Entertainment industry is a game of perception: Gulshan Devaiah

Mumbai, Jun 21 (PTI) Actor Gulshan Devaiah says the untimely demise of Sushant Singh Rajput has served as a wake-up call for the Hindi film industry, which otherwise functions on the basis of popular opinion.

The 42-year-old actor, who moved to Mumbai from Bengaluru almost a decade ago to pursue a career in cinema, believes Rajput's death has pushed many people in the showbiz to assess their ambition and reason for joining the profession.

'There are certain approaches that I need to reassess after this terrible tragedy. I am in the process of figuring it out, I am introspecting, self-reflecting, understanding the work we do, why we do and whether it is okay to fail,' Devaiah told PTI in an interview.

Best known for his performance in films 'Shaitan', 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela', 'A Death in the Gunj' and 'Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota', the actor said now when he looks back at his journey in movies, there is both a 'sense of pride and disappointment'.

Devaiah said in this business-driven industry, merit doesn't count and success is measured on the basis of box office or popularity.

'It is a tough business and everyone comes here with a lot of ambition and aspirations. Some people achieve it, some don't... All we want is more and more people to like us and want to work with us.

'But the way success is perceived popularly is by films making money (at box office) and having 'x' number of followers or likes on social media. It is not based on merit. The entire entertainment business is a game of perception.' Rajput, 34, was found dead at his Mumbai residence on June 14. His death has reignited discussions around the struggle of survival for outsiders.

Devaiah said while there is a lot of 'toxicity' in the showbiz because of the power structure, actors need to safeguard themselves from getting into a position where they can 'lose control'.

'People try to wield a certain power from casting companies to producers. There is abuse of power. If we can rein it a little bit and be less judgmental and be more responsible, we all can be nice.

'For actors like me, who have ambition and expectations, it is ok to have it but you have to prepare yourself to fail. If it doesn't matter to you then no matter what people say and look and snigger at, it won't affect you.' He believes Rajput was in a pretty sound position professionally, and rather than putting out theories on the reasons for his decision, the need of the hour is to do some self-analysis.

'Sushant was doing incredibly well for himself, his death is unfathomable. He worked in TV for 10 years, he came into films that made money. In reality, only he knows why he did it or maybe he didn't...

'I don't have a popular opinion. I take this tragedy to self-reflect and assess and understand the world we live in,' he said.

Devaiah said going forward he plans to be more accepting of the nature of the film business and manage his expectations.

'A lot of people come here with dreams and aspirations and dreams are shattered everyday one can see that. A lot of this pain can be avoided if we look inwards and set our perceptions.' PTI KKP SHD RDS BK RDS RDS