I am totally for new citizenship laws: Anant Nag

I am totally for new citizenship laws: Anant Nag

Legendary actor Anant Nag talks to Showtime about his new film ‘India Vs England’, politics, and upcoming projects

One of the living legends of Indian cinema, Anant Nag has been helming some of the most important content-driven films of the past years, having added films such as ‘Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu’,  ‘Sa.Hi.Pra.Shaale, Kasaragodu’ and ‘Kavaludaari’ to his cap.

Showtime caught up with the veteran actor ahead of the release of his first film of 2020, Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar’s ‘India Vs England’.

Excerpts:

What can you tell us about the film?
I play the role of Bhaghiratha, a gemologist. In the late 1980s, I worked in films whose screenplay and dialogues were written by Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar. ‘India Vs England’ is written by his daughter Kanasu. The story was to be named ‘Akshamsa and Rekhamsa’ (Longitude and Latitudes) because the spread and the theme of the story are global. We decided not to go with that title because it would have sounded very intellectual.

What are your thoughts on Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar’s work?
Nagathihalli is a born teacher, and teaches very unconsciously while working. His students and admirers, including me, call him ‘maestre’. He may not call himself an intellectual, but he is very intelligent. Just that he is not part of the film award mafia that pockets awards all the time.

Your films like ‘Kavaludaari’ performed well at OTT sites. What are your thoughts on such platforms?
These are neutral platforms. Talent is being encouraged there. Many who find it difficult in the industry have got a chance there. Some have made films but since they don’t get a release, so they approach these platforms.

Is ‘India Vs England’ a patriotic film?
India has been invaded by the Dutch, Portuguese, French and the British, and before them, there were the Mughals.We can say the Mughals loved India. There were religious conversions, but they stayed back. But the European powers came here only to loot. The British loot in 190 years amounted to around $45 trillion. The film talks about such things. And the British still haven’t given back the Kohinoor.

Does this film make a political statement?
Politics is part of life. Hemanth Rao’s ‘Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu’ had politics and it was one of the best films released in 2016. ‘Kavaludaari’ also touched on politics. ‘India Vs England’ is historical. More than talking about the present, it talks about history.

The raging debate today is over CAA-NRC. What are your thoughts on that?
I’m totally for it. This is a citizen’s register. Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and other nations also have it. The move is a political persecution of the religious persecution. The protests have nothing to do with Muslims. What we see is the frustration of the Congress and the communists, who were trounced in the last election. You can politically oppose it but the state governments can’t say that they won’t implement it. Congress leaders like Kapil Sibal and Salman Khursheed have said that you can’t go against the law. They have provoked Muslims, told them lies and made them scared and have made them do these demonstrations. Today or tomorrow, they will come to know that there is nothing against them. Not only Hindus and Sikhs, but also persecuted Muslims come here, and they will get citizenship after some time. The government has said this but people have ignored it.

The current trend is to make epic films. Are you interested in these?
Not really. I like to do films like ‘Kavaludaari’ and ‘India Vs England’. They talk about truth, the political truth of the country. I was approached by some to do historical films in other languages but I told my wife to tell them that I am not keen on doing these films.

The way you do comedy is famous, but we haven’t got a good comic role from you in a while...
I haven’t done comedy recently but I am doing a film called ‘Made in Bangaluru’ and in it, I have played a humorous role.

How has the Kannada film industry evolved in recent years?
We have seen a lot of content-based films and these days, they succeed more than the mere commercial and masala films. Also, those with a small budget have earned huge profits. Now is the time for content-based films.

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