Having worked with the likes of Jessica Alba and Robert Downey Jr, Gabriel Georgiou was already a big name in the world of cinema when he decided to move to India. Eight years into making Bollywood his workplace and India his home, the Greek-born Australian still discovers something new and something interesting in this diverse land every day. By Sushmita Srivastav
1. Tell us about your first visit to India.
I first came here in 2005 for a 20-day backpacking trip across North India. It took me to Delhi, Rajasthan, Varanasi, and Shimla. I travelled on my own, taking buses, boarding trains—pretty much roughing it out. That trip helped me grow in several ways, let go of a lot, and appreciate the simple things in life.
2. What were your first impressions of the country?
Too many people, too much noise, very chaotic, lots of colour, and generally very chaotic, lots of colour, and generally very intense—the experience was overwhelming.
3. What made you call India home?
Work made India home for me. After eight years of working and living here, I feel like a Greek-Punjabi. It’s my second home, and I absolutely love it.
4. What is it like to work with some of the biggest Bollywood celebrities?
It’s amazing! I’m fortunate to work with some of the biggest names in the industry, and with most of them, the connection has grown beyond just a professional relationship. So, there is never a dull moment for me here—just lots of laughs and fun.
5. What was your most memorable travel experience in India?
It has to be the time I went to Kullu Manali to demonstrate Falun Dafa (a Qigong energy meditation practice) to students and teachers. I’ve been practising Falun Dafa for 17 years and telling people about the tremendous health benefits of the practice. So, it was an amazing experience, to share that information with the younger generation, and the
response was incredible.
6. Which Indian dish is your favourite?
A crispy dosa made from ragi and filled with masala or jalapeños and cheese, would be my first pick. I just love spices, so I love to pair dosa with super spicy sambar!
7. Which is your favourite city in India and why?
I can’t pick a favourite. There are many that I like for different reasons. Mumbai, where I live currently, is the Indian combination of New York City and Los Angeles. On the other hand, cities in Rajasthan like Jodhpur, Jaipur, and Jaisalmer are so fairytale-like, with majestic forts and palaces—it’s like you have been whisked away to another world, living your own adventure of Arabian Nights or Aladdin.
8. Which destinations in India do you wish to explore?
I would like to go to Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands next.
9. What is your advice to foreign travellers vising the country?
Be open-minded and up for adventures. It can be quite surreal. I still see something surprising daily. Once you start to go with the flow and enjoy each moment, the journey becomes magical.