Installed TV towers, stayed in 1 RK with family of 4 and quit job at 36 'kyunki ishq toh acting se hi tha', says Scam 1992 Pratik Gandhi, shares his journey to stardom


With the release of Abhishek Bachchan’s The Big Bull, Pratik Gandhi’s impeccable performance in Hansal Mehta’s series Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story is once again in the reckoning as both play stockbroker Harshad Mehta. Now, in a Humans of Bombay post, Pratik spoke about his life before and after the show.

Speaking about the first time he acted, Pratik said: “I was in the 4th grade when I first performed on stage. It was just a 5 minute skit, but the thundering claps I received stayed with me. That’s when my tryst with acting began–soon, my teachers cast me in more plays. But we were middle class; Papa was supportive but he’d say, ‘Pehle degree lo, phir jo karna hai karo.’ So I opted for engineering. Still, I’d do small plays–ishq toh acting se hi tha."

RECOMMENDED READ: Scam 1992: The Story of Harshad Mehta Review – Hansal Mehta’s series recaptures India’s most notorious financial scam that shook Dalal Street

Talking about his early days in Mumbai, he went on, "After graduating, I moved to Bombay–for 4 years I worked on a project basis so that I could act. But there’d be months with no income. So, I did odd jobs like installing TV towers and anchoring. But then the 2006 Surat floods took our home. My family came to Bombay & the 4 of us stayed in a 1RK; after I got married, 5 of us were in that tiny space. So I took up a full-time job. Still, I’d rehearse for 2 hours before work & after, I’d do plays. I did this for 6 years."

He further spoke about getting a break in Gujarati films and said, “Then finally, I got a role in a Gujarati film! So, I took a 22-day leave from work for the shoot. At times, right after my shot, I’d get on a work call. After the shoot, I went back to work. I wasn’t even there for the promotions. Fortunately, Bey Yaar was a hit; overnight, I became a mainstream Gujarati actor. So the next time I got a film offer, I took the risk & at 36, I quit my job! Although I had a house loan, & a toddler, it felt right.”

Speaking about his big break in Scam 1992, he said, “I did some Hindi films and web series, but I got my big break when I got a call from Hansal Mehta’s team. I was shortlisted for Harshad Mehta’s role in SonyLIV’s Scam 1992! I jumped in feet first–from watching older news clippings of him to studying the stock market, I did it all. And then, the show released… But at the time, I didn’t realize it’d become this huge! It was so overwhelming. And when Shabana Azmi Ma’am told me it was the best performance she’d seen in 20 years, I was in tears. My wife was ecstatic! And when my parents saw me win an IIFA, they were so moved.”

Pratik also spoke of life after the show. "It’s been 5 months since Scam’s release & my life has taken a 180° turn! People see me as a ‘lead actor’ now. Zindagi ne jaise ek dum se raftar pakad li hai. But all of this happened because at 36, instead of getting comfortable, I decided to take a risk kyun ki… risk hai toh ishq hai!" echoing the famous tagline of the show.

(Source: Humans of Bombay)