Most actors choose to stay far away from the madding crowd while getting candid about their films and personal life. Instead Nana Patekar opted to sit in a bustling Colaba café for this tete-a-tete. In a distinctly pleasant mood, Nana chats with us about being inspired by super cop Rakesh Maria in Ram Gopal Varma’s upcoming film on the Mumbai terror attacks and wanting to do something different as an actor.
How did you react to the Mumbai terror attacks?
If we are sitting here and then there is an attack, how do you think that it can be handled? Look at Mumbai’s population and the cop to citizen ratio. Also people, irrespective of what religion they belong to, must share a strong bond with each other and only then can such terrorist attacks be averted.
How different was witnessing the attacks on TV and acting in a film?
This was not just another film for me. It was a huge responsibility playing my character (based on Rakesh Maria) as it carried a lot of weight and responsibility to play the role of a man who had defended Mumbai from the attackers.
The film’s based on a tragedy. Was the mood on the sets too sombre?
This is not an incident that we can remember and be happy about. Similarly there is nothing in the film that you will be jolly about. There are no songs and no dances that will entertain you. And that is one reason why I am part of this film.
Rakesh Maria is your friend...
And so are most of the cops. I always maintain a good rapport and relationship with the cops because it is good for us (winks). But on whether I am trying to talk like him, walk like him, it is not how I did it. I merely adopted the attitude that he has.
Is it one of your most challenging roles ever?
If there is a role that is tough, one finds it all the more challenging. Working in a film like Welcome was not as tough as working in a film like this. I had absolutely no responsibility playing my character in Welcome, but here I did have one.
Does money matter to you before signing a film?
I am not in this profession only to make money. I have been here for 40 years as this is a great medium. I can use this medium to try and do something different. In between, I do get to work in films like Welcome. But the irony is that people appreciate films like Welcome more than the ones with a strong message.