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Interview Hindi

I don't get affected by materialistic things, says Inaamulhaq

Inaamulhaq, lead actor of Nakkash, speaks about the film, the joy of working with Kumud Mishra, why he gave up writing dialogues for cinema and why the audience should support small films.

Suyog Zore

Inaamulhaq has acted in only a handful of films till now, but even in a not-so-lengthy acting career, he has impressed cinephiles with his abundant talent. From the quirky and goofy Aftaab of Filmistaan (2014) to the menacing Iraqi major Khalaf bin Zayd of Airlift (2016), Inaamulhaq has proved he is here to stay.

Ahead of the release of his latest project Nakkash, a look at the growing communal divisions in some parts of the country and a film in which he plays the title role, Inaamulhaq spoke at length about the film and about his approach to acting in an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com. Excerpts:

Can you tell us something about your role in Nakkash?

I am playing a Muslim sculptor who sculpts idols in temples. He is a simple guy who believes in humanity. Though he is Muslim, he has adopted a vegetarian diet. What circumstances and problems he faces because of his profession, that is what is shown in the movie.

This is your first film as a leading man. What was going through your mind when you were offered the role? Were you nervous or excited?

I was neither nervous nor excited. I am a very calm person. I never get affected by these kind of materialistic things. I believe that one should always remain calm even if he is at the peak of his career or he has nothing. Though I must add, like everybody, I also had dreamt of being a lead actor and when your dream materializes you do feel happy, but it's not like I started jumping in the air or my attitude towards other people changed. I try to remain calm and don't let materialistic things affect my attitude.

How do you approach a role?

It depends on the role. I approach each role differently. You have to get into the mental state of that character to understand the psyche of that character. For example, my character in Airlift was related to a war zone and by god's grace, I had never been in a war-affected place. So to understand the psyche of that character, I watched many war-related documentaries and that's how I understood the psyche and mental state of that character. In Nakkash, I play a sculpture artist, so to imbibe his body language and attitude I met many sculpture artists, visited sculpture manufacturing factories. Later I also learnt the art of sculpting.

You graduated in acting from the National School of Drama (NSD), so how did you become a dialogue writer?

I am not a professional dialogue writer. Till now I have written dialogues for only one film, Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap (2011). Then I got fed up of that whole system. The film industry does not give any value or respect to its writers. Most times directors add their own names in the writers' credits. I believe you have only one talent, you are either a good actor or good writer or good director. If you try to juggle two things you are bound to fail, hence I stopped writing for films. Though I sometimes write for TV because they at least pay you on time.

From the trailer it looks like Kumud Mishra also has a prominent role in this film. How was the experience working with him?

He was my senior at the NSD, we have been friends since then. There is a great camaraderie between us. I had done a five-second guest appearance in his [unreleased] film Ramsingh Charlie only for him. Kumud Mishraji is not just a great actor, but also a great human being and it's always a pleasure to work with such a good actor and good human being.

Nakkash deals with the very sensitive but important issue of communal hatred and politicization of this issue. Would you like to shed some more light on this topic?

We have tried to show good things and bad things from both religions and shied away from adding any unnecessary controversial element. We all know that the common people don't want a fight, but politicians for their own benefit instill fear in them about one another and eventually they fell prey to this tactic.

I am not claiming that every politician is bad, but right now the ratio of good politicians to bad politicians is surely tilted towards the latter. People need to realize they are being used as pawns. We are conscious beings, so we should make our own choices. If our actions are controlled by others, what's the difference between us and robots?

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

I have done two web-series. First is Hasmukh, produced by Applause Entertainment and Nikkhil Advani. It also has Vir Das and Ranvir Shorey in important roles. There is another web-series titled Screwed Up. The US-based production house Cleaverhead Photoplay is producing this web-series. Though I'm reading a few scripts, I am not in a hurry to sign any new project. I believe in doing less but quality work.

You recently won an award for best actor at the DCSAFF [Washington DC South Asian Film Festival 2018] for Nakkash. Can you tell us something about that?

Obviously it feels good to win an award. You feel validated whenever your hard work is recognized and appreciated.

I would like to make an appeal to the audience. Our movie is being released on 200 screens whereas other big-budget movies are released on 4,000-plus screens and earn crores of rupees on the first day itself. But small-scale films like Nakkash never get their due. Please support small-scale films like this one. Please don't download illegal copies. Go and watch this movie in the theatres and help to build an atmosphere where even small-scale films can earn decent money.