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Underrated and Unnamed: Pavan Malhotra from Hotstar Specials’s Grahan

Hotstar Specials’ Grahan puts a name to ‘that actor from that movie’ - Pavan Malhotra.

Underrated and Unnamed: Pavan Malhotra from Hotstar Specials’s Grahan

When I started watching Hotstar Specials’ Grahan I recognised the actor playing Gursevak Singh immediately but I couldn’t exactly remember where I had seen him. It was only after a couple of Google searches that I realised that though I had watched many of Pavan Malhotra’s films, I didn’t know his name. I felt disappointed. It almost felt as if I, and many people like me, took his presence in films for granted.

What is common between the films Pardes (1997), Black Friday (2004), Don (2006), Jab We Met (2007), Delhi-6 (2009), Badmaa$h Company (2010), Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013), Bang Bang (2014), Rustom (2016), Mubarakan (2017) and Judwaa 2 (2017)? It isn’t the genre, director, cast or production house but one actor who played a major role in all these films and still remains relatively unknown today. The actor is Pavan Malhotra who has once again proved his acting mettle in the latest web series Grahan on Disney + Hotstar. In an acting career spanning over 36 years, Pavan Malhotra has played memorable characters in many Bollywood films across genres. His films might be hits or misses but his performances never fall short.

Having a theatre background, Malhotra made his big-screen debut in Ab Ayega Mazaa (1984). Since then, his contribution to Indian cinema has been exemplary. People still remember him as Tiger Memon from Black Friday (2004), Salim Langda from the award-winning Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989), the uptight Inspector Vincent Lobo from Rustom (2016) and ‘that’ family member of Geet from Jab We Met (2007). He makes a role his own, his performance standing out at the same time.

In Grahan, Pavan Malhotra plays the role of IPS Amrita Singh’s father, Gursevak Singh alias Rishi Ranjan. He completely justifies his role and flawlessly depicts the complexities, pain and shock of the father. Anshuman Pushkar plays the younger version of his character and Malhotra adeptly incorporates all the nuances of Anshuman’s performance in his performance as Gursevak to maintain the consistency in the character.

We see many shades of Gursevak in Hotstar Specials’ Grahan. First, he is a doting father but soon, his past catches up with him and we see the traumatised rioter inside him. Then comes the pain of his tragic love story followed by the fear of his daughter finding out about the truth of his past. Finally, comes the revelation of facts and release of emotions at the end.

Pavan Malhotra has come very far from where he started and his acting career has had an uphill journey. He has become that actor who everyone recognises from some film as some character but only a few can put a name to his face. This needs to change. With his appearance in the digital media world, things are starting to look up. I hope that Pavan Malhotra gets his due soon!