Neil Nitin Mukesh is a conventional actor with an unconventional choice. The actor has always chosen films that are different from the norm of bollywood. Experimenting with his roles he is trying to create his separate niche and has been quite successful at that. 2013 is the year that he is looking forward to with a lot of hope and excitement with five films on the floor and back to back releases indiaglitz speaks to Neil about his films and his aspirations about them.
Your forthcoming film David has your portions shot in Black and White. Can you tell us how the experience was?
The most attractive portion of the film has been shot in Black and white. It's refreshing to see a film especially a thriller in black and white. Bejoy has taken the lead to do something new.
What is different when you shoot in black and white?
Technically there are lots of do and don'ts when you shoot a film in black and white. I am an avid photographer and I didn't know these technicalities existed. We shot the film on digital platform. There's a lot you can take from reds, blues and you cannot wear white and yellow. You can use a off white colour but not stark white. Even with the red's you have to be careful because it can look brown. Make up is also different. I don't need to do much makeup because I am fair. Bu here I used a base and slight tan only then your features get highlighted. It tends to look flat because of lighting. My make up man Wasim sheikh Ahmed got a base which was four shades darker. He would highlight my cheek bones and all bone areas. Designer Ameera deserves a lot of credit because she has worked on the 70's and 2000 look for the film. She has done a fabulous job. I remember we were shooting in Belfast and it was a mix of Indian and foreigners. I was getting ready for my shoot and I take half an hour to get ready but when I came out I saw this entire crowd ready with makeup and costumes of the 70's with their hair and wigs in place.
Did the role require you to have long hair, did you try to have a different look?
I am a commercial art student and I paint and sketch. I have worked on my characters be it for David, shortcut or 7 Khoon Maaf. The film was set in the 70's and had a retro feel and period feel so I started drawing on the character I made ten to twelve sketches from facial hair to all of that. On the first sketch I had kept long hair since I had to grow it for shortcut. I drew a moustache and beard but it didn't work out. Later I compromised by making a bob cut. David is Indian born in a catholic family and raised by a Muslim family. But when I made the sketches I realized I wasn't looking like a gangster and in the fifth and sixth sketch I got the hair cut right. I just gave it a puff the way Dev Anand had. I was convinced with this style and added aviators to it.
Don't you feel doing such films is risky for your career?
All films I have done are risky. Till you don't go out and push the envelope nothing changes. I wanted people to take notice of me as an actor in every space be it comedy, action, thriller, horror. There's a long way to go and lots more to do. I have got a lot of critical acclaim and I am glad the audience is accepting me so beautifully. It's a revelation. I started the trend of doing edgy films with my debut venture Johnny Gaddar. I have never followed the conventional route. I remember I was returning from Missouri and was at Delhi Airport when a four year called me Spider uncle (my name from Players). What more could I ask for. I have fans from all age groups and they call me and talk to me about my work. They are the proof of my hard work and they are my awards and rewards.
Tell us something about David?
David is a story of three guys named David and all three are brothers. David is somehow three independent stories of three individual characters in three different eras' the 1975, 1999 and 2010.They have the same goal and it goes back into flashback. Bejoy has made these characters and he wants each and every human being to identify and find a David within himself. It's a bilingual. While the other two actors are in the Tamil version I am not. I would love to be a part of the Tamil version but it would have taken a longer time as I didn't know the language. But I would love to add that the Tamil audience will miss me in the role. Jeeva plays my role in the South. Vikram plays both the roles and Vinay is there in the Hindi version. It was too large a canvas to reshoot.
There are a lot of steamy scenes with Monica Dogra?
There are some beautiful moments but they are neither for titillation nor to sell. David is a different film and there are these intimate moments.
Who was responsible for the comfort in these scenes?
Monica was responsible. I am extremely shy and she's a beautiful co-star and a brilliant performer. She has an uncanny way of getting to her own character. I underestimated her and she shocked me.
Which are your forthcoming ventures?
I have five films back to back which I have been juggling shooting for last year. I am sleeping between all this. I want to make sure that at least four to five films release in this year. So it will be a busy year. There's Manish Vatsalya's Dusshera, Shortcut Romeo opposite Puja Gupta and Ameesha Patel, 3G which has Sonal Chauhan, Ishqeria with Richa Chadda and David with Monica Dogra. Ishqeria is 80 percent complete and will be completed in the next 25 days
Heard you have written a film?
Yes it's Paidaar which means eternal. I have written the film and composed the songs; it's a revenge love story being directed by Binoy Gandhi.
What about your younger brother Naman, what is he doing?
Naman has assisted Abbas Mustan in Race and he is writing his own film which is in its premature stages. He's a shy singer and never sings openly but has good knowledge of the sur.
When will you stand amongst the Khans in the industry?
The industry is big apart from the Khan's there are actors like Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana and all are good including the Khans. We all have a lot of space and there are 800 films being made in the industry. I am getting a lot of offers but I practically say no to them. When all are competing amongst themselves I am running on a separate track and doing my own kind of films creating my own niche. My films are my investment. Mr. Bachchan started his own investment by signing seventeen films when he was new to the industry.
Do flops and hits affect you?
Hits and flops are like a boxing arena. You land a punch you get punched. If you don't get up and fight back it will simply end. Everyone goes through this and no one has the formula for success.
Do you regret any film of your?
I have no regrets and am proud of each film. I am the only young generation actor who has worked with seventeen national award winning directors. This year there's special satisfaction since I am working with the best of directors. Every film of mine has recovered money. Lafangey Parindey has done tremendous business with 28 crores in three days.
How much do awards mean to you?
It does mean a lot. Who doesn't want an award and be appreciated for his work. I thought I'd get award for Jail and Players but I didn't, they were fantastic roles. I got the best actor for Johnny Gaddar. For my role in 7 Khoon Maaf I was nominated for many awards. I got nominated for New York too.
What is the criterion for choosing roles?
I choose roles when I believe it is different then it doesn't matter if it's a ten minute role like 7 Khoon Maaf. I have a simple method of choosing. I read all scripts whether good or bad. I don't follow the norms of big director or big production houses. I have four films this year which are being done by new directors. If I am not convinced I will not do it.
What do you love more music or acting?
Definitely acting, music comes to me naturally. I play the piano. I compose songs. I am sacred of singing in front of my father as he doesn't like if I go wrong on the notes.