Actor Sumit Gahlawat thanks his stars for having got the opportunity of playing one of the mighty heroes who served our Motherland in the Discovery JEET show, 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897 produced by Contiloe.
Sumit who has done cameo roles in shows Saath Nibhana Saathiya, Chidiya Ghar and Santoshi Maa considers himself fortunate to have got his first substantial continuity role with this offering.
Says the actor describing his role, “Mehar Singh is a laidback character, who is shown to have no interest whatsoever in fighting wars. However, when the real war happens, he is one of the first ones to motivate and urge his team to go and give their best shot. It is a splendid character and I am giving it everything.”
Hailing from Rohtak (Haryana), Sumit’s idol happens to be the renowned actor Jaideep Ahlawat. “Jaideep Sir has supported me in each step and even told me how to work on each line of the script. I always seek his guidance whenever I have to do something big. I will say that, I have sustained in Mumbai for four years only because of him.”
Sumit paying respects to the uniform and the Sardar pagdi (turban) claims that everyone in the cast seem to get into a set discipline the moment they wear the uniform. “The person can be doing anything before shoot. But the moment he is in the uniform, there is complete discipline on the set. This is the kind of devotion that we have towards the characters.”
The young lad claims that the actors on board the show have been strictly told not to act. “We have been told from the beginning to not act, but come out with real emotions and sincerity towards the role. We therefore keep it as flat as possible and follow our director’s orders. Yes, the roles are quite demanding, and it drains us out both physically and mentally. But we love every moment of it. Also, we being soldiers of the era 1897, cannot keep super-trimmed bodies. So we do not carry out any gym activities to stay fit. To tell you more, it has been five months since I am growing my beard and you will be surprised to know that I don’t even trim my beard, as the requirement is to keep the look as rugged and rough as possible.”
“The feeling of playing Mehar Singh, who was one among the 21 brave soldiers who fought against thousands of soldiers is indeed great”, says Sumit who has also been part of an Internationally acclaimed short film, Manodasha wherein he played the role of a psychopath.
Recollecting his ‘eureka’ moment while auditioning for the role, Sumit avers, “There were rigorous auditions for the roles which went on for more than three months. After my first audition, I gave my 2nd and 3rd. However, when I gave my 3rd audition, I felt I performed really well. I had the confidence in me that I have given my best for it and there cannot be anything better than this coming from me. I left the rest to God and I was thrilled when I bagged the role.”
Sumit considers himself very lucky as he is the only one in the group of soldiers to have a height below 6 feet. “Everyone in the cast is above 6’1’’, and I am the only one who falls out of the standard height. Being 5’11’’, I was told that I was considered only and only for my acting talent. Otherwise, they preferred to have actors who are above 6 feet tall. This was a huge achievement for me. Now it is time to stand the test of challenge and perform well,” he states.
Sumit, wishing you all the very best for your role!!