He was a mechanical engineer before the acting bug bit him. He has done many short films (The Payback), theatre, modelling assignments before entering the Fface reality show. His hard work got acknowledged and he landed up in the small screen where we have seen him as Surya in Bedeni Moluyar Kotha, as Krishna in Bhakter Bhagaban Sri Krishna and now he invades the small screen as Lord Shiva in Om Namah Shivay. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the man, Gourab Mondal in a telephonic chat. Read on..
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Shooting finally began after a period of turmoil. How are you feeling?
Gourab Mondal- Responsibilities have increased now as an actor. The hectic schedule that we had is the same but after this period of turmoil, now added responsibility is there. I am happy that it has been sorted.
How did you begin the journey in the small screen industry?
Gourab Mondal- I was doing short films, theatre, modelling assignments. I took part in Fface and I was one of the most dedicated participants at the show. Raj Chakraborty called me for an audition for Bedeni Moluyar Kotha. The audition went off really well and he offered me to do the role. There were some other offers too but since he asked me first, I chose to opt for that show.
You have portrayed Krishna and now you are portraying Shiva. Is it a conscious decision to play back to back characters in mythology based serials?
Gourab Mondal- When I was doing Krishna, I played different characters. I can mould myself into different characters and hence playing Krishna and now Shiva has not been much of a problem. However in my next work, I may be doing something different, which is much different from mythology.
What has been the biggest challenge while portraying Shiva after finishing Krishna?
Gourab Mondal- There was an actor who played Krishna in the Hindi Mahabharat and later he played Shiva. The audience did not accept him. I was afraid that the same thing could happen with me too. They loved me as Krishna but as Shiva I might not get the same love. So I have worked double hard to ensure that the two characters look different despite being played by the same person. I have learned dances like Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi so as to ensure that I get the dance steps right. The different mudras had to be correct. So I worked on getting that correct too. I have read a lot of books so as not to leave a loophole in my research.
I knew Western dance movements. Getting the dance steps correct when you are doing the Indian dance forms is a bit difficult. Sometimes when I could not get the dance movements right, I even hit myself and tried to motivate myself by thinking that I can do it. I rehearsed continuously and I believed in myself. Finally I was able to do it.
How has your family reacted to your playing Shiva?
Gourab Mondal- My parents are Bengali teachers. They appreciate my work but they also criticise it when required. The biggest criticism from them is when I do not speak a certain word clearly. They call me up and mention that you could have done it in a better way. I keep this in mind and before I give my shot, I make it a point to rehearse the words properly so I sound correct.
Your fans must be ecstatic with you playing Lord Shiva…
Gourab Mondal- Oh!! They have loved me as Surya, as Krishna and as Shiva. Their reactions are amazing and very motivating. I remember when I went to Iskcon, I was walking down the road. Many people came to take the dirt from the road where I was walking as they thought I was Krishna. That was embarrassing but I understood the love that they had for me. Now when I keep my hairs tied, no one says anything. But the moment I keep it open, everyone says that Look Mahadev is going.
What are your hobbies?
Gourab Mondal- I like travelling and I like singing. I have learned singing and I had a band too. I play the tabla too.
You play the tabla and you knew singing. How has these habits helped you in portraying Shiva?
Gourab Mondal- I play the Mridanga during the shoots for real. Knowing how to play the tabla has ensured that I am aware of rhythms and that has helped me a lot.
How are your co-actors treating you on the sets- now that you are Lord Shiva?
Gourab Mondal- (Laughs) Everybody on the sets is treating me as Lord Shiva. Some of my seniors call me Shibu on the sets.
You are a Shiva devotee and you land up with the role of Lord Shiva. Do you think this is coincidental or divine intervention?
Gourab Mondal– I have been a Shiva devotee since a small age. I wanted to play the role and I wanted it with all my heart. Maybe that’s why I landed up with the role. I am grateful to my producers and directors who have trusted me with two back to back such important roles. They knew that I was dedicated and I would do hard work to fit myself in the role. Thankfully the hard work is paying off.
So what is next for Gourab- Films, web-series, short films or to continue doing mega-serials?
Gourab Mondal- I am not the kind who plans the next move now. Right now I am speaking with you and I don’t know what I will do next. Likewise I take each day as it comes. Every day is challenging and I want to rise up and meet the challenges. However I know one thing for sure and that is I want to do such roles which will help me to gain a permanent place in the heart and minds of the audiences.
We surely hope that you achieve that Gourab. All the best!!
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.