New Delhi | An acting career is like "rowing a boat on an endless river" with the unexpected right around the corner, believes Gulshan Devaiah, who wants to have a journey filled with varied performances.
The Bengaluru-born actor is currently riding high on the success of his latest thriller series "Dahaad", where he stars as Devi Lal Singh -- a dedicated police officer and a progressive father.
He has followed the series performance with an equally endearing role of a regular guy who develops a bond with fellow traveller, played by Saiyami Kher, in "8 AM Metro".
"I'm responsible for curating my career and I can't give this responsibility to anybody else," Devaiah said about his eclectic choice of characters.
"(It's like) I'm rowing a boat on an endless river and I don't know what's coming up. I like that about my career. It gives me an opportunity to stop anywhere I want to while on this journey. It's up to me," he told PTI in an interview.
Continuing the analogy, the actor said ideally he would like to get off the boat on his own terms.
"One day I will be tired and get off or maybe the river decides I'm not needed and suddenly there will be a waterfall that I didn't see coming... I will be done," he said.
A graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), the 44-year-old decided to shift gears after almost a decade in the fashion industry. He started acting with Bengaluru's English theatre and soon moved to Mumbai as he was a "sucker for feature films and long-format".
In 13 years, Devaiah has starred in critically-acclaimed feature films such as "The Girl in Yellow Boots", "Shaitan", "Hunterrr", "A Death in the Gunj", "Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota", "CandyFlip", "Badhaai Do" and delivered unconventional characters in series "Afsos", "Duranga" and "Dahaad".
Crediting co-actors, writers and directors for influencing his sensibilities as a performer, Devaiah said his career choices are a reflection of what he has learned from his collaborators.
"When you work in the field of arts, you are working with a lot of highly skilled creative minds. They definitely influence your aesthetic and sensibilities. I've learned so much from the people I've worked with. "With every experience, every project, every role... I have this feeling that I'm better than I was before. Be it in application, approach or professionalism, I've had a very valuable experiences thus far. I hope to continue gathering all these experiences," he added.
But navigating the film industry and creating his own path, the actor said, requires a lot of patience and constant chase for versatile roles.
"I consciously try to keep my career as diverse as possible. Be it the kind of sensibilities with which I work or the type of roles I do. I can't manifest things, so I look for the best from whatever comes my way," he said.
Having achieved financial security, Devaiah said he no longer needs to do roles "just for money".
"I will do something which is a lot more interesting and add to the diversity in my career. That has been the general path that I've followed. Even when I didn't have too much money, I was trying to keep my operating cost low and patiently wait for opportunities," he added.
The adulation that comes his way for his interesting choices only reaffirms his belief in staying as diverse as possible in project selection, he said, but with no compromises.
"There is a certain pace at which I need to work. I believe people like me because I'm able to spend some time curating my career in an interesting way. If I do too much work, then there is a risk of being repetitive... I will try and avoid it as much as possible," he added.
"8 A.M. Metro", directed by Raj Rachakonda, chronicles the tale of two strangers. This story of a finite journey interested him the most, the actor said.
"It explores a wonderful relationship. I remember when I was 14, I used to take the bus with a friend who was much older to me. She was in college. She graduated after three years. I terribly missed talking to her after that.
"So, it somewhat reminded me of that. The journey of these two people (in the film). In another universe, they would have probably made a wonderful couple," Devaiah said.