Having donned many hats, actor & TV show host Gunjan Utreja shares his views on web shows, mental health, and nepotism. The actor’s latest music video Judaai, recently crossed 25 million views.
Anurag Singh Bohra | Delhi
Having worked in daily soaps, anchoring for award functions and hosting chat shows with celebs, what do you enjoy the most in showbiz?
All three are different mediums but at the core of it. I enjoy entertaining my audience the most. That’s what gives me high. There is no better joy in the world than making other people happy with your talent.
You’re shooting for two new web series. Could you share more about the story and the characters?
As of now, I can only share about 1 as we are almost completing the same. I play a rockstar named Metal in the series THE SOCHO PROJECT. He is one of the most gifted artists in the country but is struggling to make his space due to the music mafia in the industry who only want to promote one kind of music. The story is about friendship, the discovery of an artist, and how they all find themselves to take on the system.
How different are web shows from television series?
Poles apart. In most web series the story telling is fast, complex and it leads to a conclusive end. Besides it gives an opportunity for characters to be complex. In TV characters are black and white. You are either positive or negative.
Your recent music video Judaai has been well received. Do you also wish to work in Hindi and other regional cinema as well?
While shooting for JUDAAI; we knew we were doing something good. But the fact that it crossed 25million and became the biggest non-film song on T-Series pop charts buster FB page; was something none of us expected. I am glad people loved the song. The storytelling and our hard work got appreciation. It wasn’t shooting easy for the same. For 7 days we were shooting under -20 degrees. And to portray a man who was broken from within after killing his own love was emotionally very taxing. But in the end, the final result is worth the hard work. Thanks to OTT, the opportunity for credible artists has opened up. I am open to every opportunity where I can showcase my versatility as an actor and challenge my own self.
Who are your favourite filmmakers with whom you would like to associate in the near future?
I don’t have any favourites. We have a lot of gifted and hardworking filmmakers who are changing the landscape of storytelling in India. But if I have to choose one for the sake of this question then it would be Zoya Akhtar.
Is there any dream role that you desire to portray as an actor?
Not really. I feel attracted to the characters I am watching. While watching the house of cards I feel like playing Frank Underwood’s character. When I watch money heist I feel like playing the professor’s role. That’s the beauty of cinema. It makes you fall in love with itself.
In the present scenario when the global population is witnessing pandemic, how important do you consider mental health apart from physical well being?
Mental health is equally important to physical health. The world has changed. We are more dependent on technology than ever. We consume a lot of information today than before. Lifestyles have changed and that’s why it’s important we focus more on our mental well being. In a world of social media where there is too much pressure on pretending to be happy. It’s high time we focus on being happy.
There has been a lot of debate and discourse over nepotism in the entertainment industry? What would be your advice to the aspiring talents who want to pursue an acting career?
I have a simple philosophy. Obstacles are those things that you see when you aren’t focusing on the goal. There is a lot of noise around a lot of things in the industry by people who don’t understand anything about this profession. The industry runs on merit, irrespective of your background. And there are plenty of examples to prove the same. Srk, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Karthik Aryan, Ayushmann Khurana. The list is endless. The only advice I would give aspiring talent is to focus on you. There is nothing else you can control in this universe.