Actor Pratik Gandhi garnered national attention and widespread critical acclaim for playing the role of the late stock broker Harshad Mehta in the 2020-launched biopic web series, Scam 1992. The success of the series and his performance brought the actor much appreciation and in a short span he became a personality to reckon with, not only ranking among the top actors on the OTT platform but also being sought after in Bollywood and the south Indian film industry, especially Tollywood.
Pratik will next be seen in the film, Bhavai, the title of which was previously Raavan Leela, produced under the banners of Hardik Gajjar Films and Backbencher Pictures, and bankrolled by Jayantilal Gada. Pratik Gandhi and Aindrita Ray are in the lead roles.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q. The reason for Raavan Leela to be titled as Bhavai now?
The most important reason was to respect the sentiments of one and all. A few viewers and some people felt it was about Raavan. However, the film is a love story between two actors — there is a film going on in the film. How it confuses their reel and real life is what the story is all about and has nothing to do with religion. So to avoid any kind of misinterpretation we changed the title to Bhavai.
Q What does Bhavai mean actually?
Bhavai is a folk song and dance form especially performed and shown in Gujarati folk theatres. Bhavai, also known as Vesha or Swang, is a popular folk theatre form of western India. Humour plays a vital part in any Bhavai performance and is seen in plays.
Q About the Ram-Leela nautanki shown in the film, there appears to be a well nursed comedy presented in it.
I think people will love the Ram-Leela nautanki in this, especially those who have seen it in real during the festive season. In this film, a whole play happens.
Q How do you look back at your journey in the industry?
I feel very satisfied. And the appreciation coming my way from not only my fans but also a lot of my theatre colleagues and them telling me that they are happy about my progress makes me feel happy.
Q From being a qualified engineer to an actor — how did it all happen?
I was always an actor, working in films for 15 to 18 years, and I did engineering. It has always been these two things together. I never thought that I’d do only one film. I worked in theatre in Surat and from Gujarati theatre, I came to Mumbai to join a professional Hindi theatre and my journey from Gujarati theatre to regional cinema took me to Hindi Cinema. It is always everything together, with me doing varied projects every time.
Q After playing Harshad Mehta in Scam, we hear you received offers from South too? Are you open to working down South?
Lot of people have indeed compared my looks to that of a few Southern actors. And many makers have approached me. A couple of scripts have already reached me, especially from Telugu filmmakers, which we’re discussing, though nothing has been finalised yet. I am open to working in all southern language — Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. I want to explore all the languages. The content should be worthwhile and my role should be performance-oriented. If things work out probably I will soon sign a film from down South....