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Exclusive! Pratik Gandhi on working with Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu: It's a warm welcome for me in mainstream cinema

Pratik Gandhi also spoke about how he is striking a balance between Hindi and Gujarati projects.

Exclusive! Pratik Gandhi on working with Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu: It's a warm welcome for me in mainstream cinema
Pratik Gandhi/Instagram
  • Aishwarya Vasudevan

Last Updated: 06.41 AM, Sep 25, 2022

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In 2022 itself, Pratik Gandhi has been a part of several projects in the OTT space, including the web series The Great Indian Murder (Disney+Hotstar), the Baai segment of Modern Love: Mumbai (Amazon Prime Video), and the latest being the film Atithi Bhooto Bhava (ZEE5).

In the Hardik Gajjar directorial, Pratik is seen with Jackie Shroff and Sharmin Segal. While talking about sharing the screen space with the senior actor, he exclusively told OTTplay, "I'm fortunate enough to have worked with him twice. Atithi Bhooto Bhava is my second film with him. We did a Gujarati film together called Ventilator, which was released in 2018."

Pratik further said, "And as far as learning is concerned, he is very warm, kind, and beautiful in human form. He will tell you something very big, just like that, it just comes out. The way I understood him, he doesn't take things seriously. He is so cool. He's very casual about a lot of things, which eventually a lot of people do in life. Well, those things are very casual."

During the exclusive interview, the talented actor spoke at length about having multiple projects in his kitty, striking a balance between the Hindi and Gujarati film industries, working with Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, and more.

Excerpts...

Is it a kind of relief that Atithi Bhoot Bhava is being released directly on OTT, given that there's no box office pressure?

Rather than the pressure, OTT actually gives another kind of assurance. At least it will reach out to people, and they will have their own opinion after watching the show or without watching it. It's a very scary space. In current times, there are a lot of things that influence people. And without even watching the film, or a show, or any piece of art, you decide that it is good or bad, which is not fair. You watch it and then decide whether or not you like it.

OTT will give you that assurance. Even for word of mouth to come out, somebody has to watch it. You can't just decide without seeing anything. So that's the case with OTT, which is very satisfying.

Do you think it's fine also for a few films to be released directly on OTT, skipping the theatrical releases?

Why not?! I don't see any issue there either. It's a way to reach out to people. I will give you an example of my theatre days. Earlier, in Mumbai in particular, theatres worked mostly on weekends, especially on Sunday. It was very clear that's the reason there's a huge competition amongst production houses to get those Sunday dates. If you have one auditorium and four Sundays in a month, you will only get eight slots in the whole month. There are 15 plays, so how can it be possible as all the places are busy?

We were trying to break that. We were trying to put shows on Fridays and Saturdays. Why not create another Sunday altogether? Why not have alternate spaces to perform? Why only a few auditoriums? You should stage those plays. That's when the black box theatre came out, which is a concept very famous on Broadway called off-Broadway.

Similarly, here too, for the movies, the theatre works best during the weekends. But with OTT, it has helped us reach out to the audience, which we never even imagined.

How are you managing to strike a balance between Gujarati movies, Hindi movies and OTT series?

I am trying to strike a good balance between both industries. I am still active in theatre also, my Gujarati industry and Hindi also. Ultimately, you only have 365 days in a year, and I am the only one. I do feel like creating clones.

With the life experiences I have had, I prepared myself. I signed my first Gujarati film when I was a full-time employee with one of the biggest corporates in India. I just took 22 days of leave, went for my shoot, and during that time, my projects were getting approval with big contracts. So I was constantly available online, with my team in between shots. I used to make presentations between the shots and take the calls. So I'm in much better shape than I thought.

How different is it going to be to play Gandhi in a web series than you did on stage?

This is going to be fascinating just from his teachings, his experiences, and whatever I perform and learn through the scripts. It's really exciting and challenging for an actor. I keep saying that this is going to be the biggest project of my life.

You are also working on the movies with Vidya Balan and Taapsee Pannu, respectively. What do you have to say about your work experience with them?

Before I worked with them, I had only seen them on the big screen. But the moment I met them, I never felt that I was meeting a star or a celebrity. They're so genuine. They are so passionate about their craft, it's very easy to work with them. They are all here for creativity; it's all for the film. They are open to discussion. Make sure you equally participate in this. It's a warm welcome for me in the mainstream cinema.

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