In the recent past, several celebrities have written autobiographies. There are also many who have biographies written on them. The recent to join the bandwagon is actor Gulshan Grover. Grover, who has completed 30 years in Bollywood, has been one of the iconic villains of Hindi cinema. After the career-defining role of 'Kesariya Vilayati' in the 1989 blockbuster, Ram Lakhan, Grover became firmly known as the 'Bad Man' of Bollywood. In his autobiography, Grover tells his story - the films, the journey, the psychological and personal toll of sustaining the 'bad man' image, the competition among Bollywood's villains, the move to playing more rounded characters, and the challenge of doing international films without relocating to another country or opting out of mainstream Hindi cinema.
At the book launch event organized by Landmark stores in Bangalore recently, Gulshan Grover happily signed his book like an amicable gentleman, for each of his fans who attended the book launch. Not just this, he even clicked a picture with every person waiting in anticipation for a photograph. And I was there too. Happiness knew no bounds when the 'Bad Man' himself walked into the fanatic crowd and unveiled his book. In a question-answer session open for the public, I asked him, "What made you pen down your autobiography?" He answered amiably that he went through immense struggles in his life, life was not a bed of roses for him from his journey from a common man to 'the Bad Man of Bollywood', which he wanted the world to know.
Grover said that he had been a part of many stories across regions and languages but writing a book is a completely new experience for him. In the session, he was of the view that having his story told in a book is exciting yet unnerving. He further said that his popularity as a Bollywood 'baddie' never stopped his yearning to evolve as an actor and Grover opined that Indian films have lost their villains. He also pointed out that several actors who were popular as villains have now ventured into comedy and further added that since he was the first Bollywood actor to get into Hollywood, the transition cost him many significant roles in Hindi films venture into new avenues. He still regrets rejecting the offer of the role of the Police Inspector in the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire (2008) which ultimately went to Irrfan Khan.
In his autobiography, written by senior journalist Roshmila Bhattacharya, Grover provides a glimpse of his life, the several ups, and downs he had to face, his failures and the overall interesting journey that he has traversed. "In this autobiography, Grover tells his story-the films, the journey, the psychological and personal toll of sustaining the 'bad man' image, the competition among Bollywood's villains, the move to playing more rounded characters, and the challenge of doing international films without relocating to another country or opting out of mainstream Hindi cinema", wrote Mahesh Bhatt in the foreword of the autobiography.
Son of Bishambar Nath Grover and Ramrakhi Grover, Gulshan Grover was born in 1955 and raised in Delhi. After receiving his post-graduation in Commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce, he decided to pursue his passion and made a life-long commitment to the entertainment industry. He honed his acting skills in theatre, and after many stage productions with the well-known 'Little Theatre Group', he moved to Bombay to pursue a career in movies. Once there, he began his formal acting training at prestigious 'Actor's Studio', with batch mates like actor Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Mazhar Khan, etc. Gulshan Grover eventually became an acting teacher at the same acting school. In fact, some of today's leading Indian stars were once his students. He started his acting career in Hindi cinema in the year 1980 with the film Hum Paanch followed by Rocky in 1981. Subsequently, he acted in films like Avatar, Sohni Mahiwal, Doodh Ka Karz, Do Matwale, Saudagar, Vijaypath, Lajja and many more.
He acted in Hollywood films like Beeper (2002), Blind Ambition (2008), Desperate Endeavours (2011), Prisoners Of The Sun (2013), UNIndian (2015), etc. Meanwhile, in Bollywood, apart from Yes Boss (1997), Grover shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan in Duplicate (1998). Grover has an array of hit Bollywood films under his belt, but he credits actor Shah Rukh Khan for making him realize his dream to work in international films. He revealed that he signed his first Hollywood film in 1997 - The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo after the superstar insisted him.
Gulshan Grover is not only an actor, a producer, and an entrepreneur, but also an actor who never left Bollywood, but made inroads into Hollywood. He has successfully synergized various entertainment businesses between India and West. In over 400 films over a career span of 30 years, Grover has proven himself to be a versatile professional with a passion for his chosen craft. He has acted in many of India's most successful films, received numerous accolades and awards, and is a prominent figure in the Indian film community. His film 'I Am Kalam' (2010) earned him a nomination for National Awards of India 'Best Supporting Actor'. Gulshan Grover also won the Best Actor International at New York City Film Festival & Houston Film Festival, for his performance as the Indian spiritual and holy-man - Dada Bhagwan for the film Desperate Endeavors (2012). He has won many prestigious international awards including BBC Award, Giant's Award in Art and Cinema, etc.
With time, Gulshan Grover swayed with the trends of Bollywood and resorted to hideous make-ups and voice contortions to play a spate of 'baddie' roles. He also scored a professional achievement by becoming the first and the only Bollywood star to be tapped by a Washington-based company to appear in television commercials for its international long-distance dialing number. He has also featured in music videos like 'Sohni Lagdi' by Sajjad Ali, 'Sawan Mein Lag Gayi' by Mika Singh and 'Desi Kalakaar' by Yo Yo Honey Singh.
Bollywood films are more about 'good versus evil'. Villains play an important role in ensuring that the hero's goodness shines through. Gulshan Grover has been the paragon of the antagonist in Hindi cinema. He is one of those method actors who has taken actions to another level. He is known to have created his own dialogues and style to create a newness in his characters every time and to make his performances realistic. Veteran yesteryear actor Pran Saab is Grover's inspiration. Evidently, Gulshan Grover has proven himself to be a versatile professional with a passion for his chosen craft. He is aptly the most loved 'bad man' of Bollywood.