Gautam Rode - Luck by Chance

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“One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.” - Jean de la Fontaine

Gautam Rode is a charming guy. Brown-eyed and muscular, with perfect brown hair, thick eyebrows, he is the perfect combination of unforced masculinity, boyish openness and curiosity. Gautam sauntered into the industry by chance, “It was all accidental” he admits but now in his quiet determined way he is making his presence felt in Tinsel town. He may have left his mark in pretty much all the facets of the industry but Gautam is not easy to pigeonhole! Tinsel Gupshup finds out about this gorgeous actor’s accidental journey… 

How it started….

Modeling happened by chance. After college, I was supposed to join my father’s business but that did not quite work out. I joined Bhagat Singh College but I used to take classes at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce because of my friends from school were at DCAC and it was closer to my place…so it was just more convenient. At the time they were making a fashion team at DCAC and the president and cultural secretary came up to me and asked me to join the team. I declined because I was not from that college and I was just not interested. They were quite persistent and told me that I would not have to do much. Just walk the ramp and again I was not convinced and told them that I was not tall enough (I am 5’9) and I was just not keen to get into all this. Somehow they managed to persuade me and that is how I walked the ramp for the first time. We took part in a contest at BITS, Pilani, it was a festival and I won “Best Male Model”. So that is how it all started off…from that moment. After that, we did a lot of inter-collegiate shows and we won a lot of them too.



Close up encounters…

Well, till then it was all quite amateurish. One fine day, we (some friends and I) decided to head off to Shimla for a holiday. I had a friend who was a photographer and owned a studio and we decided to meet at his studio and take off from there to catch our bus. Close Up toothpaste was holding auditions for their next ad campaign at my friend’s studio and when we got there the lady from Hindustan Lever who was holding the audition approached me and asked me to give it a try! I told her that I have never acted and that I am not a professional model…I just model for my university. Again, she was quite persistent and she told me that I would not have to do much, just say a few lines in Hindi and Tamil. I still remember the Tamil lines; it went like “Ni Rachna maari coffee saapda poreliya?” So, I gave the audition and then we went off to Shimla.


All this happened a long time back and we did not have mobile phones etc. So, I called home from Shimla and my parents told me that a lady from Chennai had been calling home saying that I had given an audition and trying to get in touch with me frantically. To be honest the audition had completely slipped my mind and my parents told me that this lady wanted me to go to Chennai immediately. So, that is how I landed the Close Up campaign and it did really well at that time. It was a huge deal for me because I did the whole campaign for Close Up and I was on each Close Up toothpaste! All this happened during my second year of college. Slowly I started doing commercials in Delhi but I used to get a lot of calls from Mumbai but I could not move because I knew that if I left then I would not have completed my graduation.


The plan of course was to join my dad’s business but then the business was not doing too well so my dad sold off his ticket (at the time he was a Stock broker at Delhi Stock Exchange) and retired. I decided to move to Mumbai for 6 months, chillax, take it easy, model and then come back and join dad’s business but once he sold his ticket, I figured it made sense to stay in Mumbai and really start modeling.



The acting bug…

Someone asked me, “Why don’t you act?” Once again, I found myself explaining that I was just a model and I did not know how to act! I was told that if my Hindi was good then all I would have to do is deliver my dialogues in Hindi…as simple as that! I started doing daily shows, one hour stories like “Rishtay”, “Thriller at 10” that used to come on Zee TV…that is how acting started.


My first film happened in 2002-2003. Suneil Shetty signed me up for his production house – Popcorn. The film was called “Annarth” and it did not do too well. I started doing music videos, in fact I did all the videos for Abhijeet Bhattacharya's album – “Tere Bina”…I was still doing a lot of commercials too. In 2006, I was doing daily shows “Baa Bahu aur Baby”, “Lucky”, “Paraaya Dhan”, a series for Sony. In 2011, I got to host India’s got talent Season 3 and then of course I have done a cameo in a show called “Parichay” on Colors.


I have done theatre as well. I did a show directed by Ila Arun and she was acting in it too. The show did very well and we performed in Delhi. So basically, I think that covers every aspect of the industry!



Covering each facet…

Ummmm…I don’t think I have a preference as such. Ads provide great visibility and the money is good too. Television provides security, anchoring is fun and theatre is satisfying. Films…if you click then it means fame and money. There used to be a huge market for music videos back in 2004-5 but not anymore. So, that kind of sums up each and every aspect.


My forte…

I feel that comedy is my forte and I enjoy action as well. I did a show called “Lucky” for Star Plus and I really enjoyed that role because it was comedy. Basically you need to essay each role with conviction but I feel that comedy comes to me easily…so I enjoy it more. My favorite commercial was the Coca Cola commercial with Aamir Khan…he played a Nepali tour guide…that was fun to shoot.




I don’t think I have found any particular character challenging…I have found some scenes challenging. My cameo in “Parichay” was both fun and challenging because it bordered on the negative side and I have not done something like that before. It was different because there was a mix of emotions, the character is not good or bad…Grey! I like that, when I get to portray a range of emotions, a little bit of everything. That variety makes it fun yet challenging. I believe that the character has to be written well. This is especially true for negative characters on television because if it is not written well then it starts becoming repetitive. You can see it on many shows…the same plots, stories over and over again…just portraying the same emotion over and over again. So how the character is written plays a key role, in how it will unfold and play out in the story.


On hosting shows…

Whatever we say on stage, to the judges and contestants is impromptu, there is no script involved. However the links we provide – when we talk about a contestant’s background, that is from a teleprompter. Apart from that, everything in the scene – our conversations with the contestants, their families, all that is impromptu. Presence of mind is extremely important when you play an anchor. For example, when a child is performing on stage, the mother tends to get very emotional and may start crying. So at that particular moment, you need to be very sensitive, empathetic, talk to her, comfort her but at the same time say your material and ensure that the scene moves forward. So, you have to take care of every single aspect at that point.


Hosting an award show is not an easy feat. Not only are you hosting but you are in the presence of all the industry people…so all these big actors are sitting in front of you and you have to interact with them and make sure you do a good job, so there is a lot of pressure. I feel that the more you do it, the more comfortable you become but apart from experience, rehearsals are very very important. When I hosted the Indian Television Academy Awards 2011, I rehearsed a lot and then I had to be fine with the teleprompter because it should not look like I am reading…it should look natural. There is a lot of improvisations involved, especially with jokes and gags so again it should not look rehearsed and that is where being an actor comes in handy. You need to perform the jokes…not just say them and expect people to laugh! So as a host you need to rehearse, improvise and bring in your own style to the thing. Even though these functions are not live when they come on TV, they are live when we are hosting them so, the biggest challenge is not making a fool of yourself in front of the fraternity!



Best compliment…

Hmmmm…let me think…ok, in 2009 I did a movie called “Agyaat” for Ram Gopal Verma. He complimented me right after the first day of shooting. We were shooting in Sri lanka, so after the shoot we were walking down the corridor and he just turned around to me and asked, “Where were you man?” I did not quite get it so I said, “I did not understand you sir…” and he just said, “Where were you all these years? You are good, very good!” Now, Ramu is a man of few words and he will say random things at random times so he will just come up with a compliment or simply state that you are not doing a good job, but he means what he says. So, getting a compliment from him right after the first day of shoot gave me a great deal of confidence…means a lot when the director believes in you. So, that is one compliment I remember. Of course, I get random compliments but I just take them in from one ear and take it out the other because I don’t want them going to my head!


Worst criticism…

There are so many criticisms but I suppose if my mom or my sister say something about my work then I take it very seriously. I remember this one time, don’t know what it was about but my mom and sister told me that they had not liked my work, it lacked conviction. The next day, I went back to look at the scene and I realized that in all honesty my work was not up to par…I think I had taken it easy and it was definitely not my best work.



I believe…

I believe that you are your own best judge and if you are a sensible person then you are a sensible actor. After so many years of experience, you will be able to judge if you have done a good job or not. Sometimes, I know I have done a crappy job but because I have worked hard, rehearsed and played it with conviction people will still say that it is passable. I think this applies with every actor, you may be the biggest actor but if you don’t play it with conviction you will be bad at it! I also feel that as you become more famous the responsibility increases. So the bigger you become and the more successful you become…the responsibility becomes bigger. You can only sustain on your fame and face value for a while but if you start taking it easy – that power and name will not last for long. People will remember you because you may have reached a certain mark but after a certain point the same people will start forgetting you….


Fitness freak…

I have to take out time for fitness…it’s not about when I get time…I just have to take the time out! Television is very hectic, you shoot for 12-13 hours, travel in Mumbai takes 2-3 hours, and you sleep for 6-7 hours…so basically you hardly have time for yourself but you have to take time out for fitness. It is a basic funda that if you keep fit, you will go a long distance. You have to make your body, keep it a bit lean so that way you can essay any character, fit into any role. I don’t have a fitness instructor, never had one because I have been working out for a very long time now so I know what works for me. I was the only kid in school who had a physique!



Current projects…

Right now I am working on some commercials again. I did “Vaseline for men”, that is on air right now. There is a big show for a well know channel in the works but since its in the contract stage, I won’t say much about it. It will be a very big television show and I’ll be starting the shoot soon.



I watch a lot of movies, gym, meet up with friends. I am trying to cultivate the habit of reading again…so try and take time out for some reading every day!



With his pronounced and vibrant features, Gautam might as well have been sculpted in a studio! The perfect combination of soul and action, this accessible star has an easy talent that is hard to miss. Tinsel Gupshup wishes Gautam all the best for his future endeavors…with a face like that, we can only hope to see all the more of him on our screens!


Photo credit: Gautam Rode


Interview and article: Anjalika Gupta

© Tinsel Gupshup 


May 16, 2013

Feb 09, 2013
Thanks TG! What an awesome interview!

Ananya Aan
Feb 09, 2013
Thanks to TG!!! As he is new to help me to know about him :- ) Thanks a TON for Barun's interview also :) ♥

Manal Ali
Feb 08, 2013
tinsel Gupshup all i say ! thank Q for introducing me to this man ! :) excited for him now <3

Aparna T. Spinthakis
Oct 22, 2012
the coke ad was indeed really nice. its just gr8 reading n finding the journey of their life .Tinsel u r too good in bringing out the best .

Sep 23, 2012
sir you r great actor i accepted come back of you in teri meri love stories

Jun 27, 2012
Wow GR... You are the best.... A perfect model, A superb actor, A fab personality, Muscular with gorgeousness :) Love you <3

abhilash panwar
Jun 27, 2012
its awsm to read about my dear actor/friend/sir Gautam......wishing u a very best of luck

Jun 27, 2012
Hiiii Sir I m Rohit i I think You know me better.... Awesome Interview !!!!!!!

Jun 23, 2012
Very nice interview !!!

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