Meet Devarshi Shah, an engineer who is passionate about acting since childhood. How he got into acting? How he got his first break as a lead in feature film? Find out everything in excerpts from our interview with Devrshi Shah.
Tell us something about you.
Describing myself has always been a difficult question for me. I act, I dance and I host. I am on the path of chasing my dreams. I want to entertain and this is what I have been doing, this is what I do and this is what I will always want to do! If I can be a reason to people’s smiles, nothing better. The line from Shamitabh defines me ‘Mera junoon fillum’!
You have studied Engineering, so how did acting happen?
I have always wanted to do something in performing arts. During my college days I used to do a lot of freelancing. I used to host events, choreograph dance performances for Sangeets, and choreograph annual functions for school and club shows. I was eagerly waiting for my degree to get over so that I can enroll myself into a drama school! I auditioned at Anupam Kher’s actor prepares in Mumbai and I got selected. That is when the magic of acting happened!
Being an Amdavadi, what is that one thing you love the most about Ahmedabad?
Being an Amdavadi, the thing I love the most about my city is the zest with which people celebrate all festivals! Ek khatam thaay nai tya bija ni taiyaari sharu thai jaay! No pub culture can beat the midnight chai/ coffee at SG highway hangouts!
How has your childhood been?
My childhood has been very simple. I was a nerd, a teacher’s pet. All I used to do was study all day and whenever I would find time I would watch movies, I would copy the dialogues and the dance steps or play cricket. I was very much into both cultural activities and sports. I was even selected for my school cricket team! I did not have many friends though. I was a very ‘time pe soneka, time pe khaanke, time pe uthneka’ kind of kid.
Was it easy to shift from Engineering to being an actor? How did your parents re-act to this decision of yours?
Shifting from engineering to acting was easy, because I was very clear from the start that once I finish my degree I’ll run behind my dreams. My parents have been very appreciative and supportive of my decisions and everything I do. They have always allowed me to do whatever I wanted to and when I told them I want to get into acting post engineering they smiled and asked if this is what you want to do then go after it!
Who has been your constant support and always believed in you?
There have been many people who have always believed in me, but I would say my constant support has been my family! They know about the everyday struggle as an artist I go through, and whenever I feel low, my family are the ones who pick me and give me a boost to get back stronger the next day.
How different is Devarshi with family and friends and as a professional?
Devarshi with family and friends is very different than Devarshi is professionally. When I’m on the set, I do not like to talk much rather I prefer to stay with myself! I channelize my energies and try to give the maximum creative output I can. I’m always thinking about the next shot. While when I’m with friends and family I’m very clumsy. I’m constantly talking or making jokes.
Which projects have you worked on so far?
As a feature film, Hardik Abhi Nandan is my first project. Apart from this I have done various commercials such as GITS, Miraj Namkeen, Universal College, Vision Stationary, Kingfisher IPL, Vodafone and Gujarat Tourism. I’ve also worked in 2 States as a junior artist and background dancer.
Tell us something about Hardik Abhi Nandan.
Hardik Abhi Nandan for me is like a 9 course meal. It has everything! It has comedy, it has emotions, it has drama, it has a message, it has learning, and it has an effect! There are certain movies that leave an impact on you. Even when you leave the theater, the movie stays with you, the characters stay with you, I’m sure Hardik Abhi Nandan is going to be one of them!
How did you bag the lead role?
Dev sir and I were in touch since early 2015. In the year end sir gave me the news that they are gearing up for the project. I was in Mumbai back then at my drama school. Sir sent me some dialogues to make audition videos which he could go through. I was later called for a meeting with sir at Ahmedabad where we had an amazing narration for 3 hours. And the news I get in the next meeting is that I got the lead part.
What is similar between Devarshi and Hardik?
Devarshi and Hardik are 2 completely different personalities! Devarshi is not at all the one who would spoil; instead he is the one who would stop people from doing anything wrong! While Hardik is a kind of guy who is very mischievous, a little authoritative, you can say a little bully, and the one who initiates everyone to indulge in wrong activities.
Share your audition experiences.
Auditions take a toll. It actually tests your patience! Mumbai is a place where the talent market is so strong that finding work is so damn difficult. I used to give 3-4 auditions every day. Sometimes you are on the shortlist, sometimes you get the part but date issues, sometimes the budget is too low, and there have been cases where they confirm you and still you never get a call back! But auditions help you get rid of all the inhibitions. It gives you that competitive spirit, which in a good way is very healthy for every artist.
How was your experience while shooting for Hardik Abhi Nandan?
Experience for shooting for Hardik Abhi Nandan has been amazing. I was working with the entire unit for the first time! We had approximately 70-80 member crews and everybody was so passionate about their work and that I did not even realize how did 35 days got over. I wish it never ended! We were treated with such good care and respect, it felt like home. Even before the shoot, we had a workshop for 20 days where we used to rehearse for around 10-12 hours every day. Dev sir treated us like his kids! He always made sure, that everything we required or was necessary was made available to us!
What are your future projects?
I’m in talks for a television show and I have meetings lined up for a couple of Gujarati movies and one Hindi movie. Let’s see what gets finalized. Fingers crossed!
We wish all the best to Devarshi for Hardik Abhi Nandan and all his upcoming endeavors. Don’t forget to catch him on big screens in Hardik Abhi Nandan. The film is releasing on 11th November 2016.