Exclusive: I Felt I Wouldn’t Be Able To Play Damodar, Says Gondya Ala Re’s Bhushan Pradhan

The actor will be seen playing Indian revolutionary Damodar Chapekar in the ZEE5 original Marathi series. Read exclusive interview inside!

A Still Of Bhushan Pradhan

India’s freedom struggle boasts of several revolutionary events. And yet, there are some that are either known frivolously or not known at all. One of these is India’s first rebellion, led by the Chapekar brothers. The group of five men revolted against the atrocities being conducted by British officials, during the bubonic plague of 1897 in Pune. The Chapekar brothers carried out a planned assassination of WC Rand, the plague commissioner in the city, under whom the citizens were being subjected to inhumane acts. ZEE5’s original Marathi series Gondya Ala Re sheds light on this revolution and features Bhushan Pradhan, as Damodar Chapekar, the main character of the show.

Watch the trailer here.

In an exclusive interview with us, the actor revealed that he found the role extremely challenging. Bhushan added that a part of him thought he wouldn’t be able to play Damodar. “I had never gone bald before for any of my characters. I have been very active regarding my fitness but haven’t done a bare- bodied shoot for any of my films. There are many firsts that I have done for this series. But I was also looking for a challenging role, which would make me doubt myself,” he said.

While talking about Damodar’s history and legacy, Bhushan said that he knew of the revolutionary but the knowledge was limited to a paragraph that he read in his history book. “We had a paragraph which covered the entire story of the Chapekar brothers,” he says, adding, ” So naturally, I didn’t know much. All I knew was the Chapekar brothers killed Rand. I never gave it a thought about how they managed to get their weapons, their training, why did they plan this. None of us are really aware of these things. I came to know all this only when Ankur (director) sent me one of Damodar’s autobiography and some material to read.” 

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पुरुषोत्तम एकांकिका स्पर्धेच्या तालमीला ५ मिनिटं उशिरा पोहोचलो तर तू ८-८ तास आम्हाला उभं ठेवायचास… आणि आम्ही तुझं ऐकायचोही. तुझ्यावर विश्वास होता तू जे करतोयस ते आपल्या आणि पर्यायाने आपल्या सिम्बायोसिस महाविद्यालयाच्या भल्यासाठीच असणार. आपण पुरुषोत्तम एकांकिका स्पर्धेत सर्वोत्कृष्ट प्रायोगिक एकांकिकेचा जयराम हर्डीकर करंडक मिळवला. कॉलेज संपलं आणि प्रत्येकाने आपापला मार्ग निवडला. आपण दोघांनीच ह्या क्षेत्रात पाऊल टाकलं. आणि गेले अनेक वर्ष मराठी सिनेसृष्टीत काम करतोय. तू दिग्दर्शन करत असलेल्या चित्रपटांच्या मालिकांच्या सेट वर योगायोगाने भेट व्हायची. एक मेकांना बघून आनंद व्हायचा. गर्व वाटायचा पण कायम मनात प्रश्न पडायचा कि आपला हा मित्र आपल्या इतर मित्रांबरोर काम करतोय पण आपल्याला कधी विचारणार. कधी बोलून व्यक्त केलं नाही. पण स्वतःवर शंका घ्यायचो. थेट काही वर्षांनी तू कॉल केलास आणि तारखा तुझ्यासाठी राखीव ठेवायला सांगितल्यास. मी काही विचारण्याच्या आत तू चापेकर बंधूंवर आधारित वेब सिरीज करतोयस हे मला सांगितलस आणि दामोदर हरी चापेकरांची मुख्य भूमिका मी करणार असं मला सांगितलस. तुझं हे ड्रीम प्रोजेक्ट ज्यावर तू गेले २ वर्ष काम करत आहेस. मनापासून खुश झालो पण थोडं दडपणही आलं. आपले वर्कशॉप्स, वाचन, चर्चा, ट्रायल्स सुरू झाली. शूटचा पहिला दिवस आणि तुझं पाहिलं वाक्य… 'मला तुझ्यावर विश्वास आहे'. खूप बळ दिलं ह्या वाक्याने! शूट उत्तम रित्या सुरू झालं. कधी कौतुक कधी चिडचिड तर कधी शिकवणी! ट्रेलर पाहून तू कॉल केलास आणि 'Thank you Bhushan' एवढंच बोललास! स्वतःकडे कोणतंही श्रेय नं घेता फक्त Thank you Bhushan! ट्रेलर पाहिल्यावर emotions मधून बाहेर आल्यावर मी मात्र काहीच बोलू शकलो नाही! अंकुर… तुझ्यामुळे मी दामोदर चापेकरांची भूमिका करू शकलो.. त्यांचं आयुष्य जगू शकलो.. त्या काळात जाऊ शकलो… तुझ्यामुळेच! With love and lots of respect… Thank you Ankur! #GondyaAlaRe (Web Series) Premieres15th Aug on #ZEE5Premium.

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Interestingly, Bhushan was brought up in Chinchwad, which is the birth place of the Chapekar brothers. When asked whether acting was always on the cards, he reveals that getting into the entertainment industry was his plan since the age of eight! “The first time when I did a play, all my teachers told me to complete my education and pursue my talent. None of my friends or relatives are surprised that I am an actor today. Every decision that I took in my life was related to this profession,” said the actor.

If you have watched Gondya Ala Re let us know what you think about the actor and his performance in the comments section below!

For more entertainment, check out the collection of fun Marathi films on ZEE5 here.