Pratik Gandhi won hearts with his performance as the controversial stockbroker Harshad Mehta in the web series, Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story. The actor, who became an overnight sensation with his web debut, is now gearing up to make a splash in Bollywood with his upcoming film, Bhavai. Though not new to Bollywood, having done Mitron and Loveyatri in 2018, Bhavai marks his Bollywood debut as a lead.
Talking about his big switch, Pratik says, “I was confused about getting into the Hindi film industry. I was indeed contemplating — How to start? Whom to approach? How to get into this industry? I was not at all clear about it. I am still in a dream.”
Hansal Mehta’s Scam 1992 put Pratik on Bollywood’s radar. His exceptional portrayal of Harshad Mehta not just won him audiences’ love, but also critics’ appreciation. “Everyone dreams for this kind of reception in this industry. Undoubtedly, you just have to be extremely lucky to receive recognition here. At a time when the pandemic is creating havoc the world over, the appreciation means a lot to me,” Pratik shares. “I have received multiple offers from all mediums: OTT, TV, films (Hindi as well regional). I feel overwhelmed with the support I am getting,” he adds.
Bhavai, which is releasing in theatres on October 1, also features Aindrita Ray, Rajendra Gupta, Rajesh Sharma and Abhimanyu Singh in pivotal roles. The musical drama revolves around two people working in a Ram Leela troupe and shows how it affects their life off stage. “Bhavai is a romantic film and you will get to see the entire Ram Leela in the three-hour-long movie,” Pratik informs.
The film sees Pratik play a stage artiste, who essays the role of Raavan in a Ram Leela. The trailer gives a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie vibe in terms of the music and the set. “It reflects the grandeur of Ram Leela and that is why we wanted a theatrical release. The film would have been released long back if the theatres were open and the situation was not affected by the pandemic,” the actor explains.
But, all is not as rosy for Pratik. The movie was embroiled in controversy over its title, which was previously called Raavan Leela. After facing criticism over the name, the makers earlier this month changed it to Bhavai. And Pratik hopes that people will enjoy the theatrical experience the movie has to offer.
Sharing his thoughts on the title change, Pratik says, “For us, the most important part is respecting sentiments of one and all. Some feel the movie is about Raavan, but it isn’t. It’s a love story of two actors and how their on-stage life affects their real life. It has nothing about religion. So, to avoid misinterpretation we changed the title to Bhavai. We also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Bhavai is written and directed by Hardik Gajjar and produced by Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Aksshay Jayantilal Gada, Parth Gajjar, Richa Amod Sachan and Hardik Gajjar under the banners Hardik Gajjar Films, Backbencher Pictures and Jayantilal Gada.
On the work front, Bhavai isn’t the only Bollywood film that Pratik has signed. He has Dedh Bigha Zameen, which reunites him with his Scam 1992 director, Hansal Mehta. Then he will also be seen with Richa Chadha in the Disney+Hotstar series, Six Suspects, directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia.
“We have shot for Dedh Bigha Zameen. I also have a film which is in its initial stage. I will start doing Gujarati plays as soon as the theatres open. I don’t wish to deprive my Gujarati audience. In fact, I am open to working in regional films, along with Hindi, as well,” Pratik signs off.