After rejections and dejections, landing a role as Amitabh Bachchan's son in the megastar's debut fiction TV series Yudh has turned out to be a "big confidence booster" for young actor Pavail Gulati. He says the 71-year-old veteran's generosity and knowledge is a learning experience.
In film school, Pavail was taught by Naseeruddin Shah, with whom he even worked later. He says "it prepared me for bigger things which probably peaks with working with someone like the Big B".
"You can't just describe working with a stalwart like Mr.Bachchan in one word. His professionalism is to die for. There's no end to the amount you can learn from him," Pavail said.
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"Being an actor of his stature, I was surprised (pleasantly, of course) when he would let me give as many takes, he gives suggestions, he gives cues...I could go on and on," said the Delhi boy, whose father is a documentary filmmaker and mother a radio producer.
In Yudh, which has Anurag Kashyap as its creative director, Shoojit Sircar as creative consultant and Ribhu Dasgupta as director, Pavail plays the role of Rishikesh. It's a "cinematic dream come true" for the young man, who strongly believes that Kashyap, the man behind films like Dev D and Gangs Of Wasseypur, has "single-handedly changed the face of contemporary filmmaking in India".
The role in Yudh came to Pavail when casting director Mukesh Chhabra asked him to audition for it.
"I had no clue what it was about. The only thing I knew about was that Anurag Kashyap was doing it. That name got me super excited," he said, adding that he had later been told he had been rejected.
However, a phone call changed it all.
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"I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra and he said, 'Congrats, you're Bachchan's son'. I almost said no I'm not, but then quickly understood what he meant. Apparently, Anurag saw my audition and loved it," recounts Pavail, who couldn't believe his luck until he gave his first take.
The show is a "big deal" and "big confidence booster" for the 26-year-old, who is nervous.
"Working with him (Big B) means I have to be better than I've ever been before. I really don't want to be the guy who disappointed Mr.Bachchan and Anurag Kashyap."
And especially because the opportunity hasn't come his way easily. He shifted base from Delhi to Mumbai when he was 18 to study acting at Whistling Woods International under Naseerudin.
He did his share of work - "a couple of movies, some of which sadly never saw the light of day". But when "it all led up to this", Pavail can look back with a smile.
"I've faced tons of rejection. Worked as an assistant. I have had films been given to another actor at the last moment...But honestly I've loved it all. It makes me who I'm today."