'I'm sharpening my act'

'I'm sharpening  my act'

Till some time ago, jokes on Neil Nitin Mukesh (thanks to his rather unusual name) have been topping internet trends. Jokes apart, he appears to approach his career philosophically. The momentary lull in the career notwithstanding, the actor is raring to go.

“I would compare my journey so far to the heartbeat, it has its ups and downs. I am back to my struggling days and it’s tough constantly keeping up with the competition. Having said that, it’s only a matter of time. I’m sharpening my act.”

Indeed, he has quite to look forward to like Rajshri Productions’ ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ and the Tamil flick ‘Kaththi’. “While choosing a role, I look at the story and the character that I am offered. It’s the totality that matters. Even if my role is small, if I’m the driver of the story, I am alright. I wouldn’t have done a film like ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ if my role was not so delicious. Nor would I have done a ‘New York’, ‘Johnny Gaddaar’ if I didn’t have great roles. ‘David’ again was an ensemble,” he avers.

The demeanour of the character is something Neil tries to portray faithfully. In ‘Johnny Gaddaar’, it was evident and now in ‘Prem Ratan...’, he will sport earrings. The actor in fact got his ears  pierced. “Earlier, I had sported a clip on and that hurt a lot. I called my aunt and she put me on to a lady who pierced my ears. I wanted something to motivate me enough to do it and this film did,” he says.

“In ‘Kaththi’, I play the antagonist, who is not a dirty man, but a suave intellectual. For that, I had to learn Tamil. I sat down and analysed the situation. I got my lines translated and mugged it up. It was a challenge — like a pebble thrown in a stagnant water,” he says.

Neil is proud of the works that he has done and that he had worked with many National Award-winning directors. Yet, he feels Bollywood films needs better scripting although a beginning has been made. “We are evolving. We have young directors who are exploring cinema. But films are about demand and supply. Commercial films are in demand and we have to cater to the audience. Why should we deny it to the audience?,” he asks.

“We still have a long way to go. A film being judged good or bad according to the business it has done is disappointing. Unfortunately, it has become a benchmark,” he says.

Looking back, while Neil has not seen his grandfather, the legendary singer Mukesh, he says, “I knew my grandfather through my grandmother, who used to share her fond memories of him, with me. My grandmother used to live on the ninth floor and I was on the third floor when I was three-and-half-years old. I used to go and sleep on the ninth floor. Then I had uncanny interest in the awards that were there in the house. I used to wonder who had won all these awards,” he recollects.

Neil, meanwhile is also a trained singer. “I compose and sing,” he adds. 

Honestly, does he get miffed with the jokes about him? “I enjoy that. One needs a great sense of humour to create such interesting jokes. On the other hand, I am proud of my name. That is one way to keep my father and grandfather with me,” he adds.  

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