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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Namit Das: “I Want to Disappear in These Stories & Become That Character”

Namit Das is a talented actor who hails from a musically enriched family. But despite classical musical training, his passion for acting became his calling.

The 34-year-old actor began his acting career with the theatre before foraying into screen appearances.

Over time, we have seen him essay several significant roles in movies like Wake Up Sid, Lafangey Parindey, Ankhon Dekhi, Hamari Adhuri Kahani and many more.

He also made an impact on television through shows like Sumit Sambhal Lega on Star Plus,

In this new year, we will be seeing Das in an array of projects like Mira Nair’s A Suitable Boy and various other projects. 

Namit joins Filme Shilmy for a special chat.

You’ll next be seen in A Suitable Boy (ASB). What can we expect from your character Haresh in this and how has your experience been working with Mira Nair again?

Anyone who has read ASB will know who Haresh Khanna is. He is one of the suitors.

A cobbler, a shoemaker and a hardworking person who has made it to the top on his own without any support.

He aspires to marry Lata who is the central character in A Suitable Boy.

There is only one person in this world who could have directed this one.

Mira Nair and with Mira along my side, the task of bringing Haresh to life has been enjoyable. Lots to learn as well.

There are so many things that she is conscious of. It’s amazing how she works and brings everything to life.

Besides the book, what was your main reference point as an actor?

It was shoemaking. That was one of my main reference points. Shoemaking is such an art.

You can compare it anything that is artistic or even tedious in nature. As of now, I know exactly how a show is made in theory.

All of these things gave me an interesting insight into Haresh Khanna’s character. His idea of perfection. His life.

His idea of symmetry everywhere. All of this and more obviously.

How has your experience been working with new talents like Ishaan Khatter, as well as experienced actors like Tabu?

Frankly speaking, I did not have scenes with them. The scope of ASB is really vast. The characters create a universe around you.

Within them, there are so many plots and subplots that sometimes many of the characters don’t even meet.

But I have to say that my experience with newcomer Tanya Maniktala was excellent. She is a find.

She is beautiful. She is excellent and as Mira says, “She is a walking talking Lata!”

You’ve been working in a lot of series recently, especially on the OTT platform. What is your view on this digital revolution in India?

It’s the best time to exist as an actor. So many platforms. So many shows. So many opportunities.

It is the best time to be alive as an actor. Also, the digital platform allows you to reach a very personal space with the audience.

I mean, after all, you are available to the viewer on his telephone.

How amazing that connection can be! Truly a magical time!

We’ve seen you in pivotal roles in movies like Pataakha and Sui Dhaaga recently. How rewarding is it as an actor to work in such critically acclaimed works?

Really rewarding. It feels good. It feels that you are doing the right thing.

How blessed I was to be part of both these two films that released on the same day. And imagine doing two different characters.

I feel like a chameleon in these projects. I truly want to disappear in these stories & become that character.

There have been some other big Bollywood films, in which your part was more supporting rather than a lead role. Did you ever feel demoralised by this? If not, how did you overcome it?

I have not felt demoralised about anything in life. By the grace of God, most of the work that I have done has been noticed by everyone.

There have been mentions for even small appearances like the character that I did in Hamari Adhuri Kahaani which were anyway supposed to be guest appearances.

Whenever I look at a script or a narrative, it’s not the length that matters, it’s the part… How important that part is to the story. How much do I have to munch on?

I guess that’s why a lot of the smaller parts that I have done have also gotten noticed because they have been pivotal to the story moving ahead.

You hail from a family of musicians and singers. Despite you being trained in classical music, what drove you to pursue acting?

I think it was my college years. I passed out from St.Xaviers college in 2005. Those days Xaviers had a pretty active theatre scene.

That was one of the major reasons why I started acting. I was fascinated by the stage. Also, I wanted to do it as a profession.

If not for theatre then I know for sure I would have ended up singing Indian classical which is still a passionate project for me.

But yes, an active theatre scene during my college years drove me towards acting!

The word ‘nepotism’ often carries negative connotations. But if an actor is genuinely talented, does that make the practice a bad thing? Have you ever been impacted by it?

No. I haven’t been at the receiving end of “Nepotism” But I do agree with the fact that it exists.

But one has to believe in oneself and not bother yourself with these things.

Focus on yourself, your job and create a world that is not affected by these external things.

With the anticipated Mira Nair series in the pipeline, what are your hopes/expectations for the future as an actor? 

Oh my god, I am so excited about 2020! There is ASB that hopefully comes out Mid next year on BBC One.

There is also a show called “Mafia” that I did for Zee 5. I am super excited about that. Birsa Dasgupta has directed that.

It’s my first experience it’s so many Bengali actors. It’s a bilingual series.

There is a film for Saregama called Bahut Hua Samman which has a fantastic ensemble. Sanjay Mishra, Ram Kapoor, Raghav Juyal and I am opposite Digital star Nidhisin.

I also move to London for quite a bit of time to perform Monsoon Wedding the musical.

Exciting times ahead and to come to see the musical when it hits the stands in London! 

Here’s wishing Namit all the very best for his current and future projects.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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