MUMBAI: Actor Gulshan Devaiah says after a decade in the industry he has finally started to pitch himself for projects he is interested in.
Devaiah has been a part of several acclaimed films, starting from his 2011 breakthrough "Shaitan", "Hunterrr" (2015) and Vasan Bala's 2018 action-comedy "Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota".
The actor said even though it's a "bit too late", he has began to put his feet in important doors to break casting stereotype and land roles that will, otherwise, not come to him.
Devaiah said he started doing this after realising that meritocracy can't exist in art as it's difficult to measure a person's talent with another.
"You can't do that with a performance. What is it then? It's all about perception. We are in the business of perception which is why actors like to control their perception through PR, Instagram, wearing expensive rental clothes, by shaking the right hands.
"Many of them do it subconsciously because we know meritocracy can't exist in art.
I am conscious about that too, so I can't keep whining that I'm not getting opportunities.
Because you're in the place of perception, if you don't hustle then your career won't go forward," the actor told PTI.
Though Devaiah has garnered considerable acclaim for his performances, the actor said he could've done better.
"If I had one film that was a smashing box office success, then I would have been empowered. It puts you in the spotlight. But when that's not the case, you have to try and look for opportunities."
The pitfalls of merely wishing to do better but not actively pursuing those opportunities has resulted in people from the industry often looking at him and wondering 'Damn! Why didn't we think of you', the actor said.
Devaiah's attempt is to now gently remind people of his talent at every given opportunity.
"If I feel there are certain directors or projects that I find interesting because I've heard about them, I'm going to find out if there's something in there for me.
"They can say no and so far it has only been no! I've come really close many times but nothing, zero so far. But I'm happy that I can hustle."
The actor is gearing up for his latest crime thriller "Footfairy", set to release on October 24 on &Pictures.
Billed as a cat and mouse chase between a CBI officer, played by Devaiah, and a mysterious serial killer, the film is written and directed by Kanishk Varma.
Devaiah gravitated towards the film as it offered him a chance to break free from the "villain" characters he felt he was getting trapped into.
"I was getting bored with the negative characters. A lot of the offers were also repetitive, I'd be offered a villain or a grey character. I thought this would be nice and break the mould. Negative characters for me are now retired indefinitely."
The actor said it's pointless to "endlessly complain" about getting only certain kinds of roles without even trying to break the chain by saying no.
"I don't want to do similar roles even if I'm told that people love me in negative roles. I tell them I'll give you an opportunity to love me in other roles too.
You have to take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming the system. I am happy people want to work with me, it's unfortunate that they're offering me villain roles. It's not their fault," he added.
"Footfairy" also stars Kunaal Roy Kapur and Sagrika Ghatge.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)