Ajay Gehi, who acted in The Good Road, on the Oscar nomination and his preparation for the role
Model-turned actor Ajay Gehi is getting sudden attention for his role in The Good Road. As David, an urban middle-class family man in the film, Ajay believes he has made a mark, as the response has been positive.
He made his film debut with Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool and since then has handled a couple of meaningful roles—in Mani Ratnam’s Raavan and Ram Gopal Varma’s Not a Love Story.
Ajay has done over 200 ad films and has featured in the popular TV show Millee. The Good Road, directed by Gyan Correa, is the first Gujarati film to be selected as an entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. It also won the award for Best Gujarati film at the 60th National Film Awards.
Excerpts from an e-mail interview with Ajay Gehi.
With the Oscar nomination, the spotlight is on The Good Road. Did you expect this while working on the film?
While working on the film, the best I could hope for was the film to release since it was in a regional language. I was pleasantly surprised when it won the national award, but being nominated for the Oscars is something I didn’t imagine.
There is a lot of debate on The Good Road being the apt nomination, as The Lunchbox was the expected choice. Your thoughts on this.
As for the selection of this film over another I feel we have a very competent jury and I trust in their choice.
Your performance in the The Good Road has received appreciation. How much preparation did it involve?
I had to learn a language unknown to me. For more than two months I was like a small kid with a note book in hand rehearsing my lines. Also we had workshops with other actors. I’m just glad my hard work paid off.
From modelling to anchoring TV shows and now, films. How has the journey been?
Modelling gave me the confidence, hosting shows and doing TV honed my skills and films give me the state of bliss. Since I started from scratch I have lots of respect for my craft and worship my work.
The Good Road was the opening film at the Indian Film Festival of Houston and it won the best feature film award. How did that feel?
It was the first time I was invited to a film festival...and all the way to Houston. I was the only one representing my film and it felt special and great, and moreover we won so I was more than thrilled.
How would you describe your strength as an actor?
As an actor I’m confident I can do anything. I like to spend time preparing for my character before I shoot for it.
Do you have directorial dreams? Scriptwriting is also one of your interests. Any new scripts on the anvil?
Direction may be someday but for now I just want to act. As for scriptwriting, I’m pitching my scripts; let’s see how it goes …
What are your upcoming projects?
I’m working on two films now… Hope all goes well.
What or who were your earliest acting influences?
My earlier acting influences have been Mr. Kishore Kumar and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.