What made you select the Gujarati webseries Vitthal Teedi after Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story?
I guess what made me choose this series above the other offers was the script, character and the complexity of the character. These factors tempted me as an actor. And of course the fact that I come from Gujarat, and I am attached to Gujarati cinema and literature.
So the language does matter?
I cannot deny my partiality and fondness for the Gujarati language and cinema/theatre in my mother tongue. So the language was definitely a deciding factor. That apart, the director of Vitthal Teedi Abhishek Jain and I have a rapport. We had earlier worked together in a feature film in 2013. His passion is very contagious. Having said that, I didn’t think of the language as a criteria for accepting the series. There were lots of people who told me not to go for a Gujarati serial after Scam which was an international hit. But I went with my gut feeling.
Come to think of it there are lots of similarities between your characters in Vitthal and Scam?
Yes, apart from the fact that they’re both gamblers there’s an internal swag in both the characters. There a certain style to their personality. They are both underdogs and their journey is interesting. I wanted to challenge myself as an actor that if I do another series about another gambler after Scam, would I be able to create a completely different character from the one in Scam? I didn’t want audiences to see Harshad Mehta or me , Pratik Gandhi in Vitthal. That was one my biggest motivations in doing Vitthal Teedi after Scam.
In spite of the similarities the two characters are come across as different personalities?
That’s because they belong to different worlds . The set-up, feel everything. But yeah, there were a lot of similarities. My job as an actor was to look beyond the similarities.
Scam has turned you into a Bollywood star. I saw you cooking up a storm alongside Karan Johar and Kareena Kapoor in some cheesy and corny culinary show. Is stardom corrupting you?
I don’t think much about things like stardom, etc. I just do my work. I treat every project the way it deserves to be. For me a culinary show deserves my professional attention as much as anything else I do. So yeah, I just do my work. I don’t complicate things around me. I am just my normal self in every situation. And I make a conscious effort not to get corrupted by the trappings of stardom.
Your forthcoming projects?
I am shooting a webseries by Tigmanshu Dhulia called 6 Suspects. We’ll resume shooting after lockdown. I’ve also confirmed Siddharth Roy Kapur’s film Woh Ladki Hai Kahan. My co-star I Taapsee Pannu.Apart from these a couple of other projects should be finalized soon.
Image source: Instagram/pratikgandhiofficial
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