Destiny is playful and mysterious. One may set on a path in one direction and end up at an entirely different destination. Adarsh Gourav’s acting career is one such example. As Gourav is an exceptional singer, his parents thought he would make a career in music. Acting was never a part of his career plans.
Born and raised in Jamshedpur, Gourav trained in Hindustani classical music from the age of five. He used to participate in music competitions regularly.
When he was 13, his father, who works at a bank, applied for a transfer to Mumbai, and got selected. Talking about this in an interview, Gourav states, “Our family moved to Mumbai primarily for two reasons. One was my dad felt he would get more opportunity as a banker in Mumbai, and secondly, it meant more opportunities for me as well, to make my career in music. They wanted me to take part in a music reality contest.”
He joined Suresh Wadkar’s Ajivasan Music Academy in Mumbai. Padma Wadkar (Suresh Wadkar’s wife) was his teacher, and she was so impressed with his singing that she offered him a chance to sing in two films, all in a year.
The unique thing about the future is that it is uncertain, and has numerous possibilities. The point where Gourav’s life turned around was during his singing performance at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in South Mumbai. A lady from Raell Padamsee’s company spotted him, and asked if he’d like to act. He agreed, and prepared his portfolio to journey into the world of auditions. He got his first break at the age of 13 to play young Shah Rukh Khan in My Name Is Khan. He continued acting, but the acting bug bit him hard when he was shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s brother Sajid Ali’s film Banana in 2014-15. He has been part of more than 50 TV and digital ad campaigns for brands like LIC, Airtel, Head & Shoulders, and Hotstar. Gourav was also a part of popular web series like Laila, Die Trying, and Hostel Daze. He acted in Madly, directed by Anurag Kashyap, in Mom, starring Sridevi, and in critically acclaimed Rukh alongside Manoj Bajpayee. While working on Rukh, he thought about joining a drama school. His musical career, by now, had completely taken a backseat. At 15, he gave up classical music, and switched to western music. During his college days, he was a part of two bands, which were later disbanded.
Now comes his big break — The White Tiger. Director Ramin Bahrani hired an internationally acclaimed casting director, Tess Joseph, for the film. His brief was simple, “Show me your best and most real actors”. Gourav was called in for the audition, and was selected after a month of multiple rounds. The 26-year-old actor tried to get a driver’s job in Mumbai and Delhi, but no one hired him. He then accompanied his friend to his village in Jharkhand to understand village life. He moved back to Delhi, and worked as an errand boy for a tea stall. He infused life into the character, which led to several nominations at prestigious awards.
The actor has now bagged a BAFTA nomination in the category of ‘Leading Actor’ for his performance in the film. He is the first Indian to be nominated in the Best Male Lead category of the Film Independent Spirits Awards. The White Tiger has been nominated in the best adapted screenplay category for the Oscars.
Adarsh Gourav has shown promise that very few can claim to have shown this early on, and it will be exciting to see how he delivers on this promise in the years to come.