HomeArts & EntertainmentGulshan Devaiah: People often send their pictures to me in DMs which...

Gulshan Devaiah: People often send their pictures to me in DMs which I find inappropriate – Times of India

Gulshan Devaiah will be seen essaying the lead opposite Taapsee Pannu in upcoming psychological thriller ‘Blurr’, which also marks Taapsee’s debut as a producer. Ahead of the film’s direct digital release, Gulshan Devaiah opens up about shooting for ‘Blurr’, success of OTT releases, his thoughts on remake culture and more. Excerpts:

What was the most challenging part about ‘Blurr’?
It was challenging in a different way for me. The one thing that really bothered me was the monsoons in the hills. The hills are really boring, gloomy and depressing in the monsoons, they are best experienced in winters and summer. So that’s one thing that was really challenging, but when you see the movie, it really adds to the narrative. It’s another character in the story, it has an effect and the director really wanted it. But it can be a bit challenging to sort of work in that weather because it’s kind of depressing.

‘Blurr’ is streaming directly on OTT and you have had several other OTT releases too. But with streaming platforms, there is no box office, so how do you gauge audience reaction?
Mostly I get a lot of DMs if they really like something. And then generally, like if you do a hashtag search you get to know the kind of reaction. But I don’t do that too much. I try to respond to all the DMs that I get as diligently as possible, because I’m very grateful that people say nice things about me and appreciate it. Streaming platforms have their own way of collecting and analysing data. I am curious about that but I don’t get involved in it too much. I try not to let that affect me too much. Like sometimes things are not doing really well, so I don’t want to be affected by that. I only want to focus on what I can do, what’s in my control. What’s beyond my control, I don’t want to worry about it.

Speaking of DMs, have you received any weird messages on social media?
I do get awkward DMs, like people send me pictures of themselves. I think a lot of actors do get it. And I don’t think it’s weird, but it is inappropriate. In the beginning it was a bit odd, because you have clicked on it, so it shows them that I’ve already seen, so they know you, then that gets really weird. Like, how do I respond to this now? Do I delete it? Do I say, please don’t send me. And sometimes I used to do that (laughs), like reply saying ‘thank you very much’ and ‘please don’t send things, this is inappropriate’. And then again, they will be like why don’t you like my picture? So I’m very fair and I have tried to avoid that.

‘Blurr’ is said to be an adaptation of Spanish film Julia’s Eyes… have you watched the original?
I wasn’t interested in watching it because I didn’t want to be influenced by the performances that are already there. I was only interested in understanding the vision that Ajay Bahl had for this movie. That’s the only thing that matters to me. I never asked how much he was influenced by the original film. Whatever we would discuss, the scenes, my character and the look, whatever he said was like written in stone for me. If I had any ideas, it would be discussed and if he was okay with it, then we would go ahead with it.

What is your take on the remake culture that has taken over Indian cinema?
It’s all right. I do feel that we have a lot of talented people and we have to sort of prioritise giving opportunities to original content. But at the same time, I think good adaptations are always going to exist. It’s not like, because I don’t like it, somebody else also won’t like it. This is also part of the employment business and there are some wonderful things that are being adapted and remixed as well. But I am all for OG content too and one just needs to find the right balance. The problem is when these things become a trend and everybody starts to follow and it becomes a little too much. So I think that’s when the imbalance is created. But if we can sort of side by side, make remakes and give opportunities to wonderful storytellers who have original content, it will be fine.

How would you describe Taapsee Pannu as a producer and co-actor?
I never saw her as a producer at all on set, although I think she was working side by side, after pack-up and all that. But I never met her as a producer on set, which is a good thing. As actors, we have very contrasting styles of working. We come from different backgrounds as well and different kinds of life experience as well. She’s a very practical person that really works for her. And I think it’s wonderful to see that she doesn’t take too much time to get ready and she likes doing fewer takes, so she’s really focused and she tries to put everything that she has in her 2-3 takes. Having said that, I don’t mind actors who like doing a lot of takes, improvisations and stuff like that. I’ve worked with those actors also. It’s a different experience that I enjoy. So I think Taapsee has a very practical and very efficient process.

One learning that you take back from 2022?
Don’t worry about things that you cannot control. They are, they were beyond you and they will always be beyond you.

One thing you hope to change in 2023?
Nothing, I don’t have any feedback yet. I’m just going to go with the flow. I read a beautiful quote by Stephen Fry, a wonderful actor and a very eminent writer and scholar. He’s like, ‘We’re not nouns, we’re verbs’. I don’t know what that means to me yet, but I’m thinking about that. I’m trying to see how this can be relevant to my life, particularly as an actor and as a human being as well.

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