Gulshan Grover has to be called one of the Bollywood legends of all time. Who else can carry off calling himself a ��bad man�۪ and still continue to win over fans worldwide? Grover was honoured this year by being invited to be a special guest at the London Indian Film Festival, something which he was very grateful and happy to do. BizAsia were given the opportunity to speak to the star about his passion for the Indian film industry, his commitment to supporting independent Indian films and his several upcoming releases which are turning the legendary villain into a hero.
What was it like being the guest of honour at the London Indian Film Festival this year?
It was very important because apart from celebrating Indian cinema, this festival is dedicated to the cutting edge niche Indian cinema which is not really the typical Bollywood cinema. We do need to showcase such films which may not get distribution for these films to be shown in the UK because commercial Bollywood films with their song and dance get distribution easily but cutting edge progressive cinema does not necessarily get it. It is important to have films like the London Indian Film Festival and I truly appreciate the effort these people are doing.
With Bollywood celebrating its centenary this year, do you think that progressive independent films are a way forward for the industry?
Yes, all elements of Indian cinema need to go the audiences, to the critics, to the people and like every cinema; we need to seduce more people to be the fans of Indian cinema and young people relate to such films. I am personally an advocate of every cinema and I support the hard core commercial Bollywood cinema with songs and dance, big movies but I go out of my way to support films which are doing something different and their dreams require some kind of support. In my own humble way I do that all the time.
If you look at most of the films that I have releasing ��� Bullet Raja (2013) is a big film with a massive budget with Saif Ali Khan and Sonakshi Sinha with me playing the main baddie, that film will get a wide release with Fox Studio but if you have a look at a film like Sooper Se Ooper (2013), it is a film made by Reliance Entertainment, it is a progressive film with a different kind of thrust on it. I play a co-lead like a hero in the film and it has a tiny budget, made by a young director and lucky for him, he had some sort of support from me so Reliance Entertainment supported it and distributed it. It is a film in which I play a character loosely based on MF Hussain, an artist and painter, someone who is really giving back to society through his art. These films would not get made or distributed if they don�۪t find some support. Another film of mine releasing is a small comedy film called Baat Bann Gayi so therefore it is important to support all kinds of films.
In ‘Baat Bann Gayi’, you are playing a double role, was this difficult for you to do?
This is the first time I am doing it and I am very happy and excited about it.
You are known in mainstream cinema as playing the bad guy. Do you have a particular role that was your favourite?
I find my work that I have done in the past to have rough edges. I have not disassociated myself from that and I am very grateful to people for having liked it but I am now going on to doing much better work. However, no I don�۪t have a favourite role.
What is the most challenging part about playing a villain in films?
It is far more challenging and difficult to play a villain than to play the hero because playing the hero is very easy in terms of acting but of course it does require you have to have the ability to dance and look pretty. Playing a villain is very challenging and very hard.
Would you want to play a hero in a future film?
I am playing a hero in the film Sooper Se Ooper, then I am also like a hero in Baat Bann Gayi but yes I am now at a very interesting part of a career where the film makers are experimenting with me and I am experimenting with me in doing that.
In terms of your future film projects coming up, is there a particular film you are keen on the UK audience seeing?
I am very keen for them to see all my films because each one is very different, each has a different thrust and a different subject matter. Bullet Raja and Sooper Se Ooper are for the people who want to see the baddie that they have been missing. In Bullet Raja, the villain gives a tough time to Saif Ali and everybody else in the movie and people who want to see me in a different role should see Sooper Se Ooper and Baat Bann Gayi.
What do you think about the future generation of Bollywood?
We are relying on the future generation. Personally, I have a lot of respect and faith in the young people and their ability. I feel that the younger generation has got a lot to contribute and they will. We are happy that people from around the globe are sharing the Bollywood family and a lot depends on that now.
BizAsia would like to thank Grover for speaking to us and we wish him all the best for his future releases this year. ‘Bullet Raja’ is releasing on 7th November 2013 and ‘Sooper Se Ooper’, ‘Baat Bann Gayi’ and ‘Yariaan’ are all due to release later on this year.