© Provided by IBNLive Nasser in a still from ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’.
Chennai: During his nearly three-decade long career, Nasser has established himself one of southern cinema’s most respected performers thanks to successful outings such as ‘Roja’ and ‘Bahubali’. Moreover, the veteran actor has also essayed pivotal roles in some Hindi and English films as well.
In this exclusive interaction with IBNLive Movies, Nasser opens up about his upcoming Telugu movie ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’. Furthermore, he also reflects upon his life and career, sharing his views on some important issues facing the film fraternity.
Please tell us a little about your role in ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’. What encouraged you to give the nod to it?
In ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’, I play the role of an activist who fights for the rights of the common man. I agreed to be a part of the project as it has a very unique plot which revolves around the life of a courier boy. I don’t think that till now I have come across any film that deals with this often overlooked profession.
Moreover, I was also impressed by the very passionate way in which director Premsai explained each and every aspect in great detail. And lastly, ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’ has been produced by Gautham Vasudev Menon. He is someone who has an eye for good scripts. His involvement also went a long way in encouraging me to accept the film.
‘Courier Boy Kalyan’ has also been simultaneously shot in Tamil as ‘Tamilselvanum ThaniyarAnjalum’. What are the challenges associated with working in bilingual films?
Frankly speaking, I have done so many bilingual projects over the years that I have gotten to used to it. Furthermore, most of the times they shoot both versions one after the other and that too with the same lighting. As such, it is not time-consuming either. Some people may find it hard to convey the same feelings twice, however, because of my theatre experience that too is quite easy. As far as ‘Courier Boy Kalyan’ is concerned it was shot in Telugu first and then re-shot in Tamil. Hence, the experience was similar to filming two separate films, altogether.
Talking of bilinguals, ‘BAahubali’ is still creating waves internationally, how was the experience of shooting for the film? Are you happy with the response to your performance?
‘Baahubali’ was just a tremendous experience. I have always been fond of fantasy dramas. And ‘Baahubali’ was not just that but it was meaningful as well. As far as the response is concerned, people were excited and that is all that matters. They enjoyed my performance and the film as a whole.
Do you regional cinema is in the shadow of its Hindi counterpart?
Firstly, I do not feel that Bollywood and Hindi cinema are the same thing. In fact, I feel the very word Bollywood is extremely repulsive. We have our own style of making movies and our unique identity. So why should we copy the name of another industry ?
Nowadays, a lot of regional films are making a mark globally. So, things are pretty good. However, there are many low budget films which still do not get an audience or at times even a release. Hence, there is room for improvement.
As someone who has worked in Kannada films, what is your take on the industry’s opposition to dubbing content from other languages into Kannada?
There is a very strong reason behind this opposition. The Kannada film industry is quite small. If films made in other languages are dubbed into Kannada, their local movies may not find many takers. As such, business will be affected. So this ban is a way of protecting their commercial prospects. Moreover, Tamil films for example do very well in Karnataka in their original form. So what is the point of dubbing them?
Why haven’t you pursued a full-fledged career in Hindi films?
Over the years, I have been offered a lot of Hindi films. However, as I am active in all the four southern industries, I just could not fit them into my schedule. But that said and done, I love Hindi movies and hope to do more films in the language in the years to come. Come to think of it, language has never been a barrier for me. Only thing this that while acting in Hindi I need to putting in a little more effort to get the correct diction as my Hindi has a heavy accent.
Now let us talk about Nasser the person. How did you get into acting?
I never wanted to be an actor. Hailing from a lower middle class family, all I wanted was a job that would help me earn money. But my father insisted on me becoming an actor. As a result I did theatre and got trained in the art. Looking back, I am very happy I got proper training. It helped me find success. Moreover, as a child my father would tell me “that no matter you do, be the very best in your field”. That advice too has come in handy.
If not an actor, what would you have been?
I guess I would have been an architect. However, this ambition could never materialize as back then I did not know that there were courses for such professions.
How do you deal with failure or rejection?
The film business is extremely unpredictable. It can either make or break you. I feel there is no point in feeling bad or being bothered if something under performs or fails to get recognition. It is all a part and parcel of the game.
Whom do you lean on for emotional support during hard times?
Some time ago there was a huge crisis in my life. My son met with a serious accident. During that difficult phase it was my wife Kameela who proved to be my last line of support. She told me to go out and shoot rather than sit at home. In fact, she even said that I needed to work in order to be of any use to my son. I followed her advice and shot for ‘Uttama Vilain’. This helped me keep my composure even during that during that difficult. So, I must say my wife is my support system.
What advice would you like to give aspiring actors?
It is believed that in order to be an actor one needs to be lucky or have innate talent. But I feel all aspiring actors should undergo formal training as well. It is very important.
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