Gagan Malik: Committed to serve humanity

Saturday, 5 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

I went to meet Navin Gunaratne at his Pelawatte residence the other day. I was greeted at the door in oriental style by a nattily dressed, smart young man. I had no difficulty in identifying the youngster having seen him on screen and been thoroughly impressed by his performance. He played Prince Siddhartha in the highly acclaimed film, ‘Sri Siddhartha Gautama’. Gagan Malik is his name. I introduced myself and said I had written a review of the film to the newspapers. He said he read it and was impressed. We sat down till Navin turned up and started a chat. Gagan is extremely fluent in English. We talked about what he has been doing after the film which made him famous overnight – at least in Sri Lanka. “I had to finish a tele serial – so I was busy shooting the final episodes. The 58-epsiode series is the story of Ramayana. I have moved from one epic to another,” he said. As we sat for breakfast, he moved out and soon came back with his iPhone. He turned a few pages and showed me my review as it appeared in the ‘Sunday Times’ – something I never expected. We continued our chat as we enjoyed the ‘roti’ and ‘lunumiris’. He is married and lives in Delhi. “I have had a busy schedule over the past few years and had been away from Delhi most of the time. My wife and I meet only occasionally,” he admitted. I asked him what his next film would be and how he sees his future as a Bollywood star. “I am not likely to be in the Bollywood circuit,” was his reply. I was rather taken aback. Here was a newcomer who rose to fame overnight as an actor saying he is not interested in a film career. “Before I acted in ‘Sri Siddhartha,’ my ambition was to be a superstar one day. But not anymore. Playing Prince Siddhartha made me a changed man. I studied his character so much I lived in it. I realised that one can do a lot by way of service to fellow beings.” He sounded very philosophical and pretty serious and clear about his mission. Gagan has ambitious plans in serving humanity and try to make the world a better place to live in. He has met the ideal partner in Navin G, who himself has a vision of a ‘Lotus World’ to achieve “a global society upholding higher values where compassion, harmony and wholesome co-existence dominate and flourish”. The project based on the fundamentals of Buddhism was launched a few days back. The idea is to form a Family of Members of like thinking based on the Noble Eightfold Path. Three basic principles have been identified.  The first is Goodness – cultivating purity of self through Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood. The second is Friendship – extending the hand of friendship to all who wish to be in the Family of Members and the community at large. The third is Mindfulness – elevating self-awareness through the practice of Mindfulness Meditation resulting in greater clarity and peace of mind. Before I left I glimpsed through the Visitors’ Book on the table. I found Gagan’s comments which read: “I wanted to be a superstar and worked tirelessly for eight years in Mumbai, the capital of Bollywood. When I got the opportunity of playing the sacred role of Prince Siddhartha, my perceptions gradually changed. I was overwhelmed by the sacrifice made by this noble prince for humanity. Now I don’t want to be a superstar. Instead serve humanity as best as I can.”