What made Bejoy Nambiar’s super-secretive film David appealing to you?
I was asked to play a gangster, a cold-blooded murderer, and yet win the audience heart by making sure that viewers cry and fall in love with my character. That was the biggest challenge for me as an actor – to do two contrasting things. Moreover, the USP of the film is the director. Bejoy is a great filmmaker. The other thing that appealed to me was shooting in black and white. Bejoy was sceptical about this, but I told him that shooting in such a colour scheme is the one of the main reasons why I wanted to do the film.
How did you prepare for bringing David to life?
Though the film had a brilliant script, I had to tap into my experiences to emote the pain and emotion felt by my character.
As far as the look is concerned, I am a commercial art student and this helped me sketch out the looks I had in mind for the character. With the help of my team – stylist, make-up artist, hair-stylist – we got it right. I grew my facial hair and tried what suited the character best. I even googled the different types of handlebar moustaches that looked good, the glasses, shirts, bell bottoms and shoes. We put all of these together and went for the look test. The moment Bejoy saw me, he said: “Oh my God! David is here!” Getting the look right was really important as the movie is shot in black and white.
Nambiar has a way of getting the best out of his actors. Your comment…
Bejoy and I have this beautiful director-actor relationship. During the shoot, the moment the camera started rolling, we got in tune with the character’s requirements. And the moment the camera switched off, all of us started fooling around – Bejoy being the biggest mimic and the best actor amongst us all! Yes, Bejoy is not only a great director but also an actor and hence he knows how much to get out of an emotion. Moreover, David is such a well-written script that any actor would have picked up the traits. Yes, all credit goes to Bejoy. It was great to live this character out.
Are you intrigued by Monica Dogra’s qualities?
She is definitely one of my most favourite co-stars. She’s a brilliant actor, a performer, and has an uncanny way of lending each character her own personal touch. She is one of the most jovial human beings I have ever met; she is constantly high on energy, has a wicked sense of humour and is completely mad. She is also very well read. But above all, she is an fantastic singer and her being a singer was something I was in awe of. She’s superb in music.
You’ve shot a passionate scene with Monica. Were you nervous?
There is a lot of hullabaloo regarding this scene. It’s a beautiful moment and has been shot very aesthetically by Bejoy. Yes, it’s passionate but it’s not sleazy; nor can it titillate the audience. It’s used only to get the emotions out beautifully and it’s channelled extremely well. In fact, the scene looks nice. We didn’t feel awkward while shooting the scene because that’s how we are trained as actors. Listen, you don’t have to hate someone to kill him on screen!