Interview: Gagan Arora shares Stree trivia, experience of working with Madhuri
In an interview with HT, Gagan Arora shares interesting trivia about Stree, working with Madhuri Dixit, and his upcoming web show College Romance 4.
Gagan Arora is back with College Romance season 4 and says the way it relates with the audience is the reason behind it being able to come out with four seasons. Gagan was on his way to become a director but went to audition for the show’s first season on a friend’s request. Since then, he has been bitten by the acting bug and it seems there’s no looking back after he has already worked with Madhuri Dixit in The Fame Game.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Gagan opened up about starting out in the industry as an assistant director before acting happened to him. He also shared his experiences of working with the Stree cast behind the scenes and sharing screen space with Madhuri last year. Excerpts:
You started as an assistant director to Amar Kaushik on the sets of Stree. Do you have something interesting to share from the film’s making?
Every day used to be like a master class in acting. The whole cast is one of the most talented actors in the industry right now. I'm a huge fan of Rajkummar Rao and learnt a lot from him. My whole journey as an AD was amazing because of the way these guys used to improvise out of thin air, make scenes and then stick by it and make it look so real...that is genuineness in acting.
I still remember when we were doing a night shift, Pankaj Tripathi called me, “Suno beta, idhar aao. Director ko bolo yaar mujhe jana hai.” I said it's 3 am and your shoot is till 6am. He said, “Director ko bolo 2 baje ke baad na shareer bas shareer rah jata hai, aatma na chali jati hai sone. To jaldi jaldi karein jo bhi karna hai.” He was so cute and everything he would say in such a manner, it feels like there is so much to learn from everyone.
So did you actually tell the director?
No, I didn’t want to lose my job.
College Romance is in its fourth season. How did it come this far?
While we were making it, we had no idea that it could become so huge. I think the honesty with which the show was made is a reason. At that time, there were not a lot of college shows which were happening. The characters were very real, dialogues and situations were real, characters were such that people related with them. When you relate with something, you ask your friends to watch it. Some say why are we ending it at Season 4, it should go on.
How is it different from the other romantic shows we see on OTT?
Every show has its own essence and College Romance has a strong essence - how students of the Delhi University are, how they talk and how they have fun.
You also hail from Delhi?
Yes, I was born and brought up in Delhi. I did my undergraduation from Shaheed Bhagat Singh (Evening) College, Delhi University.
You were seen as Madhuri Dixit’s obsessed fan in The Fame Game. Share your experience of working with her.
It really felt like a dream. Thanks to OTT I got such an opportunity, people trusted my talent, they liked my audition and gave me this chance to share screen with her. She used to make sure that I was very comfortable, she would talk very calmly and had no tantrums whatsoever. She would sit and rehearse the scenes with me before we would go for the take. I felt like there was a person who was taking care of me while I was performing. I didn’t feel I was working with a superstar.
Who are you really obsessed with in real life?
I am obsessed with the craft of acting. I love gaining knowledge about it, any kind of workshops, interviews, round tables, I read a lot about acting.
How did you get into acting?
I started in my college theater and then I started directing, writing plays. I tilted towards direction and came to Mumbai to study direction for a year and started working as an assistant director. I was an assistant director for two years and before one of my juniors actually asked me to audition for this show again. I fell into his trap and since then I've been acting. My plan was direction, but acting happened and I'm really, really happy it happened because it feels like a dream. It feels like destiny right now.
What else are you working on now? Do you have any plans of returning to direction?
There is a horror show for Amazon Prime. We have just wrapped up the first part and it will be released next year. I am also starting a new film next year.
I don’t get time to get back to the craft of direction once again. I am really happy where I am. Direction needs a lot of discipline and time and right now, luckily, I have a good amount of work to keep me busy.