Crossing her legs gracefully, checking her nail paint, playing with her hair as she talks to the crowd around, Mrs. Pammi Pyarelal deserves a second glance as he oozes style and oomph. But wait a minute, it is actually Gaurav Gera who is out to cast a spell on the men around with his new show Mrs. Pammi Pyarelal on Colors.
Talking about the show and how it is easy for him to be a girl and boy at the same time Gaurav Gera says, "It is very easy for me to switch over between being a boy and girl very easily. Once I am in my get-up I do complete justice to the character and when I am out of it I forget and leave everything behind."
What is new for Gaurav is the reaslisation of how much of hard work goes into playing a female character. His respect for women has increased manifold as he realizes what all they have to go through. "I never knew that our female main leads decide what kind of hairstyle they want and how do they want to look so I have now realised that there job is not just to act but also decide on their looks. They also have to always look good whether she is wearing heavy make-up or wearing heavy jewellery, or back breaking heel! They have to go through all this and smile even if it is a 12 hour shoot. I have started respecting women more after going through all this and admire women for the way they deal with it. I feel women are much stronger than men!"
Gaurav says he takes two hours of patient work now notices all things like someone's bindi, lipstick or nail polish which didn't happen earlier. So did he too do the rounds of the parlor as part of preparing for the role? "No, a visit to the parlor is out of question in this busy schedule! And everyone had scared me about waxing so I used a hair removing cream for my arms and legs but I soon got bored and left it incomplete. When I reached the set for my shoot it was a funny sight with someone shaving my arms, someone else my legs. Now I have a support system with 2 make-up men, 2 costume guys following me in my entourage. So the real stars are the girls who get so much attention otherwise we guys just get our make-up done and sit ready for the shot!"
His agile and slim body too helps Gaurav, "In a week, for five days I shoot for Pammi and two days over the weekend I go to Delhi to perform for my musical play Jhumroo. It has lots of physical activity where I sing songs, dance, do stunts so I can keep my weight in check with that."
However, never did all this bother Gaurav for a minute, not even before taking it up, "I think the channel people and the makers always knew that I would do this role as they had the confidence in me. When Tota weds Maina got over, Prashant Bhatt called me and told me not to sign on anything new because something is coming up. Intially, I was little in two minds whether to do it or not because it was not a film but a daily soap on Television which is a big task. Playing the character was no problem as I like to try and experiment doing different characters. If I had to act as a normal pati or devar, I will get bored so I don't do daily soaps. After doing Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi I took 10 years to come back to Television and do Tota weds Maina because I did not want to do saas-bahu sagas and everything happening on TV was just the same and I would have got bored doing it! With due respect to everyone doing it since these actors are doing it because the viewership is good, audience likes it and jitni bhi films karlo, daily soap ki popularity hi alag hai. So, I thought it is time for me too to do some hard work but in a different role, so here I am."
Gaurav has always liked to do things convincingly. He was loved and was popular as Nandu and now he feels he will get the same love as his character Pammi too. "I love to play the character to the T. When I did the character of Nandu then people thought that he is such a stupid boy, nerd hai, and maybe really he is illiterate but the fact is I was never that. I have studied at a good college and used to go to discos too but I played Nandu very convincingly for everyone to think that. Now that I am playing this character of Pammi then I plan to play the role of a girl very convincingly. I also watched the Marathi film Ashi hi banva banvi and in particular Sachin's character as reference."
"I have no fears of getting typecast and doing comedy is what I love to do, that is my choice as it is a slice of life. In real life, I don't think anyone must be plotting and planning the way they show in saas-bahu sagas because my family in real life is superb so I cannot relate to those kind of stories. All my relatives are very happy together so how can I do that? Instead I am comfortable doing this kind of show which has comedy, masti and I like to enjoy."
Gaurav is at the moment happy with the response, "Everyone is saying Woww! My make-up, clothes are perfect and there is lots of padding on me to set the shape, so the look is perfect. The voice is mine only but I have decided to speak in my normal tone and not like that of a girl since if a man talks in a girlish voice it sounds irritating after some time. So I will let my attitude do the talking."
And what was his family's reaction? "My family is used to seeing me in so many get-ups that it hardly makes any difference to them as to what I do. My parents understand that this is what my profession is but I did have it in my mind as to what will the relatives say about all this and I couldn't believe it when even their response was positive. However, my sister and cousin sister get angry as my cousin sister feels that I look like her in this get-up and then people start comparing her to me so she complains."
Apart from this Gaurav is also keen on doing a negative character, "My priority is to play a negative character. I want to play a pyaara sa ladka who is bad for no reason at all. He doesn't kill to take revenge but he does it just like that and that is a role I want to do. I am a respected actor and I am not a star but I prefer being a respected actor rather a star!"
Seema Khot Mattoo