Home Entertainment Gaurav Chopraa recalls getting Hollywood break in Blood Diamond 'without any test...

Gaurav Chopraa recalls getting Hollywood break in Blood Diamond ‘without any test or audition’

He was the charming guy playing the grey role in a TV show in early 2000s and much before switching to Bollywood, Gaurav Chopraa worked in one of the biggest Hollywood films of the time. He got the part of a French journalist in Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond without even giving a test or audition, Gaurav has said in an interview with Hindustan Times. The Hollywood film featured Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role and he was one of the biggest stars in the 2000s. (Also read: Gaurav Chopraa reveals why he was hesitant of taking up ‘small role’ of Col Rawat)

Gaurav Chopraa and Leonardo DiCaprio in a still from 2006 Hollywood film Blood Diamond.

The call that felt like a prank

Gaurav said he was in Africa playing the lead in a Broadway musical when the casting team for Blood Diamond spotted him. He recalled that just when AR Rahman and Farah Khan collaborated for Bombay Dreams, several other theatrical productions sprang up on similar lines and he got the offer for one of those. “When I decided to go for it, I was told ‘pagal ho (are you mad)? you just became a star here and you want to go to South Africa for a theatre production? You have just started commanding a price, you are stupid’. But I did not want to leave the opportunity so I went and the show went very well.”

“Some casting guys based in Africa saw the show and showed it to director Edward Zwick. Then, I came back to India and I got a call and somebody told me ‘Ed would like to speak to you’. I was ‘Who is Ed?’ How can you expect Ed to be Edward Zwick – the man who has made The Last Samurai – to be that Ed? I was like ‘who is playing a prank here?’ So then, he came on the other side and said ‘man you have some energy. I saw how you sing, dance, and act. I also saw some of your interviews and I just want you to be part of my film. I was llike ‘this guy sounds like he is important, he must be someone’. How is anybody supposed to imagine they’d get a call from Edward Zwick? I spoke to others, did my Googling and started jumping when I realised what it was.” Only then, did he agree for the part and went ahead for the 15-day shoot.

When Gaurav suggested changes and Leonardo agreed

He added, “You had to understand Blood Diamond happened at a time when nobody…Irrfan saab, Priyanka Chopra… nobody has moved to Hollywood. To go there and shoot with the primary cast was huge. I must add Leonardo Di Caprio was the biggest star on the planet, at the peak of his game. And here was this guy from India with long hair and heavy stubble, sitting there and discussing ‘I think we should do this’. And Ed was also like ‘yes, let us try this’. So Leo came and was so annoyed that he has been working with Ed and along comes this tall, lanky guy and he has changed the way this thing has to be shot. But that is how nice they are. They listen to you and if it makes sense, it makes sense. That changed my understanding of my self-belief. I started taking myself seriously.”

Reports in 2010 suggested that Gaurav was disappointed that his role was cut short in Blood Diamond. The actor said that he was not. “No, not at all. I used to say that a lot of it was cut and people message me with such little screen time, had all of it been there, it would have been ‘wow’.” Gaurav went on to explain that Blood Diamond was the kind of film that had a ‘three-camera set-up on sets all the time and hardly any of that made it’ to the final cut. “There was no disappointment, just a wish of a young actor that if more of his stuff had come, things could have been different.”

Hollywood to Nach Baliye

Soon after he worked on his Hollywood debut, Gaurav did not move to the US, even after Edward suggested him to do so. Instead, he took up a dance reality TV show in India. Nach Baliye.

Talking about the decision to stay back in India and take up Nach Baliye, Gaurav said, “The fact that they did not even test me (was encouraging). Ed thought I’d be flying back to LA. With my long hair, he believed I could pass on as many nationalities. I came back and did Nach Baliye. I never had any inferiority complex about what I get. I do not believe an artist can do small or big work, it is always, and only good or bad work. Everybody asked me ‘why aren’t you going’ but why should I? I should really think of this (Indian projects) as inconsequential to be doing that. To leave all of what I already have then go and try there? Why? Is it that it is called Nach Baliye, so it is not cool enough, is it?”

He then talked about the different shows he has featured in and insisted he took up the most unconventional projects. About his show Dil Chahta Hai, Gaurav added, “I was excited. I was doing an all boys’ show on TV. They do not even make those. You do Tulsi, and Kahaani. No matter how naive that sounds, it is exciting for me. So, why would I leave this and run after something that ‘maybe’ greener pastures?”

Is Gaurav experimenting too much?

Gaurav said that many people around him believe he has started experimenting too much in his roles over past few years. “They believe ‘I should stick to doing projects where I am carrying it all on my shoulders. For me, it was always imperative that people saw me in different flavours. My father used to say this, I did not understand it then. He used to say ‘you are successful if you can say no, if have the choice to say no then you are successful’. I feel till the time I can make these creative choices, I am successful.”

“However, of late, I did start to worry if I was experimenting too much and if that would be misconstrued as he ‘trying to switch mediums and therefore taking smaller roles’. The compliments come with surprise, almost like ‘I did not expect you to do this well…he is a TV guy, he has been doing this for so many years’. And, I was not the TV guy even when I was the TV guy.”

Dealing with negativity around him

Asked how he deals with people doubting him and his instincts, Gaurav said, “The TV show I am most known for Uttaran, I was called for two episodes and I ended up shooting for four and a half years. Logically speaking, I should not have gone for it, but I did. I did because Rupali Guhar (one of the producers of the show) called me and said there is this is Rhett Butler from Gone with Wind…and I said ‘I am doing it’. The audience has no idea there is a Gone With the Wind in Uttaran and Tapasya is Scarlet O’Hara, but that is where the inspiration lies.”

Starting out in showbiz

Recalling the time he went around auditioning for roles he’d eventually not get at all, Gaurav said he did stand in queues for auditions and was often stretched for money. “I had to go to three ad auditons and I was late. I lived in Goregaon and the auditons were at Famous Studios and a cab would be too expensive so when I reached the railways station, I realised my pass had expired. I remember thinking should if I should try going without ticket as I had to choose between the pass and the food on my way back. I thought ‘I look like a good guy and I can get off the train, but eventually opted otherwise. I got a pass, skiped food and instead bought small chocolate convincing myself of the ’good energy’ that brought.” Gaurav did not get any of those ads.

He also said other aspiring actors loved his work as he would often improvise during auditions but those in charge did not quite understand. He used carry visiting cards he’d give them, and behave as if he was up for a business collaboration. “ I’d pretend I need them as much as they need me. They used to look at me like ‘who is he, where did he come from and why does he talk like that?’ But that confidence was always there.”


Asked about the changes fatherhood brought for him, Gaurav said he now strives to be the best version of himself. “I do not think there are films and poems written for it but fatherhood is as much a phenomenon as motherhood. The society should be speaking more about it. I think you become a better version of yourself (after fatherhood).”

Asked about any career choices that changed post-fatherhood, the actor added, “Not consciously, but my ethical radar and my judgments have certainly got affected.”


रुपाली गांगुली के रिश्तेदार की कहानी है ‘अनुपमा’, बोलीं- मैं भी बचपन में पाखी की ही तरह…

ऐप पर पढ़ें'अनुपमा' टीवी का सबसे पॉपुलर शो है। यह शो हर हफ्ते टीआरपी की लिस्ट में टॉप 5 में अपनी जगह बनाता है।...

CID stars Shivaji Satam, Daya, Anup Soni reunite on sets, fans demand new episode

Actor Shivaji Satam, who essayed the iconic character of ACP Pradyuman in the famous crime show CID, reunited with Dayanand Shetty...

साउथ की इस फिल्म का रीमेक है शाहरुख खान की ‘डंकी’! सोशल मीडिया पर जमकर हो रही ट्रोलिंग

ऐप पर पढ़ेंतकरीबन चार सालों तक बड़े पर्दे से दूर रहने के बाद शाहरुख खान ने वापसी की तो बैक टू बैक दो ब्लॉकबस्टर...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Cauvery Water Dispute: Congress’ DK Shivakumar Misleading People, Says Basavaraj Bommai

<!-- -->Former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai said that Cauvery water should be saved for Bangalore.Bengaluru: Former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai accused Deputy Chief Minister...

रुपाली गांगुली के रिश्तेदार की कहानी है ‘अनुपमा’, बोलीं- मैं भी बचपन में पाखी की ही तरह…

ऐप पर पढ़ें'अनुपमा' टीवी का सबसे पॉपुलर शो है। यह शो हर हफ्ते टीआरपी की लिस्ट में टॉप 5 में अपनी जगह बनाता है।...

CID stars Shivaji Satam, Daya, Anup Soni reunite on sets, fans demand new episode

Actor Shivaji Satam, who essayed the iconic character of ACP Pradyuman in the famous crime show CID, reunited with Dayanand Shetty...

Asian Games: Amlan Borgohain Reaches Semi-final In 200m; Jyothi Yarraji Fails To Qualify | Athletics News

The top three players in each heat and the next four fastest players make it to the semis.© X (Twitter)Indian athlete Jyothi Yarraji failed...

Recent Comments