MW Men Of The Year 2021: Adarsh Gourav Is A Talent To Watch Out For
The White Tiger cemented this actor’s cachet as a breakout artiste, and his unbelievable award run has managed to strip him of restrictive identifiers. With a big Hollywood production and at least two more projects back home, Adarsh Gourav has interesting chapters lying ahead.
In 2008, Aravind Adiga’s novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize. Almost a decade later, the person featured on its dedication page, Iranian-American film director Ramin Bahrani, ended up helming its cinematic adaptation. He just had one simple instruction for Tess Joseph, the film’s casting director — to give his best and most real actors.
The Netflix film of the same name released on January 22, 2021, with a cast including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rajkummar Rao, and Adarsh Gourav. The White Tiger soon ranked number one on the OTT platform in 64 countries in the first four weeks, and was viewed by 27 million households.
“To see The White Tiger do so well all over the world is reassuring because it is such a universal story. People from across the globe connected to it,” Gourav had said in a chat. What the film also did was catapult 26-year-old Gourav, a newcomer in Bollywood, into the nomination lists of some of the most prestigious global awards.
Gourav was nominated for the Best International Actor-Cinema of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, he was on the longlist for the Best Leading Actor category of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, and was also the first Indian to be nominated in the Best Male Lead category of the Film Independent Spirits Awards (late Irrfan Khan was nominated for Best Supporting Male Actor for his role in Mira Nair’s The Namesake in 2007).
Featuring Gourav on MW’s Men Of The Year list is not just about his acting, but also is an acknowledgment of his achievements and popularity with the millennials. Take his name, and the reaction seems almost uniform — an excited glint in the eyes, hand on the heart; many of them look up to him and consider him to be their idol, and why not? Gourav is a powerhouse, and it’s his hard work and talent that have earned him this prestigious spot.
When the BAFTA announcement came through, Gourav had then taken to Instagram and written, “Holy shit it’s really happening! Thank you Ramin for trusting me to play the character that has given me more than anything I’ve ever experienced. Congratulations to the team for two BAFTA nominations!! Best adapted screenplay and Leading actor. Congratulations, to all the other nominees too!” (sic)
In an interview, the actor had said, “It feels amazing to be nominated amongst my childhood heroes — Sir Anthony Hopkins and Mads Mikkelsen. It’s like a dream for an actor. I wasn’t disheartened when I lost because being nominated itself was a big deal for me. I have my whole career ahead of me to get nominated multiple times.”
If being a part of The White Tiger cemented his cachet as a breakout artiste, then his unbelievable award run has managed to strip him of restrictive identifiers, placing him in contention as one of the breakout actors of the year. Before The White Tiger, Gourav booked supporting roles in movies like Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan (2010), Ravi Udyawar’s Mom (2018) and in web-series like Leila (2019) and Hostel Daze (2019). He was the goosebump-inducing lead turn in Atanu Mukherjee’s Rukh (2018), an indie movie that flew largely under the radar.
Gourav was a musician and the lead vocalist of the rock band, Oak Island. Hailing from Jamshedpur, he trained in classical Hindustani music for more than nine years and worked as a playback singer with Sukhwinder Singh, Ilaiyaraaja and Subhash Ghai. Under the tutelage of Padma Wadkar, Gourav began to convert his potential into palpable prospects. “Padmaji gave me a chance to sing in two films — Subhash Ghai’s Black & White and Chal Chalein. She also helped me get in touch with Raell Padamsee, who cast me as a singer in her production, Freedom,” he said in a previous chat with a publication.
When Gourav was just 13, his father, who works at a bank, applied for a transfer to Mumbai, and got selected. “My father moved around for work but my mother and I usually stayed in Jamshedpur, irrespective of my father’s postings. However, when the Mumbai transfer happened, we spent a few days deciding if we’d all move. It would be better for my father’s career, and for mine as well.”
If you are wondering what’s next for the actor, then here’s the answer — Gourav has been roped in to play one of the leads in Zoya Akhtar’s next directorial venture, Kho Gaye Hum Kahan. Gourav, much like his White Tiger co-star Priyanka Chopra Jonas and other India-based actors such as Ali Fazal, also has Hollywood on his mind, and on the cards. Talent management agencies WME and Brillstein Entertainment signed on the actor last year, and he has started shooting for Extrapolations, an anthology featuring Meryl Streep and Kit Harington among other big names.
This is definitely a prologue to the story that is Adarsh Gourav. And you can say it’s a real page-turner. Other interesting chapters lie ahead, no doubt.