Installed TV towers, stayed in 1 RK with family of 4 and quit job at 36 'kyunki ishq toh acting se hi tha', says Scam 1992 Pratik Gandhi, shares his journey to stardom

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With the release of Abhishek Bachchan’s The Big Bull, Pratik Gandhi’s impeccable performance in Hansal Mehta’s series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story is once again in the reckoning as both play stockbroker Harshad Mehta. Now, in a Humans of Bombay post, Pratik spoke about his life before and after the show.

Speaking about the first time he acted, Pratik said: “I was in the 4th grade when I first performed on stage. It was just a 5 minute skit, but the thundering claps I received stayed with me. That’s when my tryst with acting began–soon, my teachers cast me in more plays. But we were middle class; Papa was supportive but he’d say, ‘Pehle degree lo, phir jo karna hai karo.’ So I opted for engineering. Still, I’d do small plays–ishq toh acting se hi tha."

RECOMMENDED READ: Scam 1992: The Story of Harshad Mehta Review – Hansal Mehta’s series recaptures India’s most notorious financial scam that shook Dalal Street

Talking about his early days in Mumbai, he went on, "After graduating, I moved to Bombay–for 4 years I worked on a project basis so that I could act. But there’d be months with no income. So, I did odd jobs like installing TV towers and anchoring. But then the 2006 Surat floods took our home. My family came to Bombay & the 4 of us stayed in a 1RK; after I got married, 5 of us were in that tiny space. So I took up a full-time job. Still, I’d rehearse for 2 hours before work & after, I’d do plays. I did this for 6 years."

He further spoke about getting a break in Gujarati films and said, “Then finally, I got a role in a Gujarati film! So, I took a 22-day leave from work for the shoot. At times, right after my shot, I’d get on a work call. After the shoot, I went back to work. I wasn’t even there for the promotions. Fortunately, Bey Yaar was a hit; overnight, I became a mainstream Gujarati actor. So the next time I got a film offer, I took the risk & at 36, I quit my job! Although I had a house loan, & a toddler, it felt right.”

Speaking about his big break in Scam 1992, he said, “I did some Hindi films and web series, but I got my big break when I got a call from Hansal Mehta’s team. I was shortlisted for Harshad Mehta’s role in SonyLIV’s Scam 1992! I jumped in feet first–from watching older news clippings of him to studying the stock market, I did it all. And then, the show released… But at the time, I didn’t realize it’d become this huge! It was so overwhelming. And when Shabana Azmi Ma’am told me it was the best performance she’d seen in 20 years, I was in tears. My wife was ecstatic! And when my parents saw me win an IIFA, they were so moved.”

Pratik also spoke of life after the show. "It’s been 5 months since Scam’s release & my life has taken a 180° turn! People see me as a ‘lead actor’ now. Zindagi ne jaise ek dum se raftar pakad li hai. But all of this happened because at 36, instead of getting comfortable, I decided to take a risk kyun ki… risk hai toh ishq hai!" echoing the famous tagline of the show.

(Source: Humans of Bombay)

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