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“People ‘hated’ my character”

As Simmba continues to roar at the box office actor Saurabh Gokhale talks to Bhakti Mehta about his experience with the film, his role, and blockbuster director Rohit Shetty

On The Brief

I got a call from a casting agency, which told me that Rohit (Shetty) sir was doing a new film called Simmba and they wanted to cast me in a negative role. They told me the movie was based on a South Indian film and if I was interested, they would take the conversation forward. I told them I would love to do it because one gets to explore many shades in a negative role.

On The Challenges

I wanted people to hate my character. Rohit sir used to joke that after the film releases, I would be thrashed by people on the streets. I do not get nervous when I am performing before senior actors. I know what I am supposed to do. That way, I am comfortable. Hence, I was able to pull off my role very confidently. Rohit sir supported me to a great extent.

On The Director

When a superstar wears a T-shirt that says ‘Rohit Shetty Ka Hero’, imagine the kind of director he must be. I told him I too would make a similar T-shirt but mine would read, ‘Rohit Shetty Ka Villain’. It is amazing to work with him, and not just him but his entire team. They are very supportive, respectful of you and your talent. It is such a blessing that I got to do my first Hindi film with Rohit sir.

I was amazed that Rohit sir knew about me and my capabilities, which is why I was given a free hand by him. He never dictated anything to me. Not often does your director appreciate you on the set in front of other people, after doing a few scenes. That happened to me right after the first shot. It makes you even more determined to give your best!

On The Co-Stars

When I first reached the sets of Simmba in Hyderabad, I went to the gym there, Ranveer, Sonu Sood and Rohit sir were all working out. I did not want to intrude, so I did my workout and left.

The next day, on the set, after my first shot of the jail sequence, Ranveer came up to me and asked me why I hadn’t introduced myself in the gym. He then introduced himself and it was so amazing to see a superstar like him be so warm. He passes on his energy to you. It is the same with Sonu sir, he was also so nice when we were shooting together. Even Ashutosh Rana sir, after a scene that I had done, came up to me and gave me some inputs. He suggested I try something differently and I was amazed because he is such a renowned actor.

Future Projects

I am working on two Marathi films, one for which I am still shooting and the other will release on February 1, which is Sarva Line Vyasta Ahet. I have done another film called 14th Feb, which will release next month. There is yet another film that I have completed but I don’t know its release date. Apart from all this, I will also be doing my second Hindi film soon.

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