurav as a friend from Gaurav as a professional actor?
Gaurav as a friend is very protective, caring and stupid. I hug my friends a lot; I call them from time to time. I also whine about my work and let downs in life. I make sure we meet every time I come to Surat.
Gaurav as a professional actor is very different. I think it is an image that Gaurav works for. He is reserved, he thinks a lot, he likes to read and meditate.
You did commerce, went abroad then came back and did theater, then went abroad again and did RJ-ing and then came back to act. Your life has been a roller coaster ride. Share some experience from each phase.
None of these things were planned. You just described 5 normal years of my life. My whole life has been a roller coaster as you said. Though I was born and brought up in Surat. I have spent 4 years in Dahod as toddler. My parents were working and our financial conditions were not great. So my maternal grandparents took me with them to Dahod when I was about 6 months old and brought me up. As I got attached to my grandparents, my parents came and took me back when I was 5 years old. For years, I thought my grandmother was my mother and I used to call her mummy and I used to call my mom by her first name. I am still torn between my grandparents and parents.
In the beginning of theatre, I used to serve tea and buy biscuits for other actors. I was questioning myself, is this what I am here for? Leaving a secure job and wonderful life in Sydney, I am in Mumbai serving tea and biscuits to people who do not even have half the education as I do or life experience as I do.
I came to Mumbai to pursue acting for the first time in 2008 as my Australian acting teacher told me that I have a brown skin and Australia is not going to work. So I had to try it out in India. I came to Mumbai not knowing a single soul. I joined up acting classes which seemed to be a waste of money as they taught the filmy style of acting which I despise. Then I joined up theatre to work on my Hindi diction and get some stage experience. In the beginning of theatre, I used to serve tea and buy biscuits for other actors. I was questioning myself, is this what I am here for? Leaving a secure job and wonderful life in Sydney, I am in Mumbai serving tea and biscuits to people who do not even have half the education as I do or life experience as I do. I ended up staying for 2 years as I was very keen on learning Hindi without any Gujarati or English accent. For 1 year I did backstage in theatre and never got paid a single rupee. From second year onwards, I was acting and doing back stage at the same time. I got paid about Rs. 200 for one play.
My first role in the drama was of a gatekeeper (darbaan) who just stands at the gate when the king comes in. I didn’t have any lines. We performed at Prithvi Theatre. I had to go to Sydney to renew my residency. A friend who saw my play in Mumbai asked me to work on the radio. She was in Sydney before; she gave me a radio contact and asked me to talk to them. I obliged and got myself a radio audition. This is something I had never ever heard of. They asked me to prepare something of my own, so in one day I came up with some of my own material and went to audition. I think they were happy with my voice and my diction (finally theatre paid off). Within a few hours, I got a call that I got the job as an RJ. I called my brother first and told him and he was over the moon. As this was the first time anyone from our family got any work in Media field. Radio in Sydney is a huge platform. People all over Australia listen to the same station.
I worked on the radio for 6-8 months along with another job on the side to make more money while in Sydney. I loved my life in Sydney but I knew one thing, I spent 2 years in Mumbai learning the craft, I went through a lot so I wanted to give it at least one try to work in television n films. Hence, I decided to fly back to Mumbai leaving the wonderful work and life I had in Sydney.
How did you get your first television commercial?
My first commercial happened when I was in Surat with my family during Christmas. I had auditioned for a few commercials in Mumbai. And as my brother was traveling to Surat during Christmas, I too decided to be home. We were having a happy time all together in the festive season when suddenly I received a call for the McDonald’s TVC I had auditioned for. I boarded the train to Mumbai immediately.
How many auditions did you take before you got your first break in daily soaps?
I approximately appeared for 100+ auditions before I got my first break.
Who has been your constant support?
My mother and my brother have been my constant support. I would not even last a single day without their support in Mumbai. They supported me financially and emotionally when it really mattered. My father has been bit supportive lately, but he never approved of me entering this profession and letting go of my comforts in Australia.
How did you get Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish?
I met Naitik about a year ago in Mumbai, at a mutual friends place. We had a chit chat for a bit and talked about working on a film together, but nothing happened for a while. In October 2015, I had to go back to Australia to renew my visa. I had no money in Mumbai so I decided to stay in Sydney for 6 months, save money and come back. Naitik messaged me around last December about one film he wanted to direct and I told him I will be back in March. Once I was back, we met and he told me about the film. He is one of the most focused and hardest working directors I have ever come across.
Tell us something about your character in Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish.
His name is Dhaval. He is modern, independent and a stylish guy. He is today’s guy. A kind of guy who you see in every college. A fashion photographer by profession. He is rich and he knows how to talk to girls and very well spoken guy.
Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish is a thriller movie. Was there any scary thing that happened off the camera?
As it is a thriller movie, a lot of action has happened on camera and a lot of rehearsals happened off camera. Sneha had to hit me with a bottle on my head and she practiced it for about 20 minutes. When she hit me with the bottle, I ended up with the bump on my head for a few days. She got a lot of scratches on her body while doing action scenes while I happened to bruise my cheekbone.
How was your experience working with Naitik Raval?
He is a delight to work with. I do not think I have come across a director who is as focused and as passionate as he is. He knows what he wants and he makes sure he gets it. We are blessed to have him in Gujarati film industry. We must make sure that he makes Gujarati films from time to time as his caliber will take him to English and Hindi films very soon.
Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish is releasing on 14th October 2016. How excited are you?
This is a different genre film. We have made this film with a lot of heart and hard work. Hard work always pays off. I think people around me are more excited than I am. I am quite relaxed, maybe I will get some butterflies when I get to premier of our film.
How was the experience working with Sneha Devganiya, Rishi Vyas, Shriya Tiwari?
Sneha Devganiya – She comes from a different school of acting. She has done a lot of theatre. It was hard for her to adapt to the camera in the beginning but she managed really well. Her performance has been praised a lot by people who have seen the film. I think this will be her best film throughout her career so far.
Rishi Vyas – I met him a few times before the film. He is an effortless actor. With him, work does not feel like work. He is fun person to work with and none the less, very good performer. I wish we had more actors like Rishi.
Shriya Tiwari – Shriya is already an actress waiting to be unleashed. She is a very good actress; she makes it really easy for you to work with her. She has no inhibitions and very nice attitude towards the craft. I think she has the potential to go long way and make her mark in Gujarati Film Industry.
Tell us something about your future projects.
I am doing one Hindi film as a lead actor which may come out sometime early next year. It has been written by Mudassar Aziz (Director of Happy Bhaag Jaayegi) and directed by Farahjaan Sheikh. This film has a few A listers playing a supporting part. It is a beautiful script. We are done with about 90% of the shoot.
I am also doing one Hollywood film which I am sure you all are eager to know about. It is set to release in 2017. Will share more details soon.
After Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish, I have signed another Gujarati film and almost done with the shoot. I am playing the character of a biker in the film. It has an ensemble cast and I am one of the leads of the film. It has some big names of Gujarati Industry which you would already have seen on big screens and small screens. Film has not been announced so I cannot provide any more details.
So far, I have 3 films to be releasing in 2017. One being Gujarati, one Hindi and one English.
What do you think about BuddyBits?
BuddyBits is a wonderful platform. I see BuddyBits making a big mark in the near future. I wish BuddyBits team all the very best.
Well, thanks a lot Gaurav for your wishes. BuddyBits team and audience are eager to watch your upcoming film Je Pan Kahish E Sachuj Kahish. We wish you all the best for all your future endeavors.