Having made a career scaring the daylights out of his onscreen colleagues and us in over 400 odd films, Gulshan Grover admits that a�?being a villain still gives (him) a high.a�? This year, the 58-year-old actor has a lot to cheer about, with five releases coming up. In Baat Ban Gayi, he plays a dual role, as a serious professor and a homosexual (a career first) and the latter, Grover admits, was challenging.
a�?I didna��t want it to be just a caricature like it usually is portrayed in our cinema. I think gays are talented, gutsy and honest people and I wanted to bring those into my character,a�? he tells me. The reference point came from his LA sojourn a��a�?I found a lot of inspiration from Hollywood, their fashion designers especially.a�? Despite all the preparations, he accepts that his character had to a�?be a little loud in keeping with the demand of a commercial potboiler.a�? He is also looking forward to his next films where he has tried not to repeat himself. So there is Tigmanshu Dhuliaa��s Bullet Raja, where he plays the big baddie, Soopar Se Oopar, a fun film co-starring Vir Das, where he plays a character inspired by MF Husain, Yaariyan as a stern professor and a psycho thriller called Rakth.
No happy endings
With a menacing laugh, bloodshot eyes and chilling dialogues, Grover epitomised the commercial Bollywood villain (think Sadma, Avtaar, Ram Lakshan). Why is it that such villains arena��t seen anymore in Bollywood? a�?That era is gone. I think I was the last star villain. Our current plots dona��t need such people anymore,a�? he laughs. Having said that, he admits hea��s always been against the glorification of villains, which has often been the case in Bollywood. a�?I have always insisted that villains should have a humiliating end. Bad should never be celebrated. Thata��s why I loved my villain in Bullet Raja,a�? he says.
While a lot of our actors are making a successful transition from Bollywood to Hollywood, Grover was one of the first a�� he took the plunge back in the early 90s. a�?It was a struggle then as it was difficult to convince both industries that I would be available for them. Then I used to carry the VHS of my films and make the rounds in Hollywood but today they get your material on YouTube and are keen on working with you. Today, I see respect and acceptance for Indian actors in Hollywood, like Irrfan Khan and Anil Kapoor.a�? Happy with the kind of cutting edge cinema that is being accepted in Bollywood now a�� Ship of Theseus and The LunchBox a�� he insists on an exclusive space to market such films. As for what keeps him motived after all these years, he concludes, a�?It is just hunger. I have done nothing so far. There is so much to do, so many roles to essay. 400 is just a number.a�?
a�� Neelima Menon