National award winning actor Arjun Rampal steps into the shoes of real life gangster politician, Arun Gawli in his biopic, Daddy that hits theatres on September 8th. Playing a real life character is never easy, especially when the person you are playing is still alive! Arjun Rampal’s first meeting with Arun Gawli was nothing less than the drama that engulfed his life.
Arjun met Arun for the first time when the latter was out on parole. It wasn’t easy getting access to Gawli and the fact that someone was playing him on the big screen made matters even more complex. Describing him as reserved during his first encounter, Arjun says, “I met him when he was out on parole. The first few times, he was slightly sceptical and I understood that he’s reserved because of his colorful past.”
Arjun’s first impression of the man he was playing on the big screen was very different from his image portrayed in the media. This intrigued Arjun and he started reading about Gawli and found the material engrossing as ever. “What I found interesting was that people called him Daddy. Usually, they refer to a don as “Bhai ” or “Don” I realised that although dreaded, he had another side which intrigued me”
The man who has seen it all-Arun Gawli, his story spanned over 4 decades …
Says Arjun, “He’s not flamboyant, doesn’t go dancing bars and blow up money on bar girls and mistresses. He’s spent half his life in jail but is a God-fearing, family man.” One thing that stood out in his meeting with Gawli is the fact that despite the menacing image and the fact that he was part of the underworld, he was a God fearing man. He didn’t fear the cops or the rival gangs, but he definitely had a fear of God.
Arjun adds, “At home, there are photographs of Gods everywhere, he is always praying.” The real Gawli that the people of Dagdi Chawl know is very different from the one portrayed in the media. Arjun in his meeting also realised that after the initial hesitation, Gawli was now open to the idea of having this film made on his life. Rampal says, “After a few meetings, he started opening up to me. I assured him that it wouldn’t be a propaganda story, I wanted to tell it the way it is, in a realistic manner. His consent convinced me this was a man with self-confidence.”
Arjun’s meeting with Gawli was an important turning point into the making of Daddy. The first impressions they both left on each other went a long way in having this film made.