Actor Bhushan Pradhan believes everything happens for a reason. So, when he was approached to play freedom fighter Damodar Chapekar in Zee5 ‘s Gondya Ala Re or Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Jai Bhawani Jai Shivaji he did not delve much and decided to deep dive into the roles. He knew there would be comparisons and speculations, but he wanted to trust the process and take up the challenge. While Gondya Ala Re release before the pandemic, Jai Bhawani Jai Shivaji was shot during the second wave and released after it. He will be next seen in Sagar Mohite’s Chauranga, where he plays a cop for the first time and an untitled film with actor Shivani Surve.
The Aamhi Doghi (2018) actor says, “I am so glad I took up both these biopics and agreed to play these characters. I strongly believe the genre has helped me become a better actor. I have started to look at every role differently now. Earlier, I would try and bring in a bit of me to each character. But when you do a biopic you have to stick to the characteristics and mannerisms of the individual. This has helped me look at every role as a third person now. It is no longer about what Bhushan will do.”
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Interestingly, it has brought about such a change that for his current projects he has started questioning everything about work style and method. “I am dubbing for two of my films and when I see the character I am so glad that it isn’t anything like me. I have managed to bring about that change.”
On playing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Bhushan shares that it was a childhood dream. “When I was a kid, I had once played Maharaj but it was just five minutes, where I had to mime on prerecorded audio. But playing him on television for a full-fledged show was definitely a dream come true. I sincerely hope I get to play him on the big screen too.”
While the audience loved and praised his portrayal, the initial feedback was mixed. But it did not deter Bhushan. “Honestly, when the first promo came out, people were apprehensive. I got comments like how can a chocolate hero play Maharaj. But I decided not to pay heed to any comments. I just wanted to enjoy this opportunity of a lifetime. I just went deep into understanding the character and giving my best to the show.”
And, once the show started, everything changed, he started receiving accolades for his performance. “I wanted to showcase the person that Maharaj was. He wasn’t a rich king, nor did he have like a powerful army. It was his kindness and bravery that people appreciated and adored. I used the same virtues for my work.“
Bhushan recalls how people asked him if playing Maharaj changed anything for him. “I found it funny because, When you play such a historical and influential character, people tend to take advantage. I received so many invitations to events where they wanted me to be associated with my character. They wanted me to come dressed as well. But I refused all associations including political. My work cannot be influenced by politics or religion,” Bhushan Pradhan concluded.