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Gaurav Arora: The guy with no plan B

The Raaz Reboot actor shares his little journey with Cinestaan.com.

Mayur Lookhar

He embodies the Indian youth — one that is amateur, anxious, unpolished, yet big dreamers. There’s childlike exuberance in Gaurav Arora which can be misconstrued for immaturity, but then again most of us have displayed such anxieties, frailties before bagging our first big break in life. 

Arora (29) quit his studies to pursue his celluloid ambitions, struggled for a decade before bagging a nondescript film. The failure of Love Games (2016) notwithstanding, Mahesh Bhatt gave him a second chance casting him as one of the three leads in Raaz Reboot, the fourth instalment of the Raaz franchise..

In an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com, Arora spoke about his journey so far, how Raaz Reboot will decide his fate, his praise for Emraan Hashmi and more.

Excerpts from the conversation:

Your first film Love Games was with Vishesh Films. Is that what helped you land Raaz Reboot too?

The best part about Vishesh films is that they give you an opportunity if they find talent in you. On the fourth day of the shoot of Love Games, Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt offered me Raaz 4. Such a thing only helps boost your confidence.

What was your reaction to the Raaz offer?

I'm very superstitious when it comes to my work. So, I don't discuss it with anyone till it is signed. I didn't talk about it till the time it was published in newspapers.

I come from Mungaoli, a small village in Madhya Pradesh. My father is a farmer and my mother is a home-maker. We didn't have good school there so I was sent to a boarding school in Indore. I was just seven then, I did my schooling and graduation from there. While I was graduating, even during my schooling, I always wanted to become an actor. It was a dream, though I never thought I would be able to achieve it. So, I never even discussed it with anyone fearing that others would laugh at me. 

While graduating, I saw models like John Abraham, Bipasha Basu, Aishwarya, Arjun Rampal get into acting. I thought modelling is the only way for me to get into films. I took up modelling after coming to Mumbai. I travelled across several countries — Thailand, Dubai, U.S.A. Apart from modelling, I also did theatre. It took me 10 years to get my first film.

How old are you now?

I'm 29. I started at a young age. I remember how my father was disappointed when I first told him about my acting ambitions. I gave into his wish and pursued my BBA (Bachelors in Business Administration). While doing BBA I was simultaneously preparing myself for Masters in Business Administration. While attending the classes for preparation for CAT (Common Admission Test), I realised that I'm not made for this (MBA). That' when I made my decision and arrived in Mumbai. I'd finished my second year BBA at home and then came to Mumbai.

Leaving your studies for a uncertain future. That was a huge call to take.

Yes, it was a tough call. It took me 10 years to find a breakthrough in films, but never in these years, did I ever feel like giving up and heading home. That was because I never had a plan B. I remember calling up Bhatt saab, (Mahesh Bhatt), who asked me why I wanted to become an actor. I told him it is the only thing I knew, the only thing I wanted to do. I had no Plan B, I’m not qualified enough to do a job, don’t have a family business, acting is the only thing I have. Bhatt saab liked it and said that this is the only thing he will remember me for. I met him again after two years, and he introduced me as ‘The boy who doesn’t have a Plan B. I want him in my film.”

Have you seen the earlier Raaz films?

I’d seen the first two films, but not the third one. It was A rated and so as a school boy, we saw it on a CD at one of my friend’s place. Back then, sequels were not popular, so I never thought I’d ever be part of the Raaz franchise one day. Raaz Reboot will remind you a lot of the first film. 

How’s it to work with Emraan Hashmi?

Emraan is a gentleman. He doesn’t talk, much but he makes you feel very comfortable. I feared I would have many retakes, as I would upset him. Unfortunately, I had to retake my very first shot. Emraan, though, made me feel comfortable. H asked me to relax and take my own time. With him on board, -the film became much bigger, it gives me the platform to showcase my talent to a bigger audience. So far me it’s a win-win situation. 

It is just your second film, but you will be competing with Amitabh Bachchan’s Pink. Your thoughts?

Look, it took me 10 years to get my first film. Many time I did feel depressed, but then I used to think about Bachchan, and how his first 13 films didn’t click. Yet he went on to become a star. People like Bachchan saab and Shah Rukh Khan always gave me hope. We have to different films, different markets. We live in times when 15-20 movies release in a month, so such competition is fine. 

You don’t have a plan B, but have you set any future goals?

As I said before, I have no plan B. For me, Raaz is a very important film. I’m hoping it does well as it will open new doors for me, or it can also shut them. 

Given from where you came from, have you ever encouraged thoughts of doing few films, making your money and going back home?

No, there again, I have nothing fall back upon. Where will I go? An actor thrives on appreciation. He is like a kid. He wants instant appreciation for his achievements. If a director appreciates your shot, it means more than money to him. Money and fame will come along with it, but an actor first has to work on getting his act right.

But what about criticism? Can you take it?

Till now, I’ve never tasted any success in my life. I wasn’t good at academics. I was in the hockey and swimming team in my school and we didn’t win anything. Till now I’ve never tasted success, and I’m hungry for it. It’s only because of the criticism, failure that I’m here today. I think failure teaches you, while success makes you repetitive.

Do you have any more films in your kitty?

Well, there are few offers, but they need to be better than Raaz for me to take them up. I did do a Pakistani TV commercial which I shot in Thailand. Love Games didn’t work, so if anyone is going to cast me then they would do so on the basis of Raaz.

Finally, are you single?

Yes, I'm very much single and ready to mingle, but only mingle.