Before doing a prominent role in Gumraah, actor Deepak Kalra had a decade-long journey doing a variety of things in TV, OTT, and music videos. Kalra who was last seen in the successful Prime Video series Guilty Minds is excited about the current phase in his career. He also helped Shah Rukh Khan in the characterization of his role as a fan in Fan. In a candid conversation with CINE BLITZ, Deepak Kalra talks about all this and more.
How big a validation does it serve to do your first big Hindi film?
I have done films before playing small roles. But Gumraah is my biggest film to date. I think no matter how much you work on OTT, the feeling of the 70mm is altogether different.
I have one web series. I have my YouTube channel. I have worked with BookMyShow. But film ki vibe hee alag hoti hai. Plus, Gumraah is a masala film. I got to do a song in the film. It was a dream to do a Bollywood song that came true in this film. I had great fun.
How did you and Aditya Roy Kapur work on the on-screen friendship between your characters?
It happened organically. I met him for the first time at his home. His character Ronnie was from Delhi. So, I helped him get the nuances of the character and language right. We bonded during the readings. We partied. We went out to eat after a night shift in Delhi. We went to eat Pahargunj ki kachori near a railway station early in the morning.
Both of us have some similarities too. Both of us started our TV careers with Channel V and both our shows were made by the same producers and director. Both of us were cast in our first films by Amita Sehgal. Although, my film didn’t materialize. Both of us are close to our mothers. We both have curly hair. In Malang, he was tied upside down and beaten. In Gumraah, the same thing was done to me. I think it was meant to happen.
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You have a peculiar personality. But the flip side of it is that you might get typecast. Are you worried about getting typecast?
Typecast is very common. People get typecast because they choose to walk the same path and do similar roles. As an actor, you should be like water – you can become Rooh Afza or whisky as per requirement.
I am playing an engineer in an upcoming show titled Provider. I sported a clean-shaven look for the first time in 5-6 years. I want to do an action film. Nobody has seen a fat action hero so far. I have written a romcom where a fat man is the main hero.
What kept you going in all those years before landing Guilty Minds – your first hit show?
I have nothing to lose and everything to win. Even if I lose, I’ll win something. I consider the struggle of 10 years as progress. I believe everything is written – where do you go and whom do you meet.
Even before Guilty Minds’ casting director Gautam Kishanchandani auditioned me he had told everyone about the role I eventually played, “Yeh role sirf Kalra karega.”
Did the experience of working with Shah Rukh Khan in Fan serve as motivation in those trying times?
I think Fan is a milestone in my career because everything happened around it. I was in the opening scene of the film. My meeting with Shah sir, him liking my style and asking me how to do certain things was quite instrumental. I was with him for four days. It was altogether a different high – ‘I am working with Shah Rukh Khan’. In a 2016 interview, he spoke about me for 40 seconds. It’s one of the most special moments in my life.
I went to the premiere of Kaamyaab produced by Shah Rukh Khan. I was shooting for Guilty Minds in Delhi. I came to Mumbai, especially for the premiere. He was talking to someone else when he saw me. And he said, “Yaar Deepak, whenever I turn on the TV, I see you. You have done a campaign for Tata Sky.” Shah Rukh Khan remembering me and saying those words to me made me feel that I have achieved everything in life.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have done one series titled Bajao produced by Jio Studios. I have done one music video which shall be out in a few months.