Neil Bhoopalam prefers not to read entire script: ‘There is always someone on the sets who knows the story inside out’
Actor Neil Bhoopalam is back in the spotlight with his back to back releases on the OTT platforms – Four More Shots Please! and The Raiker Case. The actor is more popular for his roles in No One Killed Jessica and NH10 but is now solidifying his presence on the digital media as well. However, Neil is content with the few projects he is signed for and believes there is no fun in overexposing himself.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Neil confessed he still doesn’t go through the entire script and prefers to read just his part and dialogues. Excerpts:
Why do you take up such few projects?
One is paid very handsomely in the entertainment industry. I can just keep doing a lot of stuff and collecting as much as I can, but my kind of artist-entrepreneur has a sustained growth. I don’t want to do too much work. I started with mass media so I know what could happen if I overexpose myself. It just suits my rhythm, I can commit to three-four projects a year.
It also depends on when they call me. When people want to make a film, it’s a collective decision about whom to take, why they are taking, who they’re taking and whether you fit the part or not. When I was 21-22, I had said in an interview that I want to expose myself and work on all the mediums – radio, stage, TV and films; OTT wasn’t even invented then. I fear there aren’t as many movies made as were made five years ago.
You have worked with Kirti Kulhari in Four More Shots. She revealed you do not read the entire script and you have to be told the story on the day of the shoot. Is that true?
Yes, it is true. During the time of Shakespeare, an artist didn’t read the whole script. Whatever part the artist was playing, they were given the cue points before the act. Paper was a luxury in those days and everything was handwritten. For some stories, if I have the luxury to do that and I choose to do it. And it’s great fun to sit together and talk about the story and then get into it and perform. I don’t think I can get away with it for too long though.
Aren’t you eager to be aware of what you are working on?
In The Raikar Case, if I had known who was behind the murder, perhaps my performance would have been coloured. I need to know the story and if I have dialogues, I will read my scene. I get a rough idea of what’s happening. There is always someone on the sets who knows the story inside out. They tell me when I arrive or I ask them during tea breaks.
How was the experience of playing a cop in The Raiker Case?
Bodhi Tree Multimedia produced The Raiker Case and it excited me when I was offered the role of a cop. I never got the opportunity to play a cop in my entire career. The script looked interesting to go ahead with. The role wasn’t a cliche. We moved away from the stereotypical version of a cop and I am not seen wearing those aviators. These were the minor things we tried to change. It is more like a detective work and didn’t require any action. There was a chase sequence though. They focused largely on the narrative and the plot.
Do you also have a bucket list of roles you wish to play in your career?
I want to be part of a physical comedy. I really want us to bring the drama in comedy back like it used to be in the times of Charlie Chaplin with a lot of silent work and minimal dialogues. I desperately want to be part of such a project. We need to start making something like that.
What keeps you busy during lockdown?
I can sometimes feel how slow the time goes but somehow the days keep going by like seconds. My son is about three so we try to keep him engaged with activities such as baking some cookies. We have a picnic time in the house and lot of playing and pretending. We don’t watch too much TV with him. I also read whenever I get some time and go to the terrace to see the sunset.
(Author tweets @ruchik87)
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