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Actor Adarsh Gourav’s journey—from Jamshedpur to becoming a global actor

With his nuanced performance that stood out in The White Tiger, and more recently, Guns and Gulaabs, actor Adarsh Gourav proves his worth as a sought-after actor whose talent is worth watching out for.

Actor Adarsh Gourav’s journey—from Jamshedpur to becoming a global actor

Friday September 08, 2023,

4 min Read

Becoming an actor that can go beyond stereotypes takes preparation, talent, and commitment. And in the India film and television industry, which has been driven by good looks more than talent for a long time now, actor Adarsh Gourav is a breakout success. His story is a proof of an outsider making it big in the industry on sheer merit, patience, and his ability to stand out among others.

Gourav, who recently stood out in Netflix series Guns and Gulaabs, shot to fame with his performance in the movie The White Tiger (2021). He was also recognised for his work in an episode in Extrapolations (2023) on Apple TV + series, which is on climate change, and directed by Richie Mehta of Delhi Crime fame. The episode was among the most appreciated in this starry anthology.  

“They (the makers) made a direct offer as they had watched The White Tiger, and cast me without an audition! They felt that I fit the part as the character had similar experiences (as Balram Halwai in The White Tiger),” Gourav tells YS Life

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Adarsh Gourav as Balram Halwai in The White Tiger

For Balram, a layered and complex performance, Gourav was nominated for a BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award.

Bringing him global exposure, The White Tiger changed the 29-year-old actor’s life. “It was everything I ever dreamt of. The film got nominated for an Oscar … Getting to be in the same chatroom as (actors) Tahar Rahim, Mads Mikkelsen, and Riz Ahmed was everything I could have ever asked for,” he adds. 

At present, Gourav is working with top filmmakers and writers in India, while also managing quality international offers. This success has not come without patience and consistent hard work.  

Born in Jharkhand, Gourav has trained in drama and acting while completing his college in Mumbai. He also sang for heavy metal bands in school and college, while working on playback singing for films. Having featured in multiple advertisements, he got his film break as early as 2010 in Karan Johar’s My Name is Khan.

Adarsh Gourav

Adarsh Gourav got his film break in Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan (2010) where he played the younger version of Shah Rukh Khan's character Rizvan

Finding a role that does justice to his talent has taken auditioning, featuring in commercials and constant improvisation. Gourav reveals that he takes two months to prepare for any role. 

“Developing a character is trial and error for me. After having read a script, I write a backstory for my character, which I share with the director. I begin exploring what the person would be like in his private life.”

Gourav’s approach pays off as each character that he has delivered so far, stands out.  In Hostel Daze (2019), he brings an element of naivete to the character of an engineering student. He has also featured in films like Mom (2017) along with Sri Devi. However, deserving work had not come his way until he delivered a remarkable performance in The White Tiger

That he likes to add nuances to build a well-rounded character is evident from his performance in Guns and Gulaabs as well. In this series, his character, Jugnu, feels like an authentic gangster kid, but leaves subtle hints of his final reveal throughout the show. “Good writing like Raj and DK and Suman Kumar, gives you the history and background of a character. If you read between the lines, you get lots of ideas on how to play it … We work for public validation, and with Guns and Gulaabs, as that has happened, I feel very gratified.”

Gourav held his own as a performer among experienced actors like Gulshan Devaiah, Rajkummar Rao, and Dulquer Salmaan in this series. Calling it rewarding to get to work with such directing and acting talent, he is looking forward to starting work on Alien, an OTT series by creator Ridley Scott. “It’s a sci-fi project, so I get to work on cool sets and locations!” an excited Gourav says.

As the actor’s popularity grows and his performances make sustained impact, Gourav has coveted parts in non-typical entertaining projects as well. Besides Alien, he will feature in films like Superman of Malegoan by filmmaker Reema Kagti, and Kho Gaye Hum Kahaan featuring Sidhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Pandey.

Gourav’s global success, a direct outcome of hard work, has given him wings to fly with. “The success (of The White Tiger) gave me confidence to pull off characters that would feel very far away on paper. But I can back myself as an actor to do it.” 

Edited by Megha Reddy