Mumbai, Jun 22 (PTI) Multi-faceted performer Neeraj Kabi believes it is critical for directors to study the basics of acting to be able to extract an extraordinary performance from actors.
The 53-year-old actor and theatre personality, who currently features alongside Vidya Balan in the Amit Masurkar-helmed 'Sherni', a movie about the man and animal conflict, said he was keen to work with the National Award-winning director.
Kabi said he first met Masurkar, best known for 'Newton', when the aspiring director attended his acting workshop in 2007-2008.
“Amit had said he wanted to make films but wanted to learn the craft so that he can direct his actors. When a director says 'be yourself', it is wrong to say to an actor because if I am being myself then I am not acting. I am not supposed to be myself, I am supposed to be the character.
'Similarly, when a director says 'relax', I cannot because my character can’t. There are these little myths in the industry. And that is why directors must also learn acting, it is important. Amit did that and it was a pleasure working with him,” Kabi told PTI in a Zoom interview.
'Sherni' has received great reviews from critics after its release on Amazon Prime Video on June 19.
The multi-layered film not only touches upon the man and animal conflict but also looks at the gender dynamics through Balan's character of Vidya Vincent, a forest officer.
Kabi said the prime reason for him to give a nod to “Sherni” was that it addresses the issues faced by the female gender both in animals and in the human society. He plays Akhil Nangia, Vidya's senior officer and former mentor in the film.
“In the film, ‘Sherni’ is also struggling to save herself from man. There is a conflict of Vidya and tigress. It is being used as a metaphor. There are various male characters who are trying to consume her emotionally and mentally. Like, I am becoming an impediment between Vidya and nature, animals and I will play the barrier to the highest level so that Vidya crosses it and becomes the hero.” The actor further said a film like “Sherni” plays a significant role in today’s time to indicate and create awareness on how humans and nature can coexist.
For his role, Kabi said he read about multiple people from the forest department to comprehend their journey and mindset.
The actor, who catapulted to fame, courtesy his shows 'Sacred Games' and “Paatal Lok”, said even though there have been some diverse offers, he is still yearning to get scripts of a certain calibre like “Ship of Theseus” or “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!”.
He has also starred in critically-acclaimed projects like Shyam Benegal’s mini-series “Samvidhaan”, and movies “Talvar”, “Hichki”, and “Once Again”.
“Being in the two spaces -- indie and commercial mainstream space -- is interesting. However, I am looking for stronger and more powerful characters. I am happy but I am not content completely because I am waiting to perform what I have to.” Kabi, whose acting career started at the age of 42 with “Ship of Theseus”, also said he has been cautious while choosing projects.
“… you have to be very careful with your career graph after a particular age. When you start so late you have to take a lot of care. I want to work for the next 30 to 40 years and that is my aim. I have to be careful with what I am taking.” Produced by T-Series and Abundantia Entertainment, “Sherni” boasts of a talented ensemble cast including Sharat Saxena, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala, Mukul Chaddha, Ila Arun, among others. PTI KKP BK SHD RDS RDS