Art & Entertainment

Gagan Dev Riar: Everything I Could Do In ‘Scam 2003’ Was Because Of My Extensive Theatre Background

‘Scam 2003’ features Gagan Dev Riar as Abdul Karim Telgi, mastermind behind the 2003 Stamp Paper Counterfeiting Scam.

Gagan Dev Riar as Abdul Karim Telgi

After backing engaging dramas like ‘Scam 1992’ and ‘Scoop’, director Hansal Mehta is all set to enthral the audience with another entertaining drama titled ‘Scam 2003: The Telgi Story’, which is based on the story of Abdul Karim Telgi. For the unversed, Telgi was the man responsible for the 2003 Stamp Paper scam worth around Rs 30,000 crore. 

The show, which is directed by Tushar Hiranandani, features Gagan Dev Riar as the mastermind behind the 2003 India Stamp Paper Counterfeiting Scam. ‘Scam 2003’ is the second instalment in the Scam franchise, which is created by Hansal Mehta. 

Ahead of the show’s release on September 1 on SonyLIV, Gagan Dev Riar, who has been part of ‘Sonchiriya’ and ‘A Suitable Boy’, got candid about playing Telgi, in an exclusive chat with Outlook India. 

Excerpts from the interview:

You are all set to play the lead in ‘Scam 2003: The Telgi Story’. How excited are you considering the previous instalment of the show was a huge hit?

I am very excited, and the excitement has doubled because I am working with beautiful people like Hansal Mehta, and I have the chance to work with some amazing co-stars. It is a big opportunity for me, so yes, butterflies in my stomach.

After the success of ‘Scam 1992’, the makers were quick to announce a second season. Tell us how were you finalised for the role?

I believe Hansal sir saw me in my earlier works, like ‘Sonchiriya’ and ‘A Suitable Boy’. And he thought I was fit for the role. I got a call from Mukesh Chhabra (casting director) one day and he asked me to audition for the role. So, that’s how it happened. 

With the success of the previous show, there comes an added responsibility. And since the details of the scam were already out there, how did you prepare for the role? 

Some details were already out there, and for someone like me, I was not aware of most of the things. So, firstly, I read the script to know all the details, then from there, I followed Hansal sir’s guidance to etch the character of Telgi - how he talked, walked and his overall look. I gained weight, went to Khanapur to have a gist of how people spoke, and then I put it all in the script. I looked at his pictures and videos, how he speaks etc. Whatever information was out there, and I stitched everything together. 

The show is directed by Tushar Hiranandani, with Hansal Mehta serving as the co-director. How was it to work with them?

Gagan Dev Riar And Adbul Karim Telgi Instagram

They both have their unique styles, and in ‘Scam 2003’, their styles gel very well, and the product has come out really nice. Tushar has a more stylish way of helming a project while Hansal sir likes to keep it more real and simple. For ‘Scam 2003’, we needed that kind of a mixture.

The character of Telgi is quite complex and the trailer looks interesting. What was the brief given to you, and how did your acting career so far help you in achieving that?

Everything I could do in ‘Scam 2003’ or was able to do was because of my extensive theatre background, whatever I learned over the years, be it character building or the smaller technique. It helped me in playing such a big role in my career. And the brief given to me was that be honest. Hansal sir never talks too much, and gave me smaller briefs.  

What are you looking forward to next?

I am now looking forward to the release of ‘Scam 2003’. I am on a break after that, and waiting for some good offers to come.