Crafted to perfection

thinking actor

selective about roles Nana Patekar“No inane and personal questions please,” he says. “How did you like my performance in Shagird?” asks the elusive actor. When told it was a competent one, he answers, “My character in the film, ACP Hanumant Singh, is a committed yet corrupt police officer. The character does have shades of gray and I thoroughly enjoyed working on Shagird.

Writer-director Tigmanshu Dhulia is very efficient in his art of story telling and does not impose his views on his performers. So it is easy to work with him and I was inspired to deliver a good performance.”

Just like Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar is very choosy about his characters and prefers to sign only a few films. He elaborates, “You will remember the last time you saw me on screen before Shagird was about a year ago in Raajneeti. It was a Prakash Jha film and I already had a good rapport with an imaginative director like him after working in his film Aparahan,” he remarks.

Why is it that he is more often seen in gray characters compared to positive ones?  Nana Patekar thinks for a while and then answers, “You see, it is up to the script writer and the director to visualise in which way I play a certain character. If my negative side appeals more to them, I have very little to say. Of course, I am not bound to sign every film that comes my way.”

Though he is criticised for being monochromic in his performances, theatrical in his dialogue delivery and body language, Nana Patekar is undoubtedly a competent and gifted actor. After watching him in Parinda, even Satyajit Ray described his performance as incredible. Reminded about it, he bursts into laughter, “Thank you very much for reminding me about Parinda. A praise from Ray is a great compliment. I did make it as an actor after Ray complimented my performance.”


Why did his film Yatra, directed by Goutam Ghosh did not do well?  He is silent for a minute and then replies, “In Yatra, I essayed a role I had never performed earlier. There were so many layers to the character but the film was ridden with problems, both while shooting and during the post-production stages of the film. So, I think, it did not do well. Anyway, bygones are bygones. I don’t want to harp on them again and will work with Goutam Ghosh anytime he decides to cast me.”  He also gives good compliments to producer Bipin Kumar Vohra, who completed and released the film despite all odds.

What about Nana Patekar, the director?  He did commendable work in both his directional ventures, Prahaar and Vadh? Nana Patekar says, “Prahaar was more challenging than Vadh, although the latter was a memorable film. Directing a film is much more difficult than acting and I will do so only if I receive a special offer and script. In Prahaar, my co-director Subhankar Ghosh also did a lot of good work which helped the film become so memorable.”

Nana Patekar is remembered, even today, for his excellent performances in Pratighaat, Trishagni and Krantiveer for which he won the National Award.

He reminiscences, “What a film Trishagni was! I still have a strange feeling remembering my performance as the Buddhist monk opposite Pallavi Joshi in it.  I don’t think I have ever given such a performance. The entire credit goes to the highly sensitive writer and director, Nabendu Ghosh, a father figure to me. Unfortunately, he is no more with us.”

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