Delhi boy Shaan Grover is a celebrity of sorts in his Green Park neighbourhood. And why not? His first Hindi film – the much-talked-about Noblemen – releases today.
Grover, who has had a steady rise from acting in theatre plays and ad commercials like the Blued dating app, Vijay Sales and Howzat Cricket App, is waiting with bated breath to see how audiences react to his debut.
“I play Badal, a negative character. It’s not the hero’s role but I got to showcase my talent. One cannot wait for the perfect chance, as it may never come,” says the 24-year-old says, with a maturity beyond his age. “If I am a good actor, I’ll definitely become a star one day.”
Grover was five when he first enacted the role of Mowgli after his parents enrolled him in a theatre workshop conducted by Lushin Dubey, who was scouting talent for this play.
“I don’t remember what I did at the audition but Lushin ma’am was very happy with it. I was selected, and the play travelled all over Delhi-NCR.” He then started participating in plays at his alma mater (Modern School, Vasant Vihar) and attending NSD workshops during summer vacations to polish his craft. In Class XI and XII, he worked with noted theatre director Arvind Gaur and the Akshara Theatre.
Off to the city of dreams
Grover initially wanted to study at DU’s Hansraj College to be a part of its theatre group and perform plays just like his idol, Shah Rukh Khan. But that dream didn’t materialise. “It’s not that I was a poor student; in fact I got 90 per cent in Class XII. But Hansraj cut-off is around 97 per cent.” Since he didn’t want to join any other college, he decided to leave Delhi for Mumbai – one night in 2013 on the spur of moment.
In Mumbai, Grover chose Economics at Jai Hind College, and did a lot of theatre for the next three years, and was recognised for his acting and directing skills. “In my first year, the college won the famous Malhar Festival after a gap of seven years, thanks to the two plays we performed. The next year, we won at Kaleidoscope.”
Exploring wider horizons
In his third year of college, Grover applied for the post of Second Assistant Director in Sanam Teri Kasam (2015), directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru.
Next year, he got an offer from Kabir Khan to work on Tubelight. But as destiny would have it, before he could meet Khan and join him as one of the directors, he met the film’s casting director Shanoo Sharma.
She was a fan of his Dubsmash videos and advised him against working as a director. “‘Focus on your acting skills,’ she told me, giving me examples of actors like Ranveer Singh, Akshay Kumar, who didn’t go the ‘directing way’ and became actors instead. I cannot thank her enough,” says Grover, who interned with Shanoo for a year, simultaneously sharpening his acting skills, and the next year when Kavish Sinha was casting actors for Noblemen, he applied. The rest, as they say, is history.
Once shooting for Noblemen finished, Grover worked as one of the leads in Alt Balaji web series PM Selfiewallie, which, unfortunately, bombed. But he didn’t retreat into a shell, and instead auditioned for, and bagged the role of Angad in Kunal Kohli’s upcoming directorial Ramyug.
“The film industry is not for the faint-hearted. One has to be mentally and physically very strong and take failures in your stride to succeed,” says the new star on the horizon.