‘Shiksha Mandal’, the new show at MX Player that will premier on Sep 15, is based on the true Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, one of the biggest educational scams in India that shook the entire nation. The series that sheds light on how the education mafias got many children admitted by making fake candidates take the medical entrance features Gulshan Devaiah, Pawan Raj Malhotra, and Gauahar Khan in the lead role.
While talking to Outlook, Gulshan says that this subject is relevant even today because there is no stop to such scams. “A lot of scams have been happening for many years and now in the internet age, you are more aware of such issues. It’s relevant because it has been sorted out. From paper leaks to entrance exams, there are lots of scams that are happening and there is a lot of bribery that is happening within the education system.
"So our show is based on a lot of such scams but we focus more on the medical entrance exams because that’s the device that we chose to sort of telling people that this is what is happening around and a lot of these things are not yet solved.”
The actor also says that “people have so much outrage in them and they kind of waste it on useless things like Bollywood so I think they should direct it on scams such as these.”
In the web series written and directed by Syed Ahmad Afzal, Gulshan is playing the role of Aditya Rai who wanted to be a doctor but couldn’t do so because of these ill practices in the system.
The actor says that he was very invested in the character, “ Aditya wanted to be a doctor but he could become one so he started coaching classes for the medical exam. And his dream is also to make his sister achieve that because he couldn’t but then they get embroiled in a whole scam and their entire life is disturbed.”
Majorly known for playing grey shades on screen, Gulshan’s over decade-old journey in the entertainment industry involves projects like “The Girl in Yellow Boots”, “Shaitan’, ‘Hunterrr’, ‘Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota’, ‘Ghost Stories’, and very recent Duranga.
Talking about taking up a positive role in ‘Shiksha Mandal;’, Gulshan says that acting is fun for him whether it is the grey character or anything else. “I like to figure things out and create an illusion of a character and pretend to be somebody else and that's why I am an actor because I love doing it.”
Gulshan also wanted to take a break from gray shades and that was also one of the reasons why he took up this web series. “I wanted to try and do new things and this allowed me to play a good guy. I like to be diverse and try new things.”
But as an actor which side of human being he resonates well with- black, white, or grey?
“I think humans are gray because nobody is black and white. The reality is always gray because it has infinite shade so there is more range there for an actor also. When you are gray, you become relatable also because white and black are ideals and Nobody is really that ideal so it's more human to be gray.”
Gulshan, whose first film was released in 2011, says that with his journey so far in the industry, he is living his dream. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Yes, It could have been better but I don’t have any reason to cry about anything that has happened. I had my fair share of everything.
“It was a stupid silly dream ( to be an actor) when I was a little boy and now I am a professional actor, people hire me and they say nice things about me and they pay me for the acting so I am living my dream. When I look back to when I was 27, I am like ‘ I had to clue how I was going to achieve all this and get my first job as an actor but I figured it out."
He also calls himself lucky to work with some good people who gave him opportunities. "And I didn't waste those opportunities. It's a dream come true and it is a long journey."
Calling it a successful journey not enormously successful, he says that “My odds were not any better than anybody else who comes to this city. Perhaps I got a little lucky and got good opportunities and I made good of those opportunities so it's all been good and definitely a success.”