Multi-talented Namit Das has explored all fields of cinematic crafts, whether it is theatre, films, adverts or music, he has shown his mettle everywhere. Best known for his roles in the movies like ‘Wake Up Sid’, ‘Ganchakkar’, ‘The President is Coming’ and TV shows like ‘Mumbai Calling’, Namit is currently busy with his upcoming show “Sumit Sambhal Lega”, which is Desi version of “Everybody loves Raymond”.
In his busy schedule, Bollywoodirect got a chance to talk with Namit Das, where the actor-singer of the Mumbai stage looks back at his career and talked seamless about film, music and theatre.
You started your career as a singer, and then you started theatre and got recognition as an actor. When and how did you develop a penchant for acting?
You Know…let’s rephrase this question, I wanted to become a singer and by chance I became an actor. I have had no professional experience, where singing is concerned until recently. I have always been an actor and I love what I do. I found myself through acting. It was in college that I felt the need to be on stage and luckily I got some very interesting opportunities while studying in college. I would have to give it to my college St. Xavier’s and my English professors who made me think in this direction. Things were tough and I had to manage a lot with college and working outside, but it was the support of very strong teachers that made me believe in myself. I became an actor when I was 17 years old in college. I like to live this memory in connection to the college I studied in.
Actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Irrfan Khan honed their skills in theatre circuit. How did your theatrical training help you develop as an actor and would you like to do more of it in the future?
At a very critical point, Atul Kumar found me and I am so happy that it happened. It was through his company and the company of many others that I realized I could make acting my profession. I would like to add Vijay Krishna Acharya‘s and Sunil Shanbag´s name and would like to thank all my seniors who have helped me in realizing my dream. I can act because of them. It was through theatre that I got the confidence and it was through my directors that I felt I could express.
Theatre makes you grounded. Theatre makes you believe in things which are not. It helps your imagination and it fulfils you to a point where you feel, you can create almost anything. It’s all in the skill of believing that you can create and not only does your mind believe in it, you make people believe it as well. We are all liars. We are all creating illusions. The best one and the closest to life and its processes get the best viewership. Other than that trust me we are struggling all the time but theatre being an actor’s medium has the closest ability to make you a true magician and I would continue doing theatre for the exact same reason, If time and energy permits.
You are a trained classical singer. Tell us about “Din Gaye” and any other upcoming music project.
Well, the music scene has taken a bit of a back step because of my television show which is going to be aired very soon, but I can surely tell you about “Din Gaye”.
It all started with a play called “Stories in a song”. It’s a musical and through that play, I met Anurag Shanker, who is an independent musician and he was open to collaborate for the interesting projects. I had lot of family compositions, which I wanted to experiment with. Our worlds met and I felt that this was something which can have a life of its own.
I have to say, it took a long time to connect but after a year of rehearsals and music sessions, we had “Din Gaye” as our first EP.It was a pleasure to perform with our band at NH7 last year. I hope we can do more music because I am extremely fond of Anurag and the way he looks at stuffs.
You have done movies like, “The president is coming” and “Wake up Sid” and TV shows like “Mumbai calling”. Your roles are always out of the league. What are the criterions that you keep in mind while choosing a role?
There are no criteria. There is no method. The role chooses you. The project chooses you. Your destiny more often than not, dictates what you are meant to do.Having said that, I must say comedy is something which I enjoy (not necessarily find myself comfortable in).
I am also very happy that directors and makers have been kind in giving me varied roles. I see no similarity between Ramesh’s of PIC & Idris from Ghanchakkar and likewise the other characters that I have done.
I try to make them sound different and have tried to feel differently each time I have played them. I am happy that you identify the differences. What really drive me is the story and the situation, that each one faces at that point of time. Story telling is someone else’s point of view. I need to fit in and create my own graph, which falls well into the story teller’s bucket.
Is there any dream role that you would like to enact, if given a chance?
Any day, Chaplin from Limelight. I don’t know whether I will be able to reach that level of perfection or not. But I definitely pray for it that at least come close to.
Other dream jobs includes, Irrfan from “Maqbool“, Naseer sahaab from “Sparsh” and Amitabh Bachchan from “Abhimaan”. These are legends. You live by these artists and the work they do.
What satisfies you the most – Theatre or Films? What is the reason behind that?
I would say both satisfy me. On one end theatre helps me to interact with the audience, which I would never be able to do otherwise. On the other hand, Film and Television gives me exposure, which any other medium will not be able to give me.
Tell me honestly where did you see me first? Must have been on the Television or on film. How can I compare the two mediums? They are separate universes, which help each other. But I don’t think they would ever be able to understand each other.
In the last few years, parallel cinema has become more main stream. If you were to choose between critical acclaim and commercial success what would it be and why?
I choose both. I am practical and I want a complete life for myself. I have my share of successes in both. I don’t want to define my choice so early on in my career. I want to flow with time and let time and the right opportunities decide, what is more important for me.
Can I separate material success from critical acclaim? Do I look at parallel cinema as the only medium where true artist can function? I really don’t know but I do know that being truthful about what you do, does help in building that recognition for you. Commercial or critical is a choice that has to be determined by the audience. Our job is to think, feel and then just perform.
Tell us something about your upcoming projects.
I am consumed at the moment with Sumit Sambhal Lega, which is a desi version of “Everybody loves Raymond”. It gives me great pleasure to tell all of you that I am your Desi Raymond and am essaying the role of Sumit.
Other than that, I have a film called “Fattack” in the pipeline..directed by Yazad Anklesaria and produced by Bejoy Nambiar. Lots to look forward to.
From TV ads to movies, how would you describe your experience in the Industry and what advice would you give to aspiring young actors making their way to Bollywood?
Do not step into this profession because you want to be famous. Become an actor because you feel that you can be part of a story and live each story in your heart. Other than that, be prepared to be humiliated because after a point of time an actor only goes through that.
Be ready to be judged at all given points of time and trust me at any given point of time, everyone has a better idea as to how your character should be played. The only person who struggles to understand your part is you. Be ready to make this struggle your own and that’s the only thing that can’t be taken away from you.