Breakout star Adarsh Gaurao is working with impatience, which can neither saturate the BAFTA nomination nor any other adoration. For his performance in Ramin Baharani’s The White Tiger, Gaura has been nominated for Best Actor for the leading role at the upcoming BAFTA Awards.
“All I want now is to have a role, a project that can devour me,” says Gorev with a sense of detachment, which seems surprising to an actor who achieved his due for more than 10 years. Stayed on top to do. Coming to the BAFTA ceremony on April 10, indianexpress.com, speaks to Adarsh Gaurav about what it means to have an international identity, trying to protect his normality from The Tiger’s “distracting” highness and why he No. Do a project without auditioning for it.
Were you expecting a nomination?
I was not even supposed to be on the long list. It was honestly a shock to me because I felt that the accident had led to a long list. But when I read his name in the shortlist, it was quite shocking.
What do international awards really mean to you?
I mean I’m just hoping that any nomination or award just turns into real work because that’s what really matters. I’m just hoping that it transforms into something tangible, some exciting project, for which I get auditions, some cool directors get me to work.
Did you talk to Ramin after your nomination? What did he have to say?
I called after enrollment. He was also very happy. The reason why I became so… like I am already someone who is not very excited or passionate about anything, is the Ramin effect, because it is so low.
The way he reacts to things is very minimal and normal. But he was clearly very happy that the film has two BAFTA nominations. We were just talking about other things like what he is doing and what he is like and how my days look these days.
So, what does your day look like these days?
I am going to the gym five days a week and this is new to me. I know this is normal for actors but I don’t usually go to the gym. I like to run and do some bodyweight exercises. I have a pull up rod in the house, so I swing on it like a monkey.
But I’m going to the gym, doing two days of kickboxing because I’m prepping for a project that’s going to start in November. Also I am learning to dance for an audition which I have at the end of the month. That’s three to four days a week and I’m giving some more auditions as well, so I’m reading those scripts. Then there are other things that I do in my routine such as some basic Riyaz in the morning, in the evening whenever I have time, I go for runs.
It has not been even three months since the release of White Tiger and you would think that it has already run. For anyone, who achieved his success in films after a long journey of more than 10 years, was it difficult to just stagnate and base in the adorable from across the world?
This is a very new experience for me. After White Tiger, there is no character or project that I have really invested in. Varun is a short film with Grover, but there is nothing like that for a long time. While I have great gratitude for everything, I just want to look for other things I can be busy with.
I have my own routine, I have other things that I am busy with. And when I am not working, I really dive, I watch a lot of movies but I am really eager to work on something that really consumes me at the moment.
So after a few days of experience (adoration) I was feeling impatient, restless to get something else to be restless. I am happy that there are a lot of auditions that are coming my way because constantly I am thinking about other things. I just want to settle on one thing, whatever I don’t know until the November project starts. But I hope I will do some work even before that.
It is interesting to hear that an actor, who has received a BAFTA nomination, is talking about auditions, something that has not been taken seriously in the Hindi film industry. A lot of top stars have clearly mentioned that they felt insecure when they were asked to audition. But in the West, it is a normal part of the casting process.
I don’t think I worked in a project without an audition. It is very common to audition. I know that people have always done this. This is important because the director has to know if you can play this person whom he has written or imagined. So it is appropriate that I audition for everything.
Even for me it is important that I audition because it gives me an early understanding of the (film’s) universe, the directors who are going to brief me. It is important for both parties to audition and understand.
Envisaged Speaking of, as you develop more mainstream, would you still like to audition for any project you want to work on? Would you be ok with it
I would like to, because otherwise I would have been terrified, I would have been like, ‘How does this person know if I am going to be able to do this or not.’ It is important for me to understand if I can do this, it is also important for my director to know.
You take everything from praise to, in general, everything. Is this a result of the conditioning that developed in Hindi industry because of your journey of more than a decade, where you saw failures and rejections?
With age and experiences in life, you keep changing and changing. I used to be a very hyper person for sure. You should be a little quiet in life. But to say that I am not affected by things is not true. When something doesn’t work, I get upset, but I don’t like to live with a particular feeling, be it sadness or happiness.
I consciously try to get past it quickly, step back and look at it purposefully. How can you be an actor if you are not impressed? Actors are the weakest people. We are in a profession where our job is to understand, impress and get empathy. You have to be interested in people, be influenced by what is happening around you.
What do you remember about playing Balarama? Something that you have taken away from him that you will keep with you for a lifetime.
I think just opening the door for someone sitting in the back of the car is something that has been with me and it feels good to do so. This is something that I started doing after Balaram’s character. I remember shooting and being on set with everyone, Ramin, Rajkumar, Priyanka. It was such a positive, beautiful set.
Everyone was inspired to make something. Despite shooting for so long, it never felt tiresome. We looked forward every day to what we were shooting. There were moments when we were nervous, scared, but Ramin made sure it was such a positive experience.
From My Name Is Khan to The White Tiger, it has been a long journey with many ups and downs. Has your fairness made you unstable like Bollywood?
I think it’s just my love for cinema, love for what I do. When you truly love something, you are more patient with it. You embrace your failure and success. You behave rough in every way. I feel fortunate to have my parents who supported and encouraged me in whatever I was looking for. I have been fortunate in terms of the filmmakers I have worked with that have allowed me to explore myself as an actor.
It is never a thing, it is a culmination of all these things, which helps you stick around. There are points where I have questioned whether it is worth pursuing because things are not working but then it is a temporary feeling. You pull yourself back, then you think, ‘Why am I even entertaining this stupid idea, I’m doing what I love the most.
You mentioned in an interview that, how to prepare for Balarama, you spent time with your friend in a village. You mentioned how your perception about many things changed. In 2021, we are still talking about social inequality, in fact the White Tiger has also raised the debate about where India stands in terms of caste-based discrimination.
I definitely think that it has made me more aware of my surroundings than you have used the term correctly. You are more sympathetic with people, you see everything around you … I think I am part of this project and playing the character of Balaram, who understands people better now . I listen better now, I don’t dismiss things that way.