Sunday, June 16
Scam 2003 star Gagan Dev Riar recalls the time he

Scam 2003 star Gagan Dev Riar recalls the time he worked as a peon in Mumbai | Web Series

Actor Gagan Dev Riar made his big screen debut alongside Sushant Singh Rajput and Manoj Bajpayee with Abhishek Chaubey’s Sonchiriya, but he got his share of national fame only earlier this year. The audience loved Gagan as Abdul Karim Telgi in Hansal Mehta’s latest show, Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Gagan opens up on the struggles of his younger days, the challenges of working on Scam 2003, and much more. 

Gagan Dev Riar stars as Abdul Karim Telgi.
Gagan Dev Riar stars as Abdul Karim Telgi.

Gagan worked as a peon, and at McDonalds 

Recalling his early days in showbiz, Gagan said that he has written songs for at least ten or eleven TV shows. “I first wrote for Kaisa Yeh Pyar Hai. It went on for five-six years, and I wrote songs for around 10-11 shows. My breakthrough project was when I wrote for Choti Bahu, then Maryada happened, Bani Ishq Da Kalma. I do not remember but many more.”

He also recalled his college days when he used to work part-time as a peon to provide for his own education. “I was 18-19 when I had just completed my first year pursuing BCom. There was a financial crisis in the family and I needed to take care of my education. I also worked in an ad company as a peon. The usual job of taking files from one place to another, getting camera reels printed and all such stuff.” 

Harshest criticism for Scam 2003 – The Telgi Story

Sharing that his Instagram is flooded with messages from fans, friends as well as industry colleagues, Gagan revealed a fun response he received. “The most fun response was when someone said in an Instagram story ‘Oscar goes to Gagan Dev Riar’. I told them they must have gotten it first so they gave it to me.” 

“Another fan said ‘Arree pant kahin nahi ja rahi pata nahi kyu overacting kar raha hai (His pants are going nowhere but he keeps pulling them, such overacting)’. He must have genuinely felt it was not required.” 

Challenges of playing Abdul Karim Telgi

Gagan said his biggest challenge was to ensure his health was not harmed in his attempt to gain weight for the role. “The main thing was to gain weight – I had six to seven months to gain weight and I had to do it without hampering my health. That was a big challenge, to ensure I did not bring some disease upon myself which may cause any health scare.” He added that a lot of work went into ensuring his accent was right – “Bambaiya lingo of a person who came from Karnataka”. 

Kickstart for mainstream films

Reminded that Prateek Gandhi’s career got accelerated in mainstream Hindi cinema after his act in the first season of Scam, Gagan confirmed that he has also received many offers, including those for mainstream projects. “I cannot reveal much as I have not decided yet. Many people want me as the antagonist while many others want me to play the protagonist, even in mainstream projects.”

‘Cool’ Abhishek Chaubey, ‘pagli’ Mira Nair

Recalling the time he worked with Abhishek on Sonchiriya, Gagan said, “Abhishek Chaubey is a cool man for me, a very calm person on set. I believe he does a lot of homework before he reaches sets. He has a cool and composed style – he will ask the actor to read the scene, and then say ‘this is how I think we are going to do’. The best part is, that he is also available to freely give more information about the scene and character. But then, I think I can generalise these traits about all good directors. A good director is always ready to talk to their actor.”

Gagan also joked that director Mira Nair is indeed crazy, reminding us that she wants her social media identity to be that of a Pagli (crazy). “Mira is a vibrant person, but not calm and cool. She will make everybody laugh, and even make fun of herself to make everyone on sets comfortable before she begins work. She is almost like director with an amazing quality of clowning. She even describes… her Instagram handle is @pagliji. Wo waqai me pagli hain, aur kamaal ki pagli hain. Unke saath kam karne ka alag anubhav hai. (She really is crazy, and what a wonderful crazy! The experience of working with her is quite different). She has a freeflowing sense – she gives her actors a thousand ideas and then tries them to see what works the best for the film.”

Hansal’s joke about Gagan Dev Riar’s limitations

He added, “Hansal Mehta is a person who goes with the flow, he does not prepare much but has such a keen idea of logic, He is so agile on set. I have never seen him sitting. If he needs to convey a message, then he will walk past the team of ADs straight to the actor. He won’t ask any AD to convey a message to the actor. He is also calm person on set, but he can also be polite and firm. He also has an amazing sense of humour. Actors are basically very insecure and he can lighten up things quickly. Whenever he’d notice I was tense or stressed, he would tell me ‘Do not take stress, this is all you can do’. That did help me a lot.”

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    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues. …view detail

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