Gopal Datt: From a science undergraduate to actor, all thanks to Delhi
Actor Gopal Datt, a face hugely popular among Hindi web series buffs, is currently basking in the “overwhelming response” to his web show Delhi Crime. But the actor, born and brought up in Nainital, has the Capital — its National School of Drama (NSD) to be precise — to credit for his acting career.
“NSD was great. Otherwise, it was difficult for me to [even think that] I can go to Mumbai and act. I was doing theatre in Nainital. One day, the late Nirmal Pandey was directing a play in Nainital. And we got a chance to perform in NSD. I saw NSD and thought that was the school I wanted to come to. I was doing a graduation in science but at the same time reading plays and literature about theatre. When I got selected, it changed my vision, ambitions. It was only after NSD that I thought I could go to any place and act,” says Datt, who has done a B Sc in Chemistry.
Though he doesn’t get enough time to visit Delhi as often as he would like, but when he does, he makes it a point to meet friends and catch up on some famous food joints. “We meet and have music sessions [with friends]. I sing a little bit and write songs,” he says.
Not just music and theatre, Datt feels literature, too, is crucial in the development of an actor. “It is important. But what we’re missing these days in actors is that nobody is reading, [or] connected to literature. Good literature is important for making and designing your character. Right now, I am reading two new novels by Hindi writer Vinod Kumar Shukla.”
A lot of investment in himself has certainly gone into the niche that Datt has carved for himself in Bollywood. It was difficult with no backing, he recalls, and wherever he went, rejection followed. “I came to Mumbai and got Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001), then I did Tere Naam (2003). But after that, people were offering me the same kind of roles. I said no to six to 10 films. I didn’t want to play the hero’s friend.”
Remind him that his comic timing was much appreciated after Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai, and he laughs, “People say my comic timing is really good. I think it’s easy for me. But I’ve done enough of comedy. I’m looking to explore darker shades. If something comes up on those lines, I will definitely take it up,” says the actor, who is currently starring in the Indian adaptation of The Office.
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