BWW Interview: TV ACTOR GAURAV CHOPRA On His New Play Devdas
TV actor Gaurav Chopra, best remembered for his role in popular television series Uttaran has been dabbling with various performing arts mediums. Not many know that he has been a part of Oscar winning Hollywood movie Blood Diamond, is the Indian voice of Thor besides acting in many Indian television series. Now, the actor is all set to explore another medium with epic on-stage portrayal of Devdas
He talks to BWW about everything from his role in Devdas to being on stage.
Q.1 Is this your first play - tell us all about your journey from TV to theatre?
I have done theatre before, I have always been in touch with theatre. I have never really let go and a lot of people probably don't know about this as the other mediums seem to get more attention. I started off with stage as an actor in Delhi many, many years ago. Also the biggest sort of turning point as far my stage career goes is in 2005-2006, when I left everything that I was doing here and went to south Africa to do Broadway western production called Bombay crush. That did more than 100 shows and set many records. It was a Bollywood musical with about 12 songs and it was about 2 hours long. I was playing the lead in it and that was beautiful experience. And while I have been doing television for so many years, I have tried to stay in touch with theatre productions and theatre stories, roles that I can play along with my television commitments and other commitments. and for the last 8-9 years I have been a part of a small English comedy productions that I liked, performances that are easy to give and fun to do. Devdas is of course, is probably the toughest, the most difficult of them all probably one of the toughest things I have done, and I am really glad to be doing at this stage which is in the middle of my experimentation. Ever since Big boss has ended, I have been experimenting with very diverse role on digital medium I have done 3 web series back to back and Devdas produced by Ashvin Gidwani Productions (AGP World) is the epitome of you know that phase. It is usually challenging usually daunting and I know that the comparisons are going to be with the stall wards, but I am very glad that I am a part of this because this challenge is me in this way.
Q.2 How has the experience been?
I cannot even begin to tell you what this experience is like. I worked with Ashwin Gidwani for the first time which was 2008-2009, a dream project made by the Moranis called City of Dreams which was huge and lavish and beautiful and again an enriching experience. But Devdas coming to this is, is just something else. This is something else for the many many aspects that this has, the beauty that it has for scale that is has, for the music that it has, the choreography that it has, for the story, twists that it has. Don't forget we are giving you Devdas in the classic form. It's tough to maintain a classic, as a classic to keep it as enriched, to keep it as golden and shiny and yet invent new things, and that has been done beautifully here. I cannot even start to tell you how beautiful the sets are, or how absolutely riveting the music is. This music by itself deserves to be out there as an album individually. Saif Hyder Hasan, our director, I fondly call him a magician because he is. The way that he puts things together that he surprises you with story, the way that he gets the performances out of you is something else. But most importantly playing Devdas is immensely, physically and emotionally taxing experience. There is an art pouring of emotions and energy. I come back with bruises and scrapes and cuts and I don't even know mujhey kab chot lagti hai, because that's just how crazily immersed you have to be and how you know absolutely physically emotionally tormenting it gets. I don't want to bore you with all of this, but this is just how I am a little overwhelmed right now because we have reached you know this far and we are on the verge of now putting this in front of the audience and I am thoroughly excited you know to find out what the audience has to say, because this is like I said, this is something else at some other level. I am extremely proud of AGP putting this together, Saif Hyder Hasan, our music director, all the legendary singers who put in their voices, Umang Kumar, who has done fabulous sets, our choreography done by Shampa Sonthalia, the cast I mean if I start naming everybody this will, this answer is never going to end but, aap mujhse pooch rahe hai , this is a never ending list of how many things I can talk about, that's how grand and beautiful this is.
Q3. What about acting on live stage excites you the most?
Acting on stage has always been an affair that I never really disconnected with, even though other things would be happening. It recharges your batteries, revitalizes you as an actor, you connect with the audience at some other level, most importantly you reinvent yourself. And if I may just add one line, the way I have had to reinvent myself for Devdas, I've never had to do that before. I have had to go back to Gaurav the person, Gaurav the child, Gaurav the human being, not Gaurav the actor, or Gaurav the star. I've had to undo the successful roles I've done, I've had to undo my tone and my acting habits. This is just something else, I'm extremely proud of this and I'm very hopeful that audience shall like this as well.