Sai Gundewar Adept Actor Entrepreneur With Ferocious Mien
Sai Gundewar seriously means business when it comes to his acting skills. He is a Mumbai based Actor and a Model. He always had a penchant for acting and was a part of numerous plays and dance competitions during his high school and college years.
He moved to Australia in the late 90s to pursue a Masters in Information Technology during which time, he studied acting with Clarence White from The Actors Studio, Australia and Actor/Coach Mirren Lee. In 2006, he went to LA to study at the TVI Actors Studio and further honed his craft with teachers such as Vincent Guastaferro, Nick Anderson, Zora DeHorter, Ryan Glasgow, Randy Becker etc.
He then moved back to India in the year 2007 to pursue a full time career in acting. Having been here since then, he has been a part of many TVCs, done cameos in a few successful Indian films and have been a part of a couple of well known reality shows such as MTV India’s Splitsvilla Season 4, in which he ended up as a finalist and Survivor India Season 1, where he made it to the top 10. He has many more projects in the pipeline.
You are an actor and a businessman and that is the reason people call you ACTORpreneur. What fits you the best in your opinion?
I call myself that.. haha. And now, people do too, I guess! I won’t take credit for that term. I came across this term in the year 2006, when I first came to LA to do 16 weeks intensive at an acting school and that’s where the owner of the school used this term to emphasize, how important it is, that actors recognize this as a full-time business and treat it as such. Since you are the instrument or the product and you are the CEO of your career, you should own it.
Later in my life and career, as I conceptualized Foodizm in India in the year 2011, with the help of my then partners/friends, the term proved more apt. In saying that, the term has integrated with itself and it doesn’t hold any dichotomy for me anymore. I aspire to be a Spiritually Successful Sexy ACTOR and represent Indian and Marathi culture in the West in the most dignified manner through the entrepreneurial approach and reach out as far and wide as I can through some good work and be proud of it when I look back. Hope this doesn’t sound like my epitaph.
Tell us your experience in India’s most sensual show Splitsvilla Season 4.
Don’t know about the sensual part, but it was quite an experience living with interesting individuals of different demographics under one roof for a number of days. You learn so much about yourself when you are confined in a space that can pose various challenges away from technology, television, time, phones or any kind of news. I enjoyed it, as I generally got along with everyone and loved staying at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. I remember one of the crew members saying, “Sir, since the time you entered the house, the fights and confrontations have substantially come down.” Maybe that wasn’t in the best interest of the show. Professionally, it opened more doors for me and landed me in Survivor India Season 1 and the only season. That was more of a fulfilling and a rustic experience and teaches one the value of everything that we take for granted. I would do it all over again if I were to get a chance to participate in Survivor US.
Is there a memory you would want to share with us from that show?
I never thought I’d see a day when I would have had to milk a camel to win a task. I am good at milking opportunities than animals, a lesson I learned that day. There were several such moments on the show. But, what’s flattering is it’s been 7 years and I still get a lot of love, affection, and recognition from people for it. Just a couple days ago, I was at a Cash and Carry at Cerritos, a more Asian dominated suburb in LA and a couple of check out ladies/employees recognized me and requested pictures. This has happened in Beverly Hills too and many random places, that one would least expect. I am used to this happening in India and more so when the show was on the air, but to see the reach it has amongst the Indian/Asian diaspora worldwide is surreal. Although, I’d rather be known for my acting work than reality shows, but you gotta take everything that comes with it and just seeing that joy on peoples’ faces and the way they look at me and bless me with all their hearts for more success and roles is what makes my profession and all the trial and tribulations totally worth it !!
When you did first realize about your acting skill?
As clichéd as it may sound, I always had a streak to entertain right from the age of maybe 4 or 5. I use to love watching Amitabh Bachchan’s movies and one of my earliest memories of what was going to come was, when I made my parents life hell, until they got me a velvet suit with fairy lights on the sleeves, but I had to settle for silver/golden borders and a plastic guitar instead, so that I could look, sing and dance like his character in the movie ‘Yaarana”. That might have been the start. Also, my biological mother always wanted to be an actor and had very limited success. So it could be in my DNA or all of the above. However, I lived in Australia for many years before packing my bags for good to pursue acting in India in the year 2007 and been doing that since then. Prior to that, I lived a corporate life in Sydney and went to an acting school for about 3 years after my 9 to 5 job, to hone my craft and one fine day decided to throw cautions to the wind and accept my calling and give it all.
Could you tell us about an average day in your life?
It’s been almost 10 months since I moved to LA to explore opportunities in Hollywood and create a base in this market too, with the help and advice of my amazing agents and manager, who operate across the country. No day in my life is AVERAGE, it will be so, only if I don’t wake up !! Every day I wake up is spectacular. Starts with some prayers that I chant, followed by meditation, work out and then I plan my day ahead, based on auditions/shoots, meetings and some of my nonacting jobs. I work part-time as a Host at the stunning Castaway Burbank and sometimes as a server/bartender with some amazing catering and high-end events companies. That led to me working the Emmys, Pre Oscar events, Hollywood Fundraisers etc.. and got me opportunities to meet some of the most successful entertainers in the business such as Beyonce, Oprah, Mandy Moore, Sterling K Brown. The list goes on. And then sometimes I catch up with some friends for a little tet-a-tet, coffee etc as and when. I have a great network of people here, who I call my LA Family.
How often do you travel for work?
Travel was a little more frequent while I was in Mumbai, not so much here as I am still breaking into the market. Travel in LA is far and wide and the shoots and auditions are all over the place. So even though, you might be driving in the same city, but the distances and traffic give you the illusion of time travel. In saying that, I have been working on a Marathi script for a feature film for the past 2 years and my team back in India have madesome progress on it. If things go well, it should go on floors soon, so that could take me back to India for a month or so. Let’s see!
You have been around the globe…. Which one is your favorite and why?
There’s so much I want to see as yet, I have barely scratched the surface. From my travels so far, I have loved staying in Salzburg in Austria, Sydney, Bruge and of course LA. However, I want to travel to Greece, Italy, Spain and Paris and many more European destinations amongst other places. Hoping to travel through a shoot. That has been a dream! Both my wife and I love to travel, so hopefully, we can do that together.
Talk about your upcoming projects…
Have auditioned for some key projects that I can’t talk about. I get called for the TV show S.W.A.T as and when needed. Keeping my fingers crossed for this Marathi project that I am super excited about. A subject that has never been made before in any other language or film industry in the world and it’s a rom-com, my favorite genre. That apart, I will be here for the pilot season and hope to secure some exciting auditions with the help of my reps.
What is a personal satisfaction for you?
I could write a novel on that. In the reference to my personal life – when I spent quality time with my wife, parents and my closest friends. On the work front – when my performance gets acknowledged and appreciated by the audience, casting directors, my agents and my well-wishers. On the culinary front – When I eat a nice, healthy, vegetarian meal and a strong filter coffee or cappuccino thereafter.
If I take your phone from you right now which five apps are going to be in use?
Same as the majority of the population in the world…. Gmail, FB, Insta, Whatsapp, Google maps.. Let me add the 6th one though. I use Sadhguru’s app to share quotes and anecdotes on various spiritual topics and insights. That’s a meal for my soul.
What is the plan for next few years?
Establish my base here and continue working in Hollywood and Bollywood and help further bridge the gap between the sub-continent and the West. Have beautiful babies with my gorgeous wife, help her expand her already flourishing business and travel the world with her and make so much money, that I can give most of it back to the social and spiritual causes.