Actor Vaibhav Raj Gupta
Actor Vaibhav Raj Gupta

Vaibhav Raj Gupta reflects on his journey from theatre to stardom with 'Gullak'

Actor Vaibhav Raj Gupta delves deeper into the Indian middle-class life as he reprises his role in the new season of the web show.

Vaibhav Raj Gupta wasn’t even considered for the role of Anand Mishra in Gullak, the Sony LIV show directed by his brother Amrit Raj Gupta, when it was in pre-production back in 2019. “At the time, I wasn’t interested in doing a comedy show either,” Vaibhav laughs, “but when my brother said he didn’t think I’d fit the role anyway, I took it personally.” He not only auditioned, but also bagged the part.

At the centre of the show is the middle-class Mishra family, and the members—Santosh Mishra (Jameel Khan), his wife Shanti Mishra (Geetanjali Kulkarni), their elder son Anand (Vaibhav), and younger son Aman (Harsh Mayar)—have become household names over the last four years.

The show’s relatable situations and genuine character chemistry have won over audiences, who had been awaiting the new season, which dropped earlier this month.

When asked how he realised that the show was a hit, Vaibhav recalls, “There were many moments, but the one that stands out for me is seeing my parents, grandmother and aunt’s reactions after season one aired. I saw the joy in their eyes, and I thought, ‘We’ve got this; we’ve got our audience’.”

The actor credits the show’s nuanced writing and memorable characters for its fandom. “No matter how good the actors are, a bad script can’t be saved,” he says, adding, “Everyone, from directors and writers to actors and crew, gives their all. It’s my favourite show as well.” In Gullak 4, Vaibhav’s character takes on more responsibility, while his younger brother Aman approaches adulthood.

“We have a new director this season, Shreyansh Pandey, and he has brought his own touch to the show, helping us delve deeper into the middle-class experience,” Vaibhav says.

Hailing from Sitapur near Lucknow, Vaibhav moved to Mumbai to pursue a course in mass communication, but fate had other plans.

He fell in love with theatre and dedicated seven years to honing his craft. “A lot of credit goes to my grandfather, who was a painter. Because of him, I’d been exposed to world cinema since I was a child, and I guess it was natural for me to gravitate towards the arts,” he says. Since 2013, Vaibhav has acted in several short films and a few series before his big break with Gullak. He has also appeared in the series Mai and Good Bad Girl.

The most significant part of Gullak’s success has been that Vaibhav does not have to go for auditions anymore.

“I have the privilege of saying no, which I have worked hard to achieve,” he says. In his me-time, he does his riyaaz as an actor, writes poetry, watches movies and travels. “I make sure that I work on myself even when I am not working on a project. Acting was my life earlier, but now it’s a part of my life. That is a beautiful epiphany for me,” he shares.

A still from Gullak
A still from Gullak

Those who follow him on social media also know that he is a poet at heart and runs a community called Poetry Session.

“I started writing poetry around nine years ago and created this platform to meet like-minded people. I organise poetry sessions four or five times a year and anyone is free to join in, recite poetry or sing songs,” he says, adding that this is his way of giving back and fostering a community for artists and actors. “When I came to Mumbai in 2009, I didn’t have an outlet to express myself. It’s been a beautiful journey with Poetry Session. I have ended up meeting some really creative souls and learned from them."

Next up from him is the crime thriller series, Mandala Murders, also starring Vaani Kapoor, who is making her debut in the digital space.

The New Indian Express