Actor Gagan Arora is a popular face amongst Gen Z. The Delhi boy made his acting debut in ‘College Romance’, which got him immense popularity amongst the young generation. We have also seen him in ‘Girls Hostel’ alongside Ahsaas Channa. His work, which majorly comprises rom-coms and college drama has given him a chocolate boy image. However, he is all set to break his boy-next-door image with Sony Liv’s web series ‘Tabbar’ (which means Family).
Tabbar stars Gagan Arora, Supriya Pathak, Pavan Malhotra and Ranvir Shorey in pivotal roles. It will start streaming on Sony Liv app on 15 October 2021.
Here’s an excerpt of our interview with Gagan Arora:
Your role in ‘Tabbar’ is very different from what you have done before. Was it a conscious choice?
Yes. I have been wanting to do something different for a very long time because you get typecasted in the industry after a certain time. Similar kind of roles keep coming to you. So, ‘Tabbar’ was an opportunity for me where I could express myself as an actor in a different way. I was actually looking for a script that was intense and I feel lucky that I got ‘Tabbar’.
How was your experience working with Supriya Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Pavan Malhotra?
I felt like I won a lottery. It was a roller-coaster ride. They have so much experience and wisdom. You learn something every day just by observing them. The best thing about them was that they made us really comfortable throughout the show. They never made us feel awkward since they are such senior actors. Towards the end, we actually became a family.
Since the show revolves around a Punjabi family, you must have pulled off the accent easily!
Yes, it was easy. I am a Punjabi. I am from Delhi and everyone at my home speaks Punjabi. Even Pavan Sir and our director are also Punjabis. But let me say, it is not a Punjabi show. It is made in Hindi, with a sprinkle of Punjabi language, just to make it authentic.
Are you playing a grey character?
The special thing about the series is that every character is kind of grey. There is no defined region of a character. There will be a constant conflict in the minds of the audience and then you’ll have to choose that who is right and who is wrong. The show and the characters have multiple layers that you can keep peeling, like an onion.
You are coming up with another web series as well?
Yes. Finding Anamika (starring Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Kapoor). It was shot before Tabbar. There was a gap of 7-10 days between both the shoots. On the last day of ‘Finding Anamika’, when I was shooting with Madhuri Ma’am, I suffered a torn ligament in my leg. It was very painful that I couldn’t even walk. The doctor advised me three months of bed rest. I was so worried that I would miss out ‘Tabbar’, the shoot of which was just a week away. I called the director and told him about my situation. I also said that I would understand if they cast someone else to replace me. He hung up the call saying that he’ll call me back. And those two hours were the most difficult hours of my life. I was so worried and kept praying that this script doesn’t go away from me. And luckily, it didn’t. The director incorporated my injury in the script. And I think it’s very smart. I also felt confident that the director trusts me so much that he is willing to make that change for me.
We always hear that actors get replaced for the smallest of things. And I had the same fear. But luckily they supported me.
It has been a phenomenal year for you. It started with the release of College Romance Season 2. Then, Girls Hostel Season 2 came out. And now, Tabbar!
It has been a different year. Sometimes I was so busy, and suddenly I was so free due to the pandemic. Life came to a halt. But the period of lockdown has also made me a better person. I have got the time to sit by myself and contemplate several things in my life. It has been an amazing year work-wise. Apart from my leg, everything has been first-class this year.
Did you always wish to be an actor?
I realized it in college. Prior to that, I wanted to be a chef because I love to eat and I love to cook and serve others. But when I joined the college theatre, I realized that I want to be an actor. The first time I performed on stage and people clapped, it felt surreal. It was a different feeling altogether. And then, one thing happened after the other. And now when I turn back, I wonder that how does a middle-class boy like me end up acting with Pavan Malhotra, Supriya Pathak and Ranvir Shorey. I just thank God for everything.
How does your Tabbar (family) react to your work? Do they ever criticize or are they always in awe?
Mom and Dad are always supportive. They keep telling everyone about every work of mine. My brother gives me the best reality check. He tells me what he likes and what he doesn’t. But when I told my family about the Tabbar web series, all three of them were extremely happy. Dad is a big fan of Pavan Sir since the time of ‘Nukkad’, a TV show that he used to do. Mummy is a fan of Supriya Pathak, since her show ‘Khichadi’. And my brother is a big fan of Ranvir Sir since his film ‘Khosla Ka Ghosla’.
And how does your girlfriend reacts?
She is really happy and is very proud of me. She has been a constant support and it feels good to have a companion who understands what it takes to be an actor.
Has the industry been welcoming to you?
Surprisingly, yes! Because everyone told me that outsiders are not welcomed in this industry and people will not offer me work. But for me, it has been welcoming. Be it assisting on Stree or be it getting College Romance. As I told you, I had a leg injury before the shoot of Tabbar, but they still supported me.
For me to get a Dharma Project with Madhuri Dixit, that is, Finding Anamika, it is a perfect example of the industry supporting the talent. And I think, it has to do more with the boom of OTT. There’s so much work now. And people have started trusting talent over stardom. And if you are not succeeding at this point, maybe you are not trying enough. Because there are a lot of opportunities right now.
Dharma Productions has faced backlash for apparently promoting nepotism and not giving opportunities to outsiders. Now when you have worked with them, what do you have to say about it?
You know that I am a total outsider with no connection to the industry. Yet I am a part of a very big series by Dharma. I am very thankful to them. I auditioned for it and got the part.
Gagan Arora, Supriya Pathak, Ranvir Shorey and Pavan Malhotra starrer ‘Tabbar’ releases tomorrow (15 Oct) on Sony Liv.