Gautam Sharma of Hayward, Calif., is an aspiring Bollywood debut. (Som Sharma/Digital iVision)
A young actor from Hayward, Calif., made his debut in a Bollywood film “Warrior Savitri.” The film was banned in many parts of India for portraying Goddess Savitri as a modern woman. Siliconeer talks to Gautam Sharma about his humble beginning.
Gautam Sharma is a local of Hayward, Calif. and is currently studying dentistry. Influenced strongly by Bollywood since early childhood, he is now part of the bandwagon himself. Here’s a brief excerpt of his experience as a debut actor.
Siliconeer: A little about your background, why and how you got into movies?
Gautam: My background comes from theater and drama. I first started out in High School Drama and fell in love with it, then went to college and carried theater on. My family has always been involved with both Hollywood and Bollywood and because of that, I have always been surrounded by actors, actresses, singers, and directors, and I guess some of that lifestyle wore off on me.
Siliconeer: How did you prepare yourself?
Gautam: No preparation. It sounds weird but that’s how it is. I come from a theater/drama, commercials and modeling background and movies are a whole different ball game. Where in theater there is just action and no cuts, in films there is “action” and a lot of “cuts.” Each scene is shot so many different ways that it is mind boggling. Plus, my director knew of my talents and skills and wanted to bring something new out of me by giving me my script late and telling me “I know you will be too well prepared.” But that first moment will be unforgettable – being on camera and at the end of the shot getting to see the preview of it.
Siliconeer: What were the biggest challenges you faced, how did you deal with them?
Gautam: Everything happened at a very fast pace. I also shot for the film as “first assistant director” and “aerial cinematographer” so those challenges were different also. For example, filming in San Francisco with a drone was a bit challenging with the wind and changing light conditions. As far as acting goes, some of the challenges were if a different location became available first then we would have to adapt and go for it. So, the key for me was to adapt to every situation and be a team player.
Siliconeer: “Warrior Savitri,” tell us a little about the movie, and your role in it. What was it like to be in front of the camera, your comfort factor and how was your experience?
Gautam: I play the role of “Gaurav” who is Satya’s (lead) best friend. He is a young guy who is a lawyer in Las Vegas.
My comfort factor in front of a camera was easy going. Since an early age I have always been in front and behind the camera. My father told me that if you really want to be in front of the camera then you first have to learn everything that happens behind the camera. With my commercial background and having been in front of cinema cameras, it was quite comfortable for me. But getting on a set and seeing yourself on the preview screen afterwards is still an insane feeling.
Siliconeer: Where do you see yourself five years from today?
Gautam: Where I see myself in five years? Well, currently I am pursuing a career in Dentistry and have wrapped up my undergraduate degree in Psychology at San Francisco State University. You must have a career before really diving into this profession as it’s not a very stable one. The field of acting is a passion and dream which I am blessed to be living. My director, is also my mentor, and he himself is also a dentist. He told me before my other projects that I am signed for with him, that I must pursue my academics to the fullest, to which I told him, I will. So, in five years, I would like to see myself bringing smiles to peoples’ faces, the medium could be either or both, who knows!
Siliconeer: Acting in movies is not for everyone, your take on this?
Gautam: Movies are definitely not for everyone. It’s easier said than done. It’s easy for people to come out and critique someone of their performance, or the film, but then they don’t understand the hard work required, conditions, that sometimes we as performers have to work in, and not everyone can stand in front of others and speak.
Warrior Savitri, starring Om Puri, Gulshan Grover, Rajat Barmecha, and Niharica Raizada (as Savitri), is a Param Gill-directed movie that made a low-key release in India, in 2016. For those who would like to view it, the movie is available on Netflix.