Carving a niche

Carving a niche

Carving a niche

One often walks into adulthood not knowing what to do. But Neil Nitin Mukesh was sure that he wanted to be an actor at the age of four.

The world of ‘lights, camera, action’ became a reality for him when he played junior Rishi Kapoor in Yash Chopra’s ‘Vijay’ in 1988, and he decided that he was meant to do this.

“My grandmother was my inspiration to be an actor. Every weekend, I would spend time with her and I was always fascinated by the number of trophies my grandfather owned. The idea of playback singing didn’t make sense to me then. Besides, when I was shooting for the role of junior Rishi Kapoor, I realised that all I had to do was lip-sync,” he says.

After several years in movies, he’s currently working in Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ and Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Wazir’.

Having played many other roles so far, he says that this year sure looks promising. As both the characters are complete opposites, he adds that playing them simultaneously was definitely a task.

He recently also played a negative role in the Tamil hit, ‘Kaththi’. The ‘Johnny Gaddar’ actor recalls his rehearsals for the movie and says, “I’m proud of this movie and it was a great experience for me. It helped me shape up as an actor, get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I had to unlearn so much and bring something new on screen, such as a new language itself!” he explains. Training in the language and learning the dialogues took him about two months, which he says helped him prepare better while working in ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’.

When asked what he thinks about playing negative roles, he says, “It’s all just a perception. Technically, I’ve played a bad guy only in three movies and the only reason they are like that is because of their situation. Surprisingly, all of them turn bad to protect and save the girl they love.”

The ‘David’ actor is happy with all the characters he has played so far and says that he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for them.

“I want to carve out a niche for myself. Everyone wants to be a star, but I’d rather be known as an actor. When I choose to do a movie, I understand how relevant my role is  — it doesn’t make sense for me to play it otherwise,” he explains. He believes that his forte as an actor is his ability to understand emotions and being able to mould himself in characters that are vulnerable as well as nasty. “It makes me what I am today and I only hope to improve as the years go by,” he says.