Actor Gagan Arora who was recently played the Madhav in Netflix’s The Fame Game has impressed audiences with his believable performance. He played the role of an obsessed stalker to Madhuri Dixit Nene’s Anamika Anand, and he did it to a T. The actor was first seen in College Romance, a show that became an overnight success and earned him fans because of his character.
Gaga Arora is also part of other projects such as Sony Liv’s Tabbar, Ujda Chaman, Basement Company, and Girls Hostel. He also worked on Stree as an assistant director.
In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Gagan Arora opens up about working with Madhuri Dixit in The Fame Game, talks about his journey in the industry, and gets honest about finding good projects. Excerpts:
Madhav is a complex character with many layers. How difficult was it for you to play the role?
It was extremely difficult. I won’t even try to be humble about it. I had never done anything even close to Madhav. Before that, I was working on romantic stories and doing comedy. I really wanted to change that for the last couple of years. And finally, when I got to play Madhav, I was the happiest.
I delve into the script to get into the skin of the character. I try to read as much as I can and then create a backstory about the character, trying to pick up the body language or the small nuances that a character like him would do. I saw a couple of documentaries, but the main thing was to never judge the character. I never wanted to judge Madhav in terms of if he’s obsessive about an actor. I took him as a very innocent child. And the journey is all about making himself worthy enough to present himself in front of his mother.
Did working with such fine actors help you in your journey?
I was working with such great actors and all of them were so humble. They made sure that I was comfortable and everything I saw on the sets was kind of a masterclass in acting and how to be a good human even when you are famous.
Especially, with Madhuri ma’am, for her to be so warm, so kind to me, making sure that I was comfortable, was something beautiful. I’ve learned and picked up a lot of small things from all the actors.
How was it when you first met Madhuri Dixit?
It’s a very interesting story. I was not allowed to meet Madhuri ma’am before my first scene because the directors wanted me to be nervous, have my fanboy moment around her. So, it was very similar to what the nervousness Madhav would have for an Anamika. They wanted to kind of discover it in front of the camera and hence they told me not to meet her. My scenes with Madhuri ma’am were in the second half of the series, the whole of the first half, I would try to sneak in and look from here and there. When I finally got to meet her for the first time on sets (When I sneak into her vanity), it was extremely tough because I was a fan. And then the moment they said action, I had to intimidate her, kind of threaten her, and it felt so surreal. All my acting skills were put to test. My first meeting was like that. And after the cut, she said, I think you’re good.
What was the most difficult scene for you?
I can’t put a pin on one thing. The scene that might look difficult initially can turn out to be the easiest while those that are simple, can be a tough task. It was a very insecure journey. I was very insecure throughout the process of shooting it because it was the first time in this genre and I would always feel, am I doing enough? I kept on working really hard and that actually helped and people loved the final outcome.
You have worked extremely hard to reach this point. How has it been so far? And tell us something about your life. How did acting happen?
I constantly feel that I am living my dream. I’m just a middle-class boy from Delhi who came to Mumbai and who started acting. But it all started in Delhi. I used to do theatre and then I left it. I fell in love with direction and studied it for a year, then I started assisting. I got a call from a junior from the theatre in college and he wanted me to audition for something just because he didn’t have a lot of people to audition for one of the characters. I got that part and it was a hit. However, after that, I was without work for many months, but I have no regrets. I feel really happy and blessed looking back at my journey.
Do you remember your first day in Mumbai?
I had that big moment after my first project College Romance. I became an overnight success and people loved me. Before that, I had no work for a long time. I worked on my craft so that people could trust me as an actor.
From College Romance to The Fame Game. How do you look back at your journey? Do you feel satisfied?
No, I would never be satisfied. I want to do more. What I have right now is special. From being a boy who had no Godfather in the industry to working with Dharma Production and Madhuri Dixit has been big. I don’t want to change anything in my journey. I am just grateful.
Do you think The Fame Game has helped you in getting better and meatier scripts?
It started with Tabbar and it just got better with The Fame Game. I have so many scripts now that it has become difficult to choose and say no to certain work. I have to choose my projects smartly now.
Gagan, I can call you the Digital OG. How do you think the digital space evolved? There was a time when people were skeptical about working on OTT or web series.
Thank you. It does feel great as I have evolved with this OTT boom. Now, there are amazing directors, writers, actors, production houses and they want to work with you for your talent and not because you are from the industry. That wasn’t the case earlier. It’s the best time to be an actor. OTT has opened the doors for so many talented people.
What’s next for you?
I just started shooting for the third season of College Romance, then I’ll be working on a horror comedy, and Tabbar 2 will also start. There are a lot of great projects I am working on.
(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)