Bad Man is the autobiography of Bollywood’s favorite antagonist – Gulshan Grover, titled after the name he earned as Bad Man for his role and dialogue delivery in the movie Ram Lakhan. In conversation with Roshini Dadlani from Penguin India, he discusses his life and work through the lens of his autobiography.
Gulshan first took a moment to commend the energy of Bangaloreans. He said that he grew up watching great villains of Bollywood. Candidly he continued – “It takes a good actor to play a villain while any good looking person with average acting can play a hero”. There is a stark contrast between his onscreen roles and his real life persona of a hardworking individual as the book reveals.
Growing up in Delhi amidst economic crises, his father instilled in him the belief that good education is a strength. Gulshan noted that his classmates and batchmates from M. Com degree include public figures like Hon’ble Mr. Justice Arjun Skiri and late Arun Jaitely.
By then, his affair with art had begun and off he went to Mumbai with the resolve to become an actor. He said that he realized a need to do something different which led him to take up formal training at Actor’s Studio where he met the likes of Sunil Dutt who afforded him the opportunity of working on the film Rocky. At this studio, Gulshan went on to work as a teacher enabling him to meet many of his future colleagues.
When questioned how life has changed since he first set foot in Mumbai, he quickly remarked that nothing has changed. He is still as enthusiastic about any small or big role he plays in a movie. He believes in giving his all wherever he turns up, onscreen or offscreen.
Speaking of the challenges that came with his transition to Hollywood before the internet boomed, he related an anecdote where he was caught by Customs officers at Los Angeles for carrying numerous VHS tapes of Bollywood movies that he wanted to share with people he met. He lauded actresses like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone for cementing the path to Hollywood. When Roshini chipped in with “but you were the first”, Gulshan couldn’t help but lapse into his villainous voice ( which he informed is cultivated) and replied “Koi Shak” ( translates to “any doubt”).
Gulshan was known for experimenting with his looks and deciding his costumes, when asked if he still gets into the skin of his characters, he promptly said that he does it everyday. He added that the general consensus in the industry seems to be that villains are dead and people are waiting to throw mud over their graves but he is determined to not let that happen. He is currently working on three Bollywood movies (Suryavanshi, Sadak 2, Mumbai Saga). He also hinted at a plausible role in the next James Bond movie.
This hearty session ended with Gulshan stepping off stage to interact with the audience and take questions. The best questions were awarded Penguin goodies and witty answers from the Bad Man himself.
About the Author: Charishma V is just another complex, creative pseudo-adult who can wear several hats. Her blog is at charishmavreddy. She currently writes for TheSeer. Instagram handle – @poetry_over_prose