He dazzled with his performances as the extrovert guy in ‘Miley Jab Hum Tum’ or the introvert lead in “Ram Milaye Jodi” on television, before shifting to films. And he didn’t stop dazzling with his debut film. One of the new genX actors on the marquee, Nishant Malkani started his career with the Bhatts in a ‘Horror Story’ and is playing the romantic lead in ‘Ishq ne Crazy kiya re’ set against the power politics of a singing based reality show. He is also doing a feel good film of the Sooraj Barjatya types - “Bezubaan Ishq” as well as playing the engagingly effervescent raunchy Bhopali in ‘Single Chal riya hu'. At the same time, he has signed Sagar Bellary’s rom-com. Right now the plate is full for this 26 something IIM Kolkata lad who steered his way into this industry and into the hearts of the audiences. In this candid and comprehensive interview with Mohan Das, Films & TV World guest editor, Nishant Malkani talks with wisdom about his passion to experiment all sorts of roles that his heart says yes to.
Films & TV World: Money, fame, glamour... what has brought this IIM lad to the big bad world of movies?
Nishant Malkani: Actually I didn't complete the course. I gave it up just one month before completion as I did not want to give up the opportunity to realize my dream to be an actor when it came to me by destiny. Some would call me crazy but life is nothing but a onetime experience. Let's make it large.
You can say, acting to me happened just by chance. I had never thought of acting. and was happily doing an executive programme in management from IIM Calcutta. I was discovered by a casting agent while travelling home from college in the metro train. I was initially hesitant but thought of giving it a try. And before I could really understand, I got selected and the rest as they say is history.
Getting into IIM is tough. How did your parents react when you changed your profession?
I was always a good student and so could manage to get into IIM. As for changing my profession, I have a lovely set of parents who always believed in my judgment and told me to take my own decisions.
As a lead in serials to a hero in films, how are you feeling? Or should I ask - are you happy with your bank balance?
Career wise I have moved ahead. But bank balance (making faces) it's more or less the same till now. Sadly. Lol. However I'm waiting for my first big release after which things should turn for the positive.
Tell us something about “Ishq ne Crazy kiya re”
Directed by ace director Naresh Malhotra, it is a love story set against the backdrop of a singing based reality show. It depicts how the hero has to choose between his love and his career and how he overcomes all odds and achieves it all.
Will this be revealing the darker side of reality shows? What’s your take on such shows?
I know as much as the next person in this industry. We never really know what goes on behind the camera at reality shows but there are many stories depicting power politics. My personal opinion is that it's as good as the benefits it gives to the participants. As for what is going to be revealed in the film, you need to wait and watch for it.
Your ‘Bezubaan Ishq’ is again a love triangle and has Mugdha Godse. Any particular reasons?
Coincidence - that’s all I can say. Apart from that, every love story in Bollywood has one third person who is the antagonist. Here it’s forming a love triangle. And in both the films somehow the makers have signed Mugdha Godse as the other female. (Now don’t start reading between the lines). As I already said - it’s just a mere coincidence.
How much have your co-stars Sneha Ullal and Mugdha Godse drawn you out?
Working with experienced actors do make your life easier as they know what is needed of a scene and how to give the best to it. Sometimes, working with inexperienced actors can be a nightmare to both the unit as well as the actors. A good performance demands equal commitment from all the actors acting in it and it helps to draw the best out in a scene.
Single Chal Riya Hoon is a beautiful love story directed by Sai Kabir - the director of Revolver Rani. I’m playing an innocent Bhopali boy Bunty who comes to Bombay to find refuge with his uncle who is a struggling writer in the industry. He falls in love with an ultra-cool Bombay chick, and it’s about the comedy that follows. Bunty is the typical young, bindas, Bhopali guy. And the costumes are also very typical. I have worn tight jeans, denim jackets, shikari kurte with rolled up sleeves and broad belts in the film. Having said all these, being a Bhopali meant getting in touch with my childlike innocent side and portraying it on the screen. I have heard that Bhopali guys don't prefer a clean-shaven chest, they have a very raw sexuality. I had strict instructions from my director not to shave my chest till the time the shooting is on. In all, it was a fun filled experience.
One tries comedy with experience. Heard you are doing a Rom-Com with Sagar Bellary?
I should be mad to refuse a good script and an opportunity to work with a great director like Sagar Bellary. I am open to all kinds of roles and experiments - be it comedy, love story, or Horror Story…. LOL.
Will you do a dark intense film with nudity and or intimate bed scenes? Will you ever feature in an Aamir Khan style PK poster?
Why not? Ofcourse, I am open to doing a dark intense film. I’d like to do all kind of films. I have already done a horror film, and now doing a rom-com and a thriller. I’m open to any subject which is interesting and which convinces me that this is something I need to do. I like to do new stuff. But nudity, bed scenes etc. are a strict NO NO as I want my parents to watch my films. As for PK styled poster - Yess! I think its Brilliant!
Do you follow the method school of acting or do you go by your instincts? What is your best quality as an actor?
INSTINCT. That’s my personal best quality - and as an actor, the best quality is I'm able to lose all inhibitions in front of the camera. I imagine and experience all kind of feelings and go through emotions that I never knew existed in me. That way, I'm able to get in touch with my sensitive side which is a revelation to me at times.
You are called a one take actor? But are you a no tantrum actor?
I believe that an actor around is loved by all. Be it the spot boys on the set or the financier pumping the money into the project. So NO Tantrums…
Your contemporary - Jay Bhanushali was also launched by Vikram Bhatt and the music was a sellout. Do you regret doing a no song movie with the Bhatts?
NO. Horror Story was supposed to be shot in an international format. It was an absolute fast-paced horror film and there was never a place for songs in it. If you have seen Horror Story, you would find that in the entire film, there’s not a single moment when you feel that something has slowed down. It just keeps going up a notch every moment. By the end of it, you’ll be catching your breath - You feel that adrenaline rush inside you. And yes, no regrets - I would love to do a film with them all again. But this time I would surely ask Vikram sir to let me sing one of those wonderful melodious songs that the Bhatts and Vishesh films are known for.
What is more important - the role and script or being in the lead? How have you chosen your career path?
I go with the flow. I hear a story and if it gives me goose-bumps I say yes to it. However, the role and the script is of prima facie and of utmost importance. And of course playing the lead has its own perks.
Your favourite actors you want to work with - Any stylistic elements you have imbibed from them?
I try to pick up one good element from every superstar – Salman bhai’s style, Shahrukh’s romance, Ranbir’s impulsiveness and Amir Khan’s thoughtfulness. I try to learn as much as I can by watching them.
I never had a godfather and now I don’t wish I had one too. That way my success is mine and so are my failures. I know it’s not very easy to find a footing in this industry without a god-father. But with the blessings of god and my father, my hard work has got me noticed and I am on the pathway towards being a known name and that’s what inspires me. Slowly but steadily I’m making a place for myself in this industry. It did test my patience, but it’s worth in the end.
Who is your mentor in real life?
I will surely answer this question once I make it big in this industry. Only then will it give the respect to that person who's my mentor. Right now it's best that I keep it unto me and shower my respects at the appropriate time.
Bad boys make it fast in the industry. You've kept a low profile - Is it deliberate?
Slow and steady wins the race. I believe in making it big by walking on the right side of the road. Low profile is deliberate as I want my films and my performance to talk for me.
To infer, then, on a personal note: Nishant is a sincere, humble and valiant maverick who is sure to reach his destination soon. I on behalf of Films & TV World wish him all the best in his career.....