Shane Nigam on his latest release Ishq and why heroism isn't as important to him as the script
In the last few months, Shane Nigam has been part of three critically acclaimed films – Parava, Eeda and Kumblangi Nights.
The Malayalam film industry is caught in a pincer, as star-driven films are raking in the moolah. Veterans such as Mammootty and Mohanlal continue to dominate the box office while the younger set of saleable stars like Fahadh Faasil, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali have no dates till the end of 2020. However, 22-year old Shane Nigam can act and attract young audiences with his films.
The boy wonder from Kochi is on a roll. In the last few months he has been part of three critically acclaimed films – Parava, Eeda and Kumblangi Nights. And his latest release on moral policing in Kerala, Ishq, has nearly established Shane Nigam as a saleable solo hero. Shane is the son of late mimicry artist, stage specialist and actor Kalabhavan Abi Shane made his acting debut with the critically acclaimed Annayum Rasoolum, Also starring Fahadh Faasil, the Rajeev Ravi-directed film saw Shane play Andrea Jermiah’s fiery younger brother. Later, he turned hero with Rajeev Ravi produced Kismath (2016), which turned out to be a hit.
Shane is unique in many ways; he is not on any social media platforms, does not use WhatsApp and keeps to himself. In an exclusive interview, the soft spoken star who has huge following among youth opens up on his choice of films:
Ishq, your new film, has a tag line – Not a love story. Then why name it after love?
The story is about a possessive guy and his relationship with his girl. It is not a film entirely seeped in romance; the core theme is based on the moral policing going on in our society. I play Sachi, an IT professional madly in love with a girl from the same background. It’s a story of love, ego, failure and finally redemption. Let’s put it this way, the film is not a typical love story, the story and treatment are different.
Ishq was originally said to be written for Fahadh Faasil. How did you come to be a part of the project?
Yes, Fahadh was supposed to do it, but for some reasons he did not do it. But when I heard the story, I was impressed by it and the subtle message it wants to convey.
Before Kumblangi Nights, you did films where pain was central to your character. Was it a deliberate move to do off-beat and intense movies?
Honestly, I chose films on the basis of the script. For me, the story is more important than the 'heroism' and the commercial elements like songs, dances and fights. Characterisation is also important as I think every character has good and bad in them. Today, I choose scripts which are close to reality and packaged with entertaining elements. I would say 50 percent of a story should be real whereas the remaining 50 percent could be pure entertainment.
Would you say Bobby of Kumblangi Nights made you a star?
Bobby was a well written role by Syam Chettan (Syam Pushkaran, the writer) and directed so well by Madhu C Narayanan. My character is a lazy bum, someone who leads a responsibility-free life. He is laidback and takes it easy, and doesn’t have any serious, long-term plans. The humour was built into the narration as the film is on brotherhood. After the film became a super hit, people started recognising me more.
There were rumours that you had signed a Bollywood film. Is it true?
Yes. I was offered an interesting role in Dangal director Nitesh Tiwari’s new film. I was supposed to play a Malayali student. However, I had to opt out as the dates clashed with Kumbalangi Nights. I don’t regret it though. In fact, Nitesh Sir promised me that we will do another project sometime in the future.
Your late father was an impressionist and performed so well on stage. But I believe you are not keen on doing comedy roles?
I miss him every second of my life. I feel he is with me even today. While he did guide me to a certain extent, I selected my projects myself. I’m not into stage shows and as far as out and out comedy films are concerned, I will do them if the script is good. I initially wanted to be a cinematographer like my mentor Rajeev Ravi sir, who guided me and gave me my first break. I’m not particular about doing only realistic films. I'm doing films in various genres now.
What are your forthcoming films?
My next release would be Valiya Perunaal, directed by Dimal Dennis and produced by Anwar Rasheed, in which I play a carefree dancer. It is a fun multi-starrer with Soubin Shahir and Joju George. Then, I’m doing a film with one of the most respected directors in world cinema, the National Award-winning director Shaji N Karun in his Oolu. It is a very complex character and I cannot talk more as the film is in the post-production stage.
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